I’m quite open about how strict I am when it comes to the access that my children have to the internet. Whilst they each have their own tablets that have games and apps downloaded onto them they are password controlled and they aren’t able to add new content without permission. I am quite lucky in that they understand even at the age of four and eight that should they attempt to download content or access sites that I haven’t agreed that they will lose their privileges.
As my children get older however they are starting to need to access different apps and websites for school projects etc. as well as for their entertainment. Roo for example often comes home with a list of websites that she needs to access in order to research for a project that they are completing at school.
My main concern at the moment for my children isn’t about restricting the time they are able to access the internet (although I’m aware that day will come along soon) but the content that they are able to see. It is all too easy to misspell a word when searching, click on a pop up advert or be drawn to links that are on the sidebars of websites.
Earlier this week I was invited down to London for the launch of HomeHalo an easy-to-install WiFi router and app that helps you control internet time and content for the whole family.
The HomeHalo hub simply piggybacks on to your internet router and using the free app (which is installed on to one device and is password controlled) different controls can be put in place for each internet user. It is worth noting that these rules will be device based i.e. if Roo was to use Tigger’s tablet she would only have his permission rights regarding time allowance and content restrictions however a quick log into the app via my device I would be able to assign Roo’s permissions to Tigger’s tablet for as long as she was using it.
Assigning access rights
Within the app you can set up a different profile for each family member, including any adults then assign them access rights. HomeHalo have already pre-set recommended age groups within the app that you can select which will restrict the internet content accordingly. This can be altered by whitelisting (or blacklisting) websites that you’d also like (or not like) that person to access.
Alongside the internet restrictions you are then able to add the times within the day that they can access the internet, for example Roo goes to bed at 8pm so I might want to shut off her access an hour before bed so she can wind down as well as have a wash, dressed etc. As she is an early riser I might want to let her internet usage start at 6am so that she can amuse herself in her room until 7am when the rest of the house is happier to get out of bed.
What you need to know about HomeHalo
- The wireless box costs £35 and is available from www.homehalo.co.uk (currently on offer with £10 off until the 9th November) and Amazon.
- There is a small £3 monthly charge for the service, which can be cancelled at any time
- HomeHalo does not work with 3G enabled devices as the user could simply turn off the WiFi connection and use their 3G data package therefore, it is best suited to children from the age of 6-11
Boo Roo and Tigger Too’s thoughts…
Having investigated parental controls for our internet before and found it far too complicated with software needed to be added to each device and then needing to have a degree in computer science to understand how to operate it I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy the HomeHalo was to install into the family home and how it could be adjusted easily via an app to accommodate extra internet time or content requirements.
Priced at just £35 for the HomeHalo hub itself makes it something that all families are able to access rather than just those who have the money to spend on an expensive piece of equipment. The £3 monthly subscription charge falls in line with a cup of takeaway coffee so represents good value for money.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.
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