The internet can be a dangerous place when used by young and inexperienced people, but by understanding how your internet router works at home, you can take some practical steps to help control the data that passes through it and thus make the internet a little safer space for your kids.
There are many types of routers out there, but the following steps are applicable to many of them.
Adjusting internet filter settings using your router
- Access your router homepage. Open a new webpage in an internet browser and type in either 192.168.0.0 or 192.168.0.1.
- Enter in log-in details. If you’ve never set these before, they tend to be generic details. The username is often ‘Admin’, and the password is ‘password’, otherwise look at the sticker under the router. Beware of case sensitivity.
- Look for a tab that says ‘filter,’ ‘parental control,’ ‘content control’ or something similar on the page. This is a tool that you can use to block access to any number of unwanted websites. The tabs and settings you click on inside the router interface will differ for each router brand, but generally the principle is the same for most routers. Parental controls are fast becoming an expected feature, so there will likely be a relevant option on there.
- Choose your restriction settings. Within the parental control section of your router, a number of settings should be available to you, such as the level of restriction you would like to enforce, and on which devices you choose to put it on. Make the selections most appropriate for your family.
- Enter the IP addresses. Some routers will ask you to provide the IP address of a device, which is the digital name a router assigns a device when it connects to the network. You will often be able to find this out by going to network settings on a device, and finding advanced network details and look for ‘IP Address’. Otherwise, the router should have a network map that you can use to view all the connected devices in your home. In this way, you can control the internet filters for every device that your family owns and is connected to your WiFi.
Adjusting internet filter settings using an app
If that all seems too complicated, the good news is that many router companies have created smart apps which enable you to control settings from your phone or tablet without having to take the trickier route as listed above. If you are in the market for a new router, be on the lookout for a brand that provides an app with it.
These apps make it easy to turn on a smart filter which applies general rules to devices that you choose and has an intelligent way of determining whether a website is going to be harmful or not. At the same time, it is essential to understand that it is just a ‘general’ filter without specialised care taken to refine the list of dangerous websites. If you think you need a higher level of protection, perhaps consider additional software or hardware solutions.
What do I do if my router doesn’t have parental control?
More and more options are coming to market which can help control basic user experiences. There are many options available that streamline this process, ranging from family internet safety packages via a subscription service, right through to physical hardware that attaches to your existing router or wirelessly connect.
As always though, any steps you take regarding internet safety should start with open communication lines with your children. And remember that no tool or app is failsafe, parents need to remain constantly vigilant.