In our house, with an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old getting savvier by the day with technology, we can’t live without Firewalla. Now with kids staying home, doing online school or not, we have to be more disciplined about regulating their online usage, while still leaving a healthy amount of space for independence. Here are some tips on how to use Firewalla's parental control features
to create a safe online environment for kids and encourage healthy online habits.
Block unsafe content on kids devices
On your kid's device, the following should always be ON to block unwanted website access from the device:
- Porn Block
- Safe Search
- Family Protect: this filters both violent content and porn based on the domain name. Use this together with Porn Block for broader coverage.
- Social Hour - temporarily blocks social networking for one hour.
Set up scheduled access for different online activities
In a recent article published in the New York Times, former astronaut Scott Kelly shared his tips about living in isolation (in his case a year in the international space station). The number one advice is to follow a daily schedule. With kids spending large amounts of time online doing school work as well as socializing with friends etc, it is important to establish a schedule, and use Firewalla to help enforce it. See below for a sample schedule and corresponding rules configuration in Firewalla. Click here to learn more about parental control features.
Visibility: Monitor network activities
The "Network Flow" feature under the device view provides powerful visibility into traffic activities in near real-time. While suspicious activities such as abnormal upload would trigger an alarm, periodically checking on network activities gives you deeper insights. The different tabs under Network Flow give you both aggregated and deep-dive views into site access and app usage on your kid's device.
After all, Firewalla is a tool to help kids be more aware of the boundaries and facilitate healthy online behaviors. Ultimately, our goal is to raise kids who can set their own rules and form the self-discipline to follow them.
Device Grouping and Network Segmentation (Upcoming Features)
In the coming months, we will be releasing features and hardware that will make the management of your kids much more efficient.
We are adding grouping of devices and rules in the upcoming 1.967 version as a free upgrade to all (Firewalla Red, Blue
, and Gold
) owners. This feature will allow you to group kids' devices together and schedule/apply rules or groups of rules much easier.
Network Segmentation on the Firewalla Gold
Powerful new features in Firewalla Gold
such as network segmentation will allow you to manage kids' devices in a separate network with different policies.