Is your home Wi-Fi network homework friendly?

When it comes to Internet usage, it's important to balance autonomy and security at home...while ensuring the kids have access to the best resources. 

It’s no surprise that classes as young as kindergarten are beginning to replace books and pencils for iPads and digital blackboards.

As technology continues to be introduced at school and kids become reliant on online resources at home to help with projects and homework, it’s important to make sure your home Wi-Fi network is secure and child friendly.

There are many ways to ensure your child has access to the best resources to complete schoolwork at home, while putting their safety first and preventing access from sites that may be inappropriate.

It’s important to regularly check in and talk to your child about Internet safety, and the dos and dont’s of online behavior. Find out how you can help make Internet a better place for children in our special blog.

However, it is just as important to carefully balance autonomy and security so the kids feel trusted and independent when using the Internet, especially as technology and online resources are becoming increasingly integrated into lessons at school.

Here are a few tips and tools to help parents with homework friendly Wi-Fi at home:

Separate filtered Wi-Fi network

While traditional Internet control measures for parents usually involve complex software and manual filtering, Securly have created Plug n’ Play Hub as a simple solution.

This wireless router device creates a separate Wi-Fi network for your kids, allowing them to browse the web safely without limiting other members of the household. 

Forget about installing new software or buying multiple devices, the Plug n’ Play Hub takes out all of the hard work. All parents are required to do is connect the hub into their current modem or router, and the network will be ready for kids' devices.

The network uses Domain Name System (DNS) and Web-proxy services to decide what sites to allow, block and proxy, and operates on the Cloud, meaning a unified layer can be applied on your child’s Wi-Fi network.

While we’re still waiting to hear more on Australia release dates, the retail price is likely to be around $144. 

Easy access to educational resources

You don’t have to be an IT whiz or computer engineer to make your home Wi-Fi network kid friendly, in fact there are a number of simple steps you can take with just a few mouse clicks!

Setting up dedicated web browsing limits is an easy way to control what your child can and cannot access online. Each web browser - including Chrome, Firefox or Safari - has options to do this.

For a starting point, some great educational and creative websites dedicated to children include:    

Time limits

Time limits can also be set for times when kids are using their computer for both school projects and leisure. That’s right, the amount of time spent playing that online game or streaming TV shows can be controlled during certain times of the day.

Most routers have a management system where you can set the time perimeters for Internet access.

Otherwise you can simply turn off a dedicated hub such as the Plug n’ Play when it’s time to switch off from the online world and spend time outdoors.

Check out leading children’s technology and development expert Dr Kirsty Goodwin's advice for parents to relieve their "techno guilt" -  a feeling of guilt and concern about their children’s digital habits. 

Control the environment

There’s been much debate around where children should be using the computer and other connected devices at home, with education and child safety experts recommending that the Internet isn't used in the bedroom.

It’s important to be aware of what your child is doing online, who they’re talking to and what they’re searching.

An easy way to do this is by setting up the computer in an open, shared and well lit area at home. This will also help you keep an eye on how their work is coming along as well as how long they spend online.

Internet safety ultimately comes down to talking to your children openly and honestly about what they can and can’t do online.

Setting up kid friendly Wi-Fi at home is the best way to help you actively monitor, protect and teach your kids how to browse safely and get the best out of their Internet access.  

Watch how the nbn™ network is changing the education experience in Australia