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Keeping Your Connected Home Secure

As homes become more connected with Wi-Fi networks and virtual assistants like Google Home or Alexa, adding parental controls and securing those devices is important to help prevent children in the house from accessing inappropriate content online.

Parental control tools can do everything from content filtering, content reporting, setting screen time limits and bedtimes for devices, blocking inappropriate apps and ads, and even pausing internet access.

There are different types of controls:

  • Network level controls are set at the hub or router and apply to any device connecting to that hub or router, including computers, smartphones, and IoT devices.
  • Device level controls are set on the device itself, such as a smartphone, and apply anywhere the smartphone may connect to the internet.
  • Application controls are set on the platform or application that your child uses, like Instagram or SnapChat, under privacy settings.

While a combination of network, device, and application controls can go a long way to protecting your child on the internet, nothing is 100% foolproof. One of the easiest ways kids circumvent your security settings is to reset your router to its factory default settings, by simply pressing and holding the reset button located on the back of most routers.

On your home network or router, kids are able to Google the default password for that router and quickly gain admin access to it. They can then set up a second admin account so they can use that one moving forward. To help prevent unauthorized access to their home network or router, parents should create an obscure password that their child, or anyone else who should not have access, won’t gain administrative access.

It’s also a good idea to set up daily or weekly reporting of activity to monitor who is accessing the network. Kids can bypass your in-home network completely by using their smartphones with a data plan. To check if your kids are bypassing the Wi-Fi network, keep tabs on their data usage from your carrier’s website. Installing a parental control app, like Netsanity, will protect the device regardless if it’s on Wi-Fi or the carrier’s network.

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