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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Technology and approaches for managing your teen's use of the home WiFi connection

    Hi,
    I have a youngish teen at home for whom I would like to better manage his access to the home WiFi connection but not make access to the same service any more difficult for myself or my wife (or anyone else we choose to provide the WPA key). As I'm sure many parents are finding these days, teens are not very keen on having their access to the internet limited in any way and are quite happy to wait until you are asleep to turn on the WiFi enable router and game, kik, snapchat, instagram, etc all night long! Unfortuately, I have consistently found that that use of the internet/WiFi at home is not area where my son's self control or truthfulness can be relied on and school and other non-IT social activities tend to suffer as a result. At the moment, we have simply changed the WiFi password for all our own devices and not given the new access key to him (he doesn't have access to data via a cell/mobile phone). This is not very convenient as he should have Internet access in the home for both reasonable recreational use and for school work. So my question is what solutions are available to manage access to a home WiFi service so that timeouts and the issuing access permissions can be more automated - a bit like in the case with some hotels and cafes. I appreciate that locking the router up in a secure place is an option - but its not one that will work particularly well in our home. We have a Windows 7 Professional OS computer that my wife and I share and my son has a Windows 7 notebook. The family has the usual collection of iPads, iPods, iPhones, and Android devices, and WiFi connected TVs and media players. Our internet access is via a cable service connection. Any thoughts would be most welcome.

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  3. #2
    Gold Lounger
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    If your router has access controls you can set them, but most home routers do not. Software controls on the PC are pretty much useless as kids can get around them - they tend to be better informed than the parents about such things.
    You best bet may be a router with DD-WRT, like this one. DD-WRT allows you to restrict access by time, limit bandwidth etc. You can set up a SSID just for your son with restrictions in place, whilst you use another SSID with no restrictions. You could even have a 3rd SSID for guest access, with a MAC filter to prevent your son using it.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #3
    Star Lounger
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    I used MAC address filtering when faced with the same situation.

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    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    One thing you might try to get his attention is to call your cell phone company and tell them that you have lost his cell phone, and could they please turn it off temporarily.

    When your son demands to know why his phone is off, tell him that his internet usage is way over the limits you have asked him to respect. When he comes into compliance, call the cell phone company and tell them that you have found the phone and ask them to turn it back on.

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    New Lounger
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    Paul,
    Thanks for your advice, what you suggest looks to be definitely the best option, and I can now investigate further. Thanks again for taking the time to consider my question.

    Cheers

    Steve

  7. #6
    3 Star Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    One thing you might try to get his attention is to call your cell phone company and tell them that you have lost his cell phone, and could they please turn it off temporarily.

    When your son demands to know why his phone is off, tell him that his internet usage is way over the limits you have asked him to respect. When he comes into compliance, call the cell phone company and tell them that you have found the phone and ask them to turn it back on.

    That would not likely stop WiFi access Jim




    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post

    That would not likely stop WiFi access Jim
    No it wouldn't. But it might result in some better behavior on the part of the kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveHem View Post
    Paul,
    Thanks for your advice, what you suggest looks to be definitely the best option, and I can now investigate further. Thanks again for taking the time to consider my question.

    Cheers

    Steve
    Probably worth changing the router log in password as well as they are so savvy.

  10. #9
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    edit: I figured Windows Secrets was bound to be reasonably current on this topic:
    http://windowssecrets.com/best-pract...ds-and-adults/ Looks like Michael Lasky provides a free Win7 solution to your timer problem (I'm sure it exists in Win8 too (Vista, XP?). Hopefully it allows different times on weekends (and school vacations will need your manual intervention). You will need to set up a password protected (don't forget it, and it can readily be hacked, oh joy, I'm sure a kid will never figure that out) Admin account for yourself first.

    If he has a smartphone---good luck.

    Protection, ummmm, you can subscribe to OpenDNS. And there are parental blocking apps that can be installed; and your ISP (or phone co.) may supply them for free (mine do). Good practice for the kid at hacking IMHO.
    http://www.techradar.com/us/news/sof...e-1140315#null

    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/fiv...ard-your-kids/

    The simplest and surest method for ensuring sleep might be locating the wifi router in your bedroom and setting it up on a wall socket timer that turns the router on and off via the wall socket at certain times. Inconvenient for you if you go to bed after the kids, but if he is like kids I know once asleep they are not likely to wake up with you in the morning and access the net. They get up when you shake them awake.

    As was said if your router allows blocking (or better allowing) devices (via MAC address) between specific hours during the days of the week you are set...and he can learn a valuable lesson in MAC address spoofing. Education is a wonderful thing.

    This also assumes a neighbor is not running a nearby open or WEP protected (ah, more hacking experience) wifi connection. Not very common any more.

    One other thought--though I suspect it may not be available in many or any wifi router. Dual band routers (2.4MHz and 5Mz) can function independently as if two wifi routers were operating. I run my guest bedroom connection off of the 2.4MHz connection. It may be possible to set restrictions on one while using the other. Some wifi routers also allow "Guest" accounts. These may allow restricting hours as well. Comes down to downloading manuals and visiting maker's web sites to see what parental controls they offer (and keeping firmware up to date).
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2014-08-13 at 17:54. Reason: added Windows Secrets link

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