How to limit screen time for your kids by blocking Wi-Fi access

Robin Layton

Jan 24, 2024 — 4 min read

Manage your children's screen time with just a touch of a button.

Young boy on his phone at night

Parents nowadays have much to consider regarding their kids and digital screen time. This has become even more of an issue as many children in the U.S. spend their days learning on computers, streaming videos and engaging with social media. This has left many parents wondering if they should – and how to – limit screen time for their children under such circumstances.

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: 

  1. Pause Wi-Fi on any device
  2. Schedule Wi-Fi to turn off at a specific time (such as for dinnertime or bedtime)  
  3. 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 two top-rated options: 

Gryphon Guardian Mesh W-Fi Router: comes with an app that provides content filtering, a 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. Covers 1,800 sq. ft. The cost is under $100 and fairly reasonable: $$.

Gryphon AX – Ultra-Fast Mesh WiFi 6 Parental Control Router Advanced Content Filters and Next-Gen Firewall to create a safe internet experience for young users with active content monitoring, app and website blocking, individualized time limits, and comprehensive insights so you can better monitor your kids’ screen time. Cover 3,000 sq. ft. The cost is a bit pricey: $$$.

Download a Wi-Fi blocking or screen time 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/mo.

Bark: This screen time app allows you to limit your child’s time on apps, websites and devices. You can block apps or set time limits with custom schedules and monitor text messages, photos and more. Cost: $5 to $14/mo.

Net Nanny: This protection app uses AI to block dangerous content before a child accesses it. There are also controls for social media use, reporting and geofencing alerts so you know where your family member is at all times. Cost: $39.99 to $89.99 a year.

Screen time on phones or tablets

Spending a lot of time on our devices is never good for us; we hunch over them, hurting our backs and necks, or stare at the small screen so long our eyes strain and have blurred vision. Our mental and emotional health can suffer as well.

“A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology looked at how Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat affected the mental health of 143 college students. If these young people showed depressive symptoms at the start of the study, then reduced their social media use to just 10 minutes per day on each platform—a total of 30 minutes on social media per day—for three weeks, their symptoms of depression and loneliness decreased,” reported

Heavy screen users can also become addicted, believe it or not. “The dopamine dump that happens with smartphone use can be tough to resist. “For some people, the pull to the screen is so intense it interferes with their sleep, work and relationships,” says Dr. Marjan Moghaddam, as reported by Henry Ford Health.

Why you should limit screen time for kids

The risks listed above of eye strain and hurting mental well-being while spending too long on a phone or tablet are greater in children as their bodies and brains are maturing.

OSF Healthcare recommends these screen time standards for children and teens:

  • Under 2 years old: Zero screen time, except for video chatting with family or friends
  • 2-5 years old: No more than one hour per day co-viewing with a parent or sibling
  • 5-17 years old: Generally no more than two hours per day, except for homework

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, found that “screen time affects children’s language skills and is correlated with potential behavior problems.”

Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site … Read more