But for all the great websites we’ve bookmarked over time, there’s a long list of websites that should be blocked on your home network.
These websites are the ones you want to keep blocked by any means necessary to ensure a safe and secure experience for your kids.
Gryphon Connect is here to give you a practical plan you can follow, one step at a time.
This article will map out three specific phases for your website blocking strategy so that you can finally prevent your kids from accessing those unwanted websites and ensure they experience the best that the web has to offer.
These tips apply to home networks of all kinds and give you a fully customized game plan for the future.
Phase 1: Determine Problem Websites and Content Categories
As you browse the web for tips on website blocking and most restrictions, you’ll find that most advice gives you a cookie-cutter solution that doesn’t account for specific objectives.
That’s why our first phase is to establish a clear set of rules and policies before implementing new software and systems for practical use.
Again, every parent will approach this first step a bit differently, and that’s okay!
Acknowledge your own objectives and build a foundation that you can count on when it comes time to leverage new tech and restrictions.
To start, create a list of acceptable content and websites for each person on your network, depending on their age and maturity level. Here are some of the age brackets that you’ll want to consider and which filters are most appropriate based on parent opinions at the moment.
Young Children: Age and Maturity
For young children experiencing the basics of the web for the first time, their content filters will be quite different from a high-schooler navigating social media.
-Pre-School and Grade School: You should block most of the internet for pre-school and grade school-age children. Many parents don’t allow children this young to access internet browsers like Google Chrome and instead only permit specific, kid-friendly apps.
Thankfully, parents can set strong controls on devices like tablets for young kids, and rest assured that most of the internet is out of bounds.
Pre-Teens and Tweens: Age and Maturity
-Middle School: For kids over the age of 10, things get a bit more complicated, especially as they learn to access websites via URL and the search bar directly.
Parents must learn to implement specific content filters and identify types of websites that they don’t want to be accessible on the network. For example, social media may be prohibited for kids of this age, and many news and media websites could be considered off-limits as well. Any websites with sexual content should be prohibited and websites that showcase violent or explicit language content.
Growing Teenagers: Age and Maturity
-High School: By the time your kids reach high school, they will be quite tech-savvy and more capable of working around basic parental controls. They are also curious at this age and are more likely to step into the realms of social media and interactive aspects of the web.
As always, it’s your decision as a parent to pinpoint inappropriate websites that you don’t want your kids to access. At this point, you will want to implement more powerful technologies like monitoring and advanced access scheduling that we’ll discuss in-depth later on.
Young Adults: Age and Maturity
-College Level: Some parents will still want to monitor devices on the network for young adults over 18, even if they trust them to behave appropriately and safely online.
The more significant issue is security, which parents sometimes overlook when blocking certain websites on the network. Even smart young adults at the college level can fall for scams or invite hackers into your family’s Internet of Things or smart home, which can lead to catastrophic results.
Be sure to have a strong security strategy to go along with your website blocking and parental controls in general because all these technologies must be coordinated together to be effective.
Browsing Habits and Time Spent Online
A website doesn’t need to be age-inappropriate to be blocked or limited in certain ways.
Particular websites may be too time-consuming or distracting when your kids should instead be focused on doing homework or engaging with offline activities.
You should be ready to block websites at certain times of the day or week depending on other priorities and responsibilities, in addition to your original “no-go” list that we discussed earlier.
After all, most parents can relate to issues stemming from screen addiction in the internet era. The ability to block websites in certain timeframes on specific devices is a huge advantage in your digital parenting plan overall.
Phase 2: Blocking Websites On Apps and Devices
Once you know the age-appropriate restrictions and have a plan in mind, you’re ready to use the technology at your disposal and set a foundation for blocking websites.
Here are the basics:
Utilize App and OS Controls
Every web-connected device on your network will have some form of parental controls built-in, but they tend to fall short in terms of scope and efficacy.
Your best bet is to start a child’s account on each device and set passwords that only you know. This way, you can block specific websites and set and lock filters.
Other functions like SafeSearch on Google will help ensure that search results are age-appropriate, though this can fall short as well.
Take the time to manually configure device settings, using the native website blockers available to set a framework for specific users.
Devices will not offer you the most effective website blockers, but they will set a decent foundation.
Third-Party Software and Extensions
If you wish to purchase third-party software for website blocking, you will likely have a stronger set of controls and better options for customization.
Some software includes age-specific content filters that help streamline your process. Others give you the power to block entire categories of content based on peer-reviewed databases of websites and apps.
The goal is to ensure your settings apply across the board for every device and are age-appropriate for your children.
A combination of device and app-based controls – plus these third-party tools and extensions – can help you block problematic websites. The downside is that you may end up lacking visibility and be outsmarted without the transparency you need over time.
Phase 3: A Complete Parental Controls Solution
So far, we’ve mapped out some basic ways to block websites on your network. However, none of those methods compare to a parental controls router that gives you total control over monitoring, content filters, access schedules, and more.
Here’s why router-based parental controls are superior to any mix-and-match website blocking strategy and some other reasons to consider making the upgrade.
Total Transparency and Insights
You may have an idea of which websites to block on your network, but without monitoring browsing trends and usage patterns, there will be gaps in your plan.
An effective parental controls suite gives you unmatched transparency into the network for every user. You can quickly identify red-flag websites as they are accessed and block them immediately.
This gives you the advantage instead of being a passive observer or doing guesswork when blocking websites.
Configure Individual Profiles
As we mentioned earlier, every kid has a different set of websites that can be allowable or blocked, depending on age and other factors.
This is a huge upside of an advanced parental controls platform, allowing you to create specific profiles for each person on the network and filter content based on unique criteria.
This way, you can ensure that everything from your fourth grader’s tablet to your high schooler’s phone has age-appropriate settings and a reasonable amount of access as you see fit.
Evolve Your Strategy Over Time
The internet changes rapidly, as does your kids’ curiosity browsing websites and apps.
That means you must be two steps ahead in terms of configuring controls and blocking websites.
Router-based parental controls and network security systems ensure you never fall behind the times and always leverage the latest peer-reviewed content filters for your family as a whole.
Set a New Standard for Safety and Security
Blocking websites can be done piece by piece by adjusting apps and devices, but this approach is unmatched compared to parental controls routers with built-in software.
Make the upgrade to a router-based parental controls system and finally take control of a safe, secure internet for your family with Gryphon Connect.
Keep Kids from Seeing Sites | Lifewire
Understanding the Stages of Child Development | Healthline
Less Screen Time Means a Better Mind and Body for Kids | Very Well Family