(This page is a companion resource to Protecting Children Online)
Many parents struggle with and worry about their kids being online after they, as parents, go to sleep. There are lots of online searches out there seeking best solutions (which are few, actually) but here’s what’s possible to consider:
- Some parents who have had serious issues with their kids ‘sneaking” online late at night, feel the best way is to collect all mobile devices at night, and hold them in their bedrooms. (Lots of work, its seems.) Some also keep the wireless router in the parent’s bedrooms too, which is the only real way to be sure that no one is getting online at 2 AM.
- Some parents report that they simply plug the router power cord into a timer device so that it shuts off at a certain time overnight, and comes back on in the morning. This works as long as your kids don’t simply bypass the timer to get back online late at night! (Or, just how determined and sneaky are your kids, anyway? 🙂
- On newer and more advance routers, you can set time based firewall rules in the router to only allow access during certain times. Some say that this is the best option, that is, if your savvy about such things and are willing to muck around with your routers settings, etc.
- One guy reports that all he does (!) is disconnect the router’s power cord from the device and the wall and takes that to bed with him. Okay–but really? I suppose you do whatever works.
- Some parents report that before they go to bed all they do is hit the on-off switch on their modem, which kills the router as well, and that their kids don’t even think about that. Really? Sounds like a lot of nightly remembering to me. (What’s next, get a ladder and cut the power to the house at the pole outside?)
- Remember, whatever method you choose, if you’re shutting off the access to the Internet overnight, you will not receive certain automatic updates that come in overnight on many software items and programs. You will need to reconfigure your settings on some of these devices if you go this route.
When I was researching all the ways parents limit wireless access at night I was struck by the number of parents who are seeking realistic solutions to this issue and the real lack of simple, automated and pre-installed options on today’s modems. But I at least wanted you to know what other parents out there are doing. Bear in mind too that the seemingly desperate and ‘restrictive methods’ employed here by some parents don’t teach anything at all. Perhaps they’ve long since exhausted that avenue. And if so, I guess that the war is on and you do the best that you can! Call me a hopeless romantic, but back in Protecting Children Online I do cover how some families have used “family meetings” to discuss agreements on consuming online media in the home. I hope that you check that out, too.
Next article in this series: Pay Attention To These Warning Signs.