The internet age brought with it many benefits, including access to the digital world, information, knowledge, and learning. However, it comes with a few challenges that can leave you and your kids vulnerable to inappropriate content.
So how do you protect your family in this digital age? Parental Control Apps and Parental Control Devices are your answer. This article deals with devices.
What are Parental Control Devices?
Parental control devices refer to physical hardware that has a native parental control software installed and running in it.
Parental control devices can include electronic devices such as routers or an additional device which is connected to your home network-typically called an internet filter. This device or internet filter allows you to monitor your children’s internet searches and browsing history. They also block inappropriate websites and content, limit screen time, and implement digital ground rules determined by parents.
Why Do you Need Parental Control devices?
Many children today are connected to the internet, which means they are in constant exposure to its benefits and drawbacks. And it is your duty, as their parent and guardian, to keep them safe and secure.
Luckily, you can achieve this by limiting the risks the internet poses to your children through parental control devices and parental control software. The biggest difference between the 2 is that the software is individually monitoring and filtering content, whereas devices monitor and filter content for all devices connected through it.
Best Parental Control Devices
Here are five top parental control devices currently available on the market.
Circle with Disney
Circle with Disney is an efficient parental control device that connects directly to your home network. It has two components: a small cube that connects directly to your home network and a mobile app from which you can manage parental control settings and monitor all devices. What’s more? It comes with a year of premium subscription, so you will have access to all its features from the start.
Circle with Disney has numerous preset filters – kid, teen, adult, and none – that enable you to block certain apps, websites, and content. Hence, you can limit the content your children can monitor, regardless of their age.
Further, the device offers a useful feature that allows you to monitor how long your child spends online. And if your child spends too long on any app, Circle with Disney enables you to set a time limit on the specific app. It also allows you to offer extended time limit rewards for chores well done!
- Easy to install and use
- Intuitive parental control app available for both iOS and Android device
- Efficient web and time limits
- Offers internet pause button
- Extra online time rewards
- Expensive after the first year
- Lengthy installation and setup
You can download Circle with Disney free of charge. However, you need to pay a fee to access its features. Circle with Disney allows you to subscribe for the mobile app alone and also for the entire unit. The mobile app subscription costs $10 monthly, while the complete setup costs $69 every quarter or $129 for an annual subscription.
Gryphon’s entry-level parental control device is called the Gryphon Guardian. The company specialises in online safety and has built its hardware and software around this. The mesh router itself has dual band radio and covers an area of 1800 sq ft easily as a standalone device. Since it is a router + content filter, it ensures that all the devices connected to your home network are protected with IoT device security, malware filtering and ad blocking.
- Easy setup and installation
- 802.11 bgn/AC with high power internal antennas
- Covers 1800 sqft with a single device
- Intrustion detection for IoT devices
- Ad blocking, ransomeware detection and malware filtering via ESET*
- App blocking / management
- Screen time management
- Block VPN access
- Gryphon Connect app is available on both Google Play and App Store
- *Premium subscription required after 6 months for continued access.
Gryphon Guardian is available for $79 via their website, amazon, walmart, newegg and wellbots. The Guardian 3-pack mesh router system is available for $229 and covers upto 5000 sqft.
Bark Home is an internet filter built by parents, for parents – that’s what the website says. We agree. Bark creates products and software keeping parents in mind. They take input from parents, teachers, guardians before they embark on creating products. As a result, the products are easy to setup, available for a reasonable price and provide great protection to your home.
Besides the usual content filtering, monitoring of adult content, app blocking, scheduling and internet access control, the device deploys mandatory safe search on every device connected via your home network. This includes Nintendos, Playstations, iPads, Tablet devices, Smart Tvs, Xboxs etc, all are covered.
The parental control device works with most routers and supports high speed internet. While Bark Home offers everything you would need, it can also works in conjunction with other parental control software such as Microsoft Parental Controls, Google Family Link and Apple Screen Time to extend parental control on mobile and tablet devices.
- Manage screen time via custom schedules
- Covers all devices connected to internet
- Filter websites according to 19 different categories
- Implement content restrictions
- Block specific apps or websites
- Enforce mandatory safe search
- Intuitive and user-friendly
- Reasonable price
- Does not support devices on external network or mobile data unless you purchase a Bark Premium subscription.
Bark Home costs only $79.00.
The CleanerNet Router is another great parental control device that gives you total control of the internet in your home and on mobile devices. It uses a cloud-based system that allows you to create a customised online experience for your kids.
The router enables you to restrict access to certain apps and websites, set time limits for them, and pause your internet usage. It can monitor content on social media platforms thanks to its integration with Bark. Additionally, it enables you to monitor and manage internet usage on all connected devices, including your gaming systems and smart devices.
You can also monitor and manage your children’s mobile phones from The CleanerNet App, regardless of where they are.
- Decent router with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands
- Control screen time
- Make internet secure at home and on the road
- Customize web filters and schedules for all users
- Manage and control who can access the internet and when they can
- Protects an unlimited number of devices
- Prevent access to inappropriate content
- Monitor social media content
- Cannot filter video content on YouTube and other streaming video services
- Cannot monitor incoming or outgoing text messages on instant messaging platforms
The CleanerNet router is available for $149.99 and is completely free of subscriptions at this time.
Gryphon AX is the latest tri-band router from Gryphon. With support for WiFi 6 and its own parental controls app to protect both home and family, this is both the most powerful router with internet security and one of the most expensive on this list. This comprehensive internet security solution comes with two identical white mini-towers that provides internet coverage for homes with up to 5,000 square feet. Each of these nodes is powered by a router that supports WiFi 6 technology and has a tri-band radios with support for mesh WiFi coverage for larger homes.
A mobile device support app called Gryphon Connect works well to setup the router and parental control settings. It offers a range of age-based content filter for its users. Hence, you can choose from elementary school, middle school, high school, toddlers, and adult age ranges. You can also choose an unfiltered setting if you don’t want to limit content.
Further, the Gryphon Connect app supports intrusion detection software and malware filtering by Eset. Parents can use the app to track the number of devices connected to the internet, suspend internet, set bedtime and homework times, among others. Gryphon gives access to its premium protection service free for 12 months.
Lastly, Gryphon Connect features an internet speed button that enables you to track the total volume of data your family has consumed within the month. All Gryphon routers come with advanced protection.
- Easy to install
- Has a great signal strength
- Manage via apps available for iOS and Android device
- Suspend internet connectivity
- Track internet usage
- Enforce age-based filters
- Features security software
- Supports external networks and mobile data with a premium plan
- Large sized
- Lacks USB port
Gryphon AX covering 3000 sq ft, retails for $279. To expand coverage to 5,000 sq ft, you can buy a 2 pack version that retails for $479.
Everyone, including children, has access to the internet. This makes it imperative that you install a proper parental control system in your home to make it safe and secure for your family.
We have provided some of the most effective parental control devices above. Choose any of them today, and give your children the protection they deserve.