Sure, some conveniences make parenting easier and more manageable, but other aspects of parenting are more challenging nowadays. In particular, navigating the internet and its risks can be difficult in a world where kids are always online.
Many parents find themselves unequipped to handle the 24/7 connectivity of phones, tablets, video game consoles, and more. How are you supposed to practice good digital parenting when there’s always a new device or app to monitor?
That’s why parental controls are at an all-time high in popularity and implementation. More parents are taking these responsibilities seriously and helping their kids avoid the pitfalls of the digital age.
If you’re a parent in 2021, you’ve seen the impact of technology on your family firsthand. It’s time to take back control!
Below, discover the many benefits of parental controls and network-level software for your Wi-Fi router.
Security and Protection
First and foremost, parental controls provide a layer of defense against the worst elements of the internet. These controls work to secure and protect your children through content filtering, intrusion detection, and activity monitoring as your children study, socialize, and play online.
While internet access is critical for living in the modern world, a huge portion of online content is not appropriate for kids and teens. Even if you trust your children and set clear boundaries for web use, there are many things you just don’t want them to see.
Filtering content should be a top priority for parents with children of any age, and that means having strong parental controls that effectively block harmful or offensive websites.
It’s no longer sufficient to rely on “safe search” features from search engines.
Younger generations are digital natives, meaning they’re inherently tech-savvy because they have grown up using the internet. Children know how to get around basic web protections, but concerned parents can take matters into their own hands.
The best parental controls allow you to block and filter content by category on social media, search engines, and even the address bar (URL bar) that directly accesses websites.
Cybersecurity threats can come from anywhere, at any time. Now that we have dozens of devices connected to our Wi-Fi networks, you should be aware of any attempted breaches at the digital perimeter of your home – especially when they involve your kids.
In addition to basic parental controls like content filtering, you need to be notified about intrusions of any kind.
Having full security features on top of existing restrictions and filters, ideally on the same centralized software platform, can help protect against breaches whether they occur on specific applications or on a network level.
It’s rare to find products that include security capabilities in conjunction with parental controls. You can use these criteria to narrow down your search when browsing Wi-Fi routers, mesh networks, and other hardware used as your gateway to the internet.
Monitor Browsing Activity
Knowing where your children hang out online is an important part of digital parenting and the first step towards setting strong boundaries. Monitoring browsing history is the best way to get a full picture of your kids’ online activity.
How you use these features depends on your style of parenting. You can silently monitor browsing habits or explain to your children that you’re keeping an eye on their online activity. Both are effective ways to make positive changes.
How you enforce your rules if certain browsing patterns concern you as a parent is also your decision. In some cases, direct intervention is necessary. Other times, you may want to take a passive role and allow children to learn lessons through experience.
The goal is to teach your kids how to know the good from the bad online, so they can judge for themselves how to use the internet safely and effectively.
Limits and Boundaries
Ask any parent about the amount of time their kids spend online, and they’ll probably say it’s too much! Truthfully, we all spend too much time on our web-connected devices.
Still, it’s important to set boundaries for kids and encourage them to step back from apps, games, and streaming video for at least a portion of the day.
Enough is Enough
As a parent in the digital age, sometimes a polite request does not accomplish much when trying to get your kid away from their video game consoles or social media apps.
Maybe you’ve tried persuading them to follow set time limits with positive incentives or negative repercussions and punishments. Some parents even have lockboxes for their phones and tablets at a certain time of day!
These tactics to limit screen time are only partially effective. The best way to set boundaries is with a network-level parental controls app that blocks access to the web or certain apps, ensuring that your kids follow your rules.
Homework Time, Family Time, and Bedtime
The hardest part of digital parenting is balance.
You know that your kids need web access to do homework, connect with peers, and enjoy downtime with TV shows, movies, or games. However, too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad, which is why you need parental controls that can cut web or app access to your child's account at certain times of the day.
Time for homework? No more online games. Time for dinner? No more social media. Time for bed? The internet is off until morning.
These types of controls can be extremely useful as a parent and help your children establish a healthy relationship with the internet.
Why Router-Level Controls Are Best
There are many parental control software products to choose from, but none of them match the power of network-level controls built into your Wi-Fi hardware.
Rather than going to every device in your house and installing third-party software, network-level parental controls operate from one central location. These network-level controls give you full authority over all tablets, smartphones, game consoles, and computers in your household.
Prevent your child's device from accessing specific apps, enable SafeSearch to prevent explicit content from appearing on your tween's phone, and personalize your app blocking and settings based on the maturity level of each of your children.
When your controls are centralized, you leave nothing up to chance. The power is in your hands, and nobody can manipulate this family link without administrative access at the network level. Set a unique PIN only you know, and feel safe every time your child opens up their web browser.
A network-level control system won’t put an extra burden on your kids' devices or network performance. You won’t experience any annoying pop-ups or unnecessary notifications. Set things up as you see fit and get the information you need on demand.
Only router-level control systems include all of the features we mentioned above in one place.
To achieve the same functionality with third-party software, you may need to install multiple apps on dozens of devices. This is not ideal, especially because new devices come and go all the time.
Router-level parental controls can house a full set of web filters, access scheduling, device usage monitors, and more all at your fingertips. Security and intrusion detection should be included, too.
If you’ve tried application-based parental controls, you know they always fall short in one area or another. When you see what router-level controls can do, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing.
The convenience factor of parental controls cannot be underestimated. Any busy parent will agree the less amount of setup and configuration, the better.
That’s another reason why router-level parental controls are superior to third-party apps. Once your Wi-Fi system is installed, you can fire up the control platform and set restrictions or schedules exactly as you wish.
With the simplicity and speed of mesh network technology, you can expand your Wi-Fi reach through satellite units and never have to worry about it conflicting with your parental controls. Because the hardware is proprietary, all your settings will remain intact and fully effective.
Commit to Better Digital Parenting
Parenting was already difficult enough—then, the internet made things way more complicated! Thankfully, a complete parental control system for your Wi-Fi router can help you manage all the risks that our families face in the digital world.
It's important to cultivate healthy online habits at a young age by looking after your children's privacy, choosing strong passwords, and being careful with online downloads. However, online safety starts with your home network.
Make sure your router has all the features that you need for maximum insight and control. Do you want location tracking? You've got it. Are you looking for an alert every time your child searches for a sensitive site? That's A-OK. Whether you have a Mac or a PC, your parental controls can provide peace of mind for you and your family.
The ability to filter websites, restrict app purchases, set screen time limits, or create separate profiles for each member of the family can make a big difference while parenting in the online age.
The web isn’t going anywhere. You've chosen the best internet service provider, your favorite router, and a smartphone that meets your every need. Now, it's time to take things to the next level.
The right parental controls can help you make responsible parenting decisions and navigate the challenges ahead.
Benefits of Parental Controls | Digital Connect Mag
5 Advantages of Parental Control Apps | Mom Does Reviews
Digital Parenting 2021 | Intech Open