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How to use your router's parental controls



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Lock your router to keep your kids safe online.


Chris Monroe / CNET

We have never been more dependent on our home's internet connections than during the ongoing pandemic but that left many parents concerned about keeping their children safe online. Fortunately, can help your Wi-Fi router by managing who has access to what online content and when. You just have to be willing to dig a bit through the settings.

Each router is different, so you'll want to refer to your model's manual for more information, but here's an overview of what features to look for and how best to search put them into use.

Read more : Why is my WiFi slow? Repair your Internet connection in 5 steps

Set up parental controls on your Wi-Fi router

Before you can customize and manage your home's Internet connection, you need to access your router settings. Most recent models offer associated apps that allow you to connect to your router and adjust the settings to your liking. Such apps are a good starting point and many offer a basic level of parental controls that you can experiment with, but if you really want to open the hood and see your router's full assignment of settings, you want to connect to your computer

To get started, open your preferred web browser on your computer and type your network's IP address in the address bar. By default, most routers use 1

92.168.1.1 as the IP address. If that doesn't work for you, you can look up your IP address by right-clicking on your internet icon and looking for details or settings.

For Mac users, the IP address can be found by clicking on your Wi-Fi symbol and then scrolling down to click Open Network Preferences.

After entering your IP address in the address bar, you need login details to edit the settings. With some routers, this information is printed on the router itself or in the manufacturer's user manual or website. You may also have chosen your own credentials when you first set up your router. If you don't remember the credentials, you can usually find and change them in the router's app.

After you log in or open settings, there are a number of ways to customize Internet browsing depending on the features of your particular router.

The Nest Wifi app allows you to group your devices for children and then schedule times when they can and cannot connect.


Screenshots from Ry Crist / CNET

1. Limit Internet Time

Most routers with parental control options include a schedule setting. This means you can schedule the network to shut down at a specific time every day.

Some include schedules for specific devices, allowing you to choose your child's laptop, tablet, or game console and disconnect from the Internet, for example at 8:00 PM. every weekday evening. Do you want to block everything? Look for options that allow you to group devices.

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The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and comes with Circle with Disney parental controls.


Josh Miller / CNET

2. Restricted Specific Websites

In addition to scheduling, some routers include parental controls for specific sites. You can choose specific URLs to block on specific devices in your home so you can keep your kids away from the websites you want.

For example, Netgear does this through the Netgear Genie app, powered by OpenDNS, to create custom filters for your network. Devices used by adults can be configured to bypass filters and have unlimited internet access.

3. Pausing Wi-Fi

If you just want to minimize distractions while eating, but don't want to set specific schedules or restrictions, pausing the connection is a great tool.

Newer routers and mesh networks such as Google Wifi include associated apps that allow you to interrupt the internet connection on some or all devices and resume them when you are ready. Google's second-generation Nest Wifi system adds Google Assistant voice control to every extender, so you can just say, "Ok Google, pause the kids' Wi-Fi."

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Add a router accessory

If you love the router you already own but want to add parental controls, there are add-on devices that can help you. Plug-in modules such as the Router Limits or Circle with Disney connect to your router and manage Internet access and rules for multiple connected devices.

Some devices and apps can even spend a certain number of minutes on each device, so that children can earn more internet time by doing chores around the house. That's a great way to teach kids to manage and balance their screen time responsibly without a parent having to rip the device out of their hands.

When you change your router settings or add a device to control access, it is important to take steps to protect everyone on the Internet. For parents looking for more guidelines on how to surf the Internet, screen time and protecting children, there are a number of online resources, including Connectsafely.org and Family Online Safety Institute.

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