Parental control techniques

After two lockdowns and a pretty laisez faire approach, I’ve found that my kids have been pretending to do their homework, and actually gaming and YouTubing all their waking hours (and not just the ones when they weren’t doing their homework, as I had possibly naively hoped). That alt-tab trick you learned when the boss came near - my kids worked that one out faster than I did!

This means war! :exploding_head:

The Cuckoo router (and most ISP supplied routers) offers two rather blunt tools for managing access to the internet:

  • Time of day based access for devices (by their MAC addresses)
  • Site filtering by domain name (either global for for specific MAC addresses)

While the time of day filtering is great for enforcing bedtime routines, it doesn’t help with my kids accessing time sinks.

The site-filtering approach is just whack-a-mole - how many domains are required just to block YouTube? How many domains can be entered before the router falls over anyway?

I would really like to hear what other parents are doing to manage their kids internet usage.

Here are some other tools I’ve used that can be made to work with Cuckoo’s router:

CloudFlare for Families
By changing the DNS server IPs used by your router to 1.1.1.3 and 1.0.0.3 you get both Malware and and Adult Content filtering, free of charge and no further configuration. Read more at 1.1.1.1 — The free app that makes your Internet faster.

OpenDNS Home
OpenDNS is a similar product from Cisco systems, which allows you to manage different categories of content to block. You need to sign up, and set up your router to use Ping-O-Matic’s Dynamic DNS service with the same login credentials. Read more at Home Free by OpenDNS

MacOS Parental Controls
Mac’s have some built features to help - everyone needs to be set up with an iCloud account and joined to the same family. You can then set bedtimes (with a spoken warning a few minutes ahead of time), how long individial applications can be used, and some web filtering. It was rather hit and miss before Catalina, but seems a bit more robust now. The same limits are applied to iPads and iPhones. More info at Families - Apple (UK)

Microsoft Family
Microsoft have similar functions built into Windows 10 - screentime, bedtimes, application limits. Read more at Microsoft Family Safety | Online Safety & Digital Wellbeing

Google Family Link
Google also have some controls for Android devices. Read more at https://families.google.com/families

Any eager kid will eventually figure out how to circumvent these controls, and maybe that is a good challenge for them. I’m using a mix of 1.1.1.3 and router settings at the moment.

What are other people using to manage their kids access?

1 Like

OMG…I’m laughing myself silly at this well done your kids.

This also reminds me of back in the day when Messenger plus was around to enhance MSN Messenger/Window’s Live Messenger with the features It was missing and it’s built in boss lock that hid all messenger windows and muted sounds on a two key press and displayed a system icon on the tray that wasn’t the messenger.

AHH the Good old days that was.

Going onto your other points…I found the latter half of your post very informative and I would suggest you rewrite this as a “Guide” for the Cuckoo support hub as I’m sure when he EVENTUALLY sees it @dan & @Tommy (the golden guide badge owner) might agree.

So the Site Filtering in the Technicolor router (I got a DGA0122) doesn’t really work - I put in youtube.com and selected all devices, Exlude mode and Enabled. I can still reach www.youtube.com in my browser and through the Android app. Maybe there is some aspect of the feature I don’t understand. The lack of manual doesn’t really help.

Only a thought but have you tried using this wildcard “*.YouTube.com” without the speech marks on your filtering where the star is any sub domain/directories on the main YouTube domain such as caching of files etc for example the mobile version m.youtube.com etc.

The reason I mention this is where I can I use a status bar on my preferred browsers to see where data is coming & going from and this is used a lot.

The Technicolor modem rejects the URL as invalid if it has a *. It doesn’t like www.youtube.com, so I guess it works at the domain level.

However, I can still get to www.youtube.com, so I guess the feature just doesn’t work :frowning:

Hiya @dunxd

Hmmm that is really odd but thanks for trying it out at least but I’ll have a play on my TP Link as I’m sure that’s how it blocks websites on there tech although it’s not the same on the Technicolor software it’s still worth looking into.

Thanks again.

I had a TP-link router before, and that is how it worked, but Cuckoo doesn’t send customers TP-Link routers.

Technicolor routers are very popular with ISPs but poorly documented, and in this case seems to be very buggy.

For what it is worth, the wi-fi in this technicolour router is superior to my old TP-Link, but the content filtering feature is rubbish. Doesn’t look like they even bothered to test it.