How to Control WiFi with Another Device
Here we talk about probably the most simplistic solution to managing your home WiFi network – just cut off electric power to your WiFi router (or any plugged-in device) for certain time of the day, the most important one being the night when kids should be sleeping. This simple solution can be achieved in the following ways:
A smart plug belongs to the category of Internet of Things – Internet-enabled everyday objects. It is controlled by an app and it lets you turn on and off any appliance that plugs into a standard wall socket. So it has its use as a parent’s helper in screen time management battles:
- Automate the time your WiFi router is on, like turning it off for the night, dinner, or homework. Of course, unless the parents’ devices are on a different WiFi network, their WiFi will be turned off too.
- Schedule, set timer, or turn off plugged-in gaming consoles or TVs from your app instead of pleading with the kids.
Of course, kids can always plug the device into another outlet – so supplementing with more sophisticated parental controls (and parenting!) might be necessary. And as usual, turning WiFi off does nothing to cellular data, so kids’ phones need to be secured in some other way.
There are also voice-enabled smart plugs, which brings us to…
Smart Home Voice Assistants: Alexa, Google and others
If your home WiFi network is integrated with smart home speakers like Amazon’s Alexa, it becomes possible to turn off WiFi on kids’ devices simply by saying: “Alexa, turn off Johnny’s iPad!” It is rather ironic that the Internet of Things that invades our homes, and is in itself is a huge privacy concern, can be used for parental controls. It shows you there is no black and white when it comes to technology, but instead a lot of grey areas.
You need to set parental controls FOR Alexa so your child does not misuse it, and you can USE Alexa as a parental control tool. The boundaries are becoming blurred.
Technically, nothing stops you from plugging your WiFi router into an old-fashioned mechanical timer and set it to turn off between 10pm and 6am. Unless the kids discover, or the parents unplug it themselves to watch Netflix or browse Facebook in the middle of the night, the low-tech solution should work!