Today all children have access to the Internet either via a smart TV, computer or Smart phone.
It is often desirable to restrict access to certain content on the Internet and also when they can access the Internet.
There are two ways of applying restrictions (so called parental controls) they are:
- At the ISP centre
- On the home network router.
ISP Parental Controls
This a service provided by your ISP which allows you to restrict access for your entire home network.
They are usually easy to set up and offer various levels of protection like strict,moderate,light.
They can also usually be configured to apply these controls for a particular time of day. See BT parental Controls for an example.
Because they are provided by the service provider there may be an addition charge for this.
In addition if you are using a non ISP provided router you may need to configure certain settings.
For example, BT parental controls rely on the hub using BT DNS servers and so you would need to configure your third party router to do this as well.
Activating and Setting BT Parental Controls
To activate you will need to login to myBT and go to the security page.You should see a button to activate parental controls.
Once enabled the filter level will default to light. If you click on the change button you can see what light means and you can you change it.
You can also change the filter level to moderate or strict.
Each of these pre-defined filters can be customised.
There is a section for filtering individual sites. You can block them and allow them.
You can also set the times when controls apply and there is even a special homework time
If you want to disable parental controls then click the switch off button at the top.
This is covered in this video:
BT Parental Controls Video
You may also find the BT FAQ page useful
Home Router Parental Controls
This will depend on your make of home router and not all home routers support parental controls.
On a router provided by your ISP activating parental controls will most probably activate the ISP parental controls as described above and not the router parental controls.
TP Link Parental Controls
The TP-Link Home router (AC1200) supports parental controls and I will use my home router controls as an example of what you can expect on a home router that supports these controls.
The router supports time of day restrictions on individual devices.
You can explicitly block access to sites by using the blacklist.
Alternatively you can allow access to only particular sites using the whitelist.
You can specify the website explicitly by using the full domain name or by using keywords from the domain name.
For example to stop access to facebook using the backlist you could enter.
www.facebook.com or just facebook.
In this example I will block access to facebook on Sunday.
1. Enable parental controls
2. Add devices using the add button and scan to locate the device (it must me on).
3.Click on the device from the list
4. Click on the clock icon and set the times when the restrictions apply by clicking in a box and dragging the cursor over the required blocks
5. Select the times
6. Click on blacklist and enter www.facebook.com into the backlist of just facebook .
7. Add a description and save.
The effect of the above controls is to block access for the selected device to any site with the word Facebook all day Sunday and evenings between 6 -12pm.
If instead of using blacklist We use Whitelist with the same settings then the device would only be able to connect to sites with the word Facebook between the selected hours.
Outside of those hours access would be normal.
Parental controls allow you to restrict access to internet content.
ISP parental controls are provide by the ISP and may occur additional cost. In addition they are not as good as router ones.
Home router controls are better but they involve configuration and not all home routers provide them.
Related Tutorials and Resources
- How to Setup and Configure your Home Router
- Home Network Security Guide for Complete Beginners
- VLANS on Home Networks
- A Beginners Guide to Proxy Servers and VPNs