For many people, the Internet has become a crucial part of everyday life and a valuable educational tool, but this does not mean that children should have access to everything on the web. Children can inadvertently discover X-rated content by misspelling a search term or website address. Parental controls are designed to filter the web, block accidental visits to inappropriate sites and restrict web access for younger children. Although you cannot childproof the web, you can at least make your home network safer for your children to surf the Internet and reduce the potential of unwanted material being displayed. Many broadband providers in NZ offer ISP level filtering, but the best bet is to implement controls at your home network end…
The Router is the Main Point of Control
Your Internet router is a conduit through which all your Internet traffic flows. This makes the router a powerful tool for controlling your child’s Internet access. Setting up parental controls on this device will enable you to provide web filtering for all devices connected to your home network, including game consoles with built-in browsers. It will also control the Internet access of anyone visiting your home, such as your children’s friends.
Configuring Your Router
Right click on your network and then select Status from the menu. Select the Details option on the drop-down menu. The number listed on the line next to IPv4 Default Gateway is your router IP address. Launch your preferred web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome. Type the number in the address bar to access your router. Open the control menu and look for parental control options. They may also be listed under the Security settings tab. The exact parental controls available depend upon the particular make and model of your device. Various routers contain parental control features that block certain types of traffic or specific websites. You may also be able to control the time when access is available, which prevents your children from using the Internet while you are normally asleep. The router may have a tiered level system already pre-programmed. Some routers can also be configured to control access on a per device basis. This will limit the access of your child’s computer while providing you the ability to surf the entire web. More tips here.
It is important to set parental controls on the computers, tablets and other Internet accessible devices that your children use as well. Even if you establish the right protocols on your router, children may be able to connect to the web through nearby unsecured networks, such as a community or business provided Wi-Fi hotspot, or other portals when they are not at home. These controls add an extra layer of protection. Open the Control Panel and select User Accounts. On the next menu, choose Parental Controls and click the ON button next to Enforce Current Settings. Once the controls have been turned on, you can set time limits, prevent children from using certain programs and determine the ratings for the games that they may access. Many Internet security and anti-virus programs also have built in parental control features accessible through their control panel menus. There are third-party parental control software programs available from a number of companies that can be installed on the computer or other devices as well.
In New Zealand, Netsafe is another great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about keeping you kids safe online.