My nephew was recently given a tablet for his thirteenth birthday. With the recent fire sale on HP Touchpads, my sister was able to pick up the device for $100. Since the apps are somewhat lacking, she wanted a way to block content and time frames allowed for internet access. So I put my thinking cap on, and finally hit on the solution!
Typically in your house you have a wireless router, especially if you are using a tablet around the house that does not have network service, such as the HP TouchPad, and even some iPad and Android devices. What you may not be aware of is that depending on the brand of wireless router you have, it could have some parental controls built right in. Depending on your wireless router, you should be able to access the controls either from the web interface for the router, or a software program the router has installed on your computer. The best way to find these settings is to first go to Start, then type “cmd” in the search field. A black window will pop up, type “ipconfig” and hit Enter. When you see the IP address located next to “gateway”, write it down.
Now that you know the address of your wireless router, open any internet browser and type that address in the address bar located at the top of the window. It will typically be something like 192.168.1.1, then hit Enter. It will bring up a username and password window. If you have set up a username and password in the past, go ahead and try that. If not, it will likely still be the default username and password the device came with, usually “username=admin, password=admin” or I’ve also seen the password be simply “password”.
Once inside, you should look for something about either parental controls, access restrictions, or maybe even applications. I’ve included a screen shot of my Linksys E4200 by Cisco’s parental controls. You can see on the screen shot that I can restrict access to certain websites, and restrict access to the internet for the tablet during specific times. The time frame is going to be a big one, as you can be sure that your child’s tablet won’t have access to the internet at all while you are sleeping. It would be hard to limit access to websites, as there are so many that would be bad for a child to stumble upon, but you can hit some major ways to search for these sites. The Cisco Valet goes even a step further with it’s Parental Controls, giving you a Child/Teen website filter. When you set up these parental controls you can also select which devices you want the control to be added to, so that when you end up working late on your laptop one night, you won’t suddenly be locked out of the internet!
Rest easy knowing that you can protect your kids from the horrible things they can stumble upon online with a tool you probably already own. As always, if you are having issues setting this up, please let us know where you are getting stuck in the comments so we can help you out. Good luck!