Parents nowadays have a lot to think about when it comes to their kids and screen time. This has become even more true as many children in the U.S. spend their days learning remotely from their computers due to COVID-19. This has left many parents wondering how to limit screen time for their children under such circumstances.
Although kids may be staring at screens more hours a day than they were pre-pandemic, this doesn’t mean that your screen time rules need to go out the window altogether.
If you are looking for an easy way to get your children off of their electronics at home, your best bet is to control your children’s Wi-Fi access. If you are also interested in monitoring your children’s screen time when they are off the home Wi-Fi, then consider downloading a data monitoring app or parental control app.
Here are the easiest ways to limit your children’s Wi-Fi access:
Parental control Wi-Fi routers
One of the easiest ways to gain control over your children’s screen time is by purchasing a parental control Wi-Fi router. Although each parental control router has slightly different features and settings, most will allow parents to gain control of their children’s screen time in three key ways:
- Pause Wi-Fi on any device
- Schedule Wi-Fi to turn off at a specific time (such as for dinnertime or bedtime)
- Restrict devices from being able to access specific websites whenever you choose (social media, Netflix, YouTube, etc.)
The benefit of these features is that you do not have to turn off the Wi-Fi for everyone in the house to limit Wi-Fi access for your children. You don’t even have to entirely limit Wi-Fi access if your children need it to do homework, but you want to ensure they aren’t doing anything else.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Wi-Fi router with parental capabilities, here are some top-rated options:
Gryphon Guardian: comes with an app that provides content filtering, view of browsing history, the ability to set bedtimes/homework times, the ability to limit screen time, enforcement of safe search, enforcement of safe YouTube, and the ability to suspend the internet anytime.
- Router cost: $99
- Parental control app cost: $4.99/mo. (first three months free)
Nighthawk® Dual-Band WiFi Router: comes with an app that allows parents to set filters on any device, pause the internet, check their children’s browser history, schedule times for the Wi-Fi to automatically turn off, monitor Wi-Fi usage, set internet time limits and more.
- Router cost: $189.99
- App cost: free
Add a parental control accessory to your current router
If you are looking to monitor your children’s screen time but you are happy with your current router, then you can always buy an add-on device for your router. The device plugs into your router and then provides you with all the capabilities of a parental control router.
Some of the most popular parental control router accessories include:
Circle Home Plus: allows parents to monitor screen time and block content on any device through the Circle app.
- Cost: $129 (1-year subscription) or $299.99 (lifetime subscription)
The CleanerNet Mini Safe internet filter: allows parents to block their children’s ability to access any website or app. Parents can also set time limits, pause, monitor, and manage the internet use on any device connected to their home Wi-Fi. The CleanerNet Mini is compatible with many, but not all, routers.
- Cost: $99.99/yr. or $9.99/mo.
Download a Wi-Fi blocking app
If you don’t want to buy any additional equipment, you can always download an app to control your children’s Wi-Fi access.
WiFi Blocker: allows parents to control and monitor their kids’ internet access when they are connected to the home Wi-Fi. WiFi blocker is compatible with many, but not all, routers, so double check before you purchase the app.
- Cost: $5.99
Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team. She primarily writes about broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-related technology and the digital d… Read more
Edited by:Shannon Ullman
Editor, Broadband Content
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