How to Limit Your Kids Internet Access Using the Built-in Wireless Router Settings

iPad KidIt’s no secret that kids love their iPods – sometimes a little too much. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all sorts of other Internet-based activities, there are lots of ways kids can spend their time online. As parents, we try to encourage our kids to take a break from the Internet. It may seem to be a never ending battle. Your wireless router may have some built-in functions to help your cause.

 

The Wireless Router

A wireless router is a device that allows all the computers and portable devices in your home to share an Internet connection. It basically establishes a network to connect all your devices. This is called a Local Area Network or LAN. Wireless routers allow devices to connect to the LAN in two ways:

  1. By connecting the device directly to the router using a cable, or
  2. By allowing the device to connect to the router wirelessly using radio waves to transmit and receive data.

The broadband Internet connection from your cable or DSL provider is also connected to the wireless router. The wireless router handles all the technical aspects of sharing that Internet connection with all the devices on the LAN.

 

Router Access Restrictions

When your wireless router was setup, the default setting allows unlimited Internet access to all devices. With a quick visit to the setup page of your router, you can establish restrictions for some or all devices.


The actual procedure will vary slightly depending on the brand of your router. In general, you can access the router setup page by using the software utility that came with your router or by typing 192.168.1.1 in the address line of an Internet browser. Enter your username and password when prompted and you will have access to the router setup menus.

Depending on your router, find the menu for either Router Access Restrictions or Parental Controls. Within this menu, you can set time frames to allow or disable Internet access for each device. For example, if you want to disable your child’s Internet access on weekdays after 8:00 PM, simply select your child’s device and set the access restrictions for the time you want. Check the user manual for your router for more detailed instructions. Below is an example of the Access Restrictions setup screen from an old Linksys router.

Access Restrictions

 

MAC Address

To setup restrictions for a particular device, you may need to know the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device. The MAC address is a unique network address assigned to every hardware device by the manufacturer. It enables every device connected to a network to be individually identified.



To find the MAC address of your child’s iOS device, open the Settings app, select General, then select About.

About

 

Scroll down the list to find Wi-Fi Address. This is the MAC address of the device.

WiFi Address

 

When setting up access restrictions, routers require the MAC address to specifically control the network restrictions for a particular device. However, some newer routers simplify the process by recognizing the name of the device. The names of all devices currently connected to the network will appear on the router access restrictions page rather than having the user manually enter the MAC address.

With an iOS device, the user can define a name for the device. The name can be found by opening the Settings app, selecting General, then About. At the top of the About page, the name of the device is shown.

Device Name

 

Once you finish setting up the access restrictions, click the save button on the router page and the restrictions are now active.

This process does not completely discourage your kids from playing with their iPods. Anything that does not require Internet access, like most games, will continue to function as normal. However, it will disable Internet access during the times you want them doing something other than scanning the social media sites.