Monitoring kids’ internet usage and protecting them from browsing inappropriate content has always been a hassle, yet it is necessary. Wireless device company Netgear is making it a little easier with new routers that will put curbs on kids’ internet access.
Netgear announced its partnership with Circle Media Labs, which works on parental control software and hardware, on Wednesday, for its Orbi Tri-Band home Wi-Fi systems and its Nighthawk smart routers.
“Netgear is bringing peace of mind to parents by managing not only access to appropriate online content, but also limiting the time that children are spending online,” the company stated in its press release.
The routers are linked to the Circle app, which provides a range of controls to an administrator, who could be a parent. Parents can download the app on a range of devices and create unique profiles for each family member. In these profiles, they can set daily time limits for each family member for different apps and websites and even set individual filters for each family member. These filters can prevent kids being exposed to mature and explicit content.
A BedTime sleep timer for the internet usage can be set for each user. The administrator can also pause the internet at any given point of time. With the Orbi and Nighthawk routers, this functionality comes pre-installed in the router itself, which can be expected to provide greater control to parents on how their kids browse the internet and what they are exposed to.
However, if you want even more control such as app-specific time limits for usage, you will need to shell out $5 per month. If you are not interested in paying the monthly fees, the company offers a $99 box that you can attach with the router and get the functionality.
Parental controls have been a huge concern with video platforms such as YouTube improving the kids’ version of their main apps to bring out kid-friendly content. However, these systems are not fool proof — only 0.05 videos from the main YouTube channel were removed for YouTube kids. Another option is to enable safe search on browsers such as Chrome. There are also basic PC settings available for parental controls in both MacOS High Sierra and Windows 10 OS.
But, the biggest protection for kids is to actually educate them about which content they should watch and which they should avoid. Kids also need to be warned about dangers lurking on social media — an experiment run by YouTuber Coby Persin and mSpy parental control software found that kids could be easily persuaded to actually meet people who they interact with on Snapchat.
Kids can also be exposed to sexting online and even cyber bullying. It is therefore necessary to monitor kids’ internet usage and scan their usage history for inappropriate content.
Netgear Orbi models retail from $329.99 to $399.99 while Nighthawk models are available for $124.99 onwards.