In a tech evolved world where anyone can access the Internet with a click of a button, it’s important to be cautious about what our kids have access to on the web and when.
Think about it:
The internet is a network with all the type of content that you can think of, from written texts to podcasts to videos. And all that is accessible in an instant even by the young generation.
Unfortunately, some content on the web is pure junk and downright dangerous for kids to see. But since you don’t want them exposed to materials that could potentially harm them physically or psychologically, it’s important to invest in routers with parental controls to ensure they get access only to what they’re supposed to see.
Below are some of the best routers with parental controls that you can use to keep your kids safe online, especially when you’re far away from home.
- Best Overall: Netgear Orbi Tri Band Wifi Router
- Best with Friendly Interface: Linksys Velop Tri-Band Mesh Wifi Router
- Also Good for Parental Control: Synology RT2600AC Wifi Router
How to Choose the Best Router with Parental Controls
It’s harmful to let kids access just about any kind of content on the web. And therefore the only way to protect them from toxic content and against acute cyber bulling on social media is to limit what they can see on the internet.
The easiest way to limit their access is with a powerful wireless router. But with many options that have parental control features all over the place, which option should you choose exactly?
Well, here are some things to consider:
Parental Control Settings
Router builds are different, and so are the parental control features. It’s best to check the router specs to know what you can control and what you can’t.
Generally, a good dual and tri band router should allow you to:
- Create and manage user profiles
- Block sites that are inappropriate for kids
- Filter content based on age groups, such that kids don’t access what’s meant for adults
- Control how much time children spend on the internet
Fortunately, the routers we’ve reviewed below gives you access to all these features. So you can keep your kids as safe as possible while limiting how much time they can and should use the internet.
Choose a Router with Decent Speed
The last thing you want to do is to buy a router that doesn’t feature the best throughput. So make sure you invest in a router that guarantees the fastest speeds, both in close proximity and from a distance. After all, even your kids deserve the best browsing, gaming, streaming, and podcasting experience.
Pick a Router with Decent Coverage
Make it a rule of thumb to choose a long-range router even if you live in a small apartment. This way, you and your kids won’t have to deal with increased latency and internet lags when accessing the internet a few feet away from the router.
Keep in mind that cost isn’t directly proportional to the coverage range, as some routers, such as the Archer 7 from Asus, are cheap with a decent range.
Best Routers with Parental Controls
1. Netgear Orbi Tri Band Wifi Router
When it comes to giving kids access to the internet, you want to make sure you filter out content they shouldn’t see. And since you can’t always be around to keep a closer eye on them, you can do so with the help of Netgear Orbi Tri Band Wifi Router.
In terms of performance, Orbi will give you a decent throughput on all the frequency bands and go well even with multiple devices connected to the network. It’s not a budget router such as the TP-Link Archer 7, but at least it can cover a range of up to 6,000 square feet.
The parental control technology built into the Orbi allows you to do more than just filter sites that you don’t want your kids to access. You can create and manage their profiles, schedule when they access the internet, limit how long they can stay online, and pause the internet.
While the internet usage report falls in the premium bundle, Netgear Orbi lets you view site history, including the ones your child visits, for free.
Getting started with Netgear Orbi wireless router is simple and straightforward. Start by creating a profile for a child and associate their device with the profile. Choose the free plan and set the content you’d like them to see depending on their age and interest.
Netgear Orbi even allows you to disable individual sites that you don’t want kids to access. For example, if you don’t want kids to access Snapchat or Facebook until they’re teenagers, simply filter out these options and you’re good to go.
One of the biggest drawbacks with the free plan is that it doesn’t allow you to pause the internet automatically. And with the time scheduling and time quotas missing, you should consider upgrading your plan or do the setup manually.
2. Linksys Velop Tri Band Mesh Wifi Router
With tons of online content accessible with the click of a button, Linksys Velop can come to the rescue and stop your kids from accessing content that they shouldn’t see in the first place.
Starting with parental control features, Linksys doesn’t offer you the option to create user profiles. But it does allow you to use the Linksys Shield technology to filter content, pause the internet, and schedule internet use. They don’t state whether they allow reporting and in testing this option isn’t available.
Do keep in mind that basic parental controls are free. However, if you want more configuration options, you’ll need to upgrade to the Linksys Shield premium membership, which costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year.
The free control options aren’t that bad. First, you can easily restrict internet access to specific devices, connecting kids to the web only when it’s necessary. You can even limit how long the devices connected to the internet can be online before terminating the connection. And you can limit access to sites on a specific device.
The content filtering option isn’t available in the free plan. And given how important it is in our case, you should consider buying a premium subscription for the price point mentioned. With a premium plan on the Linksys Shield Technology, you can filter content based on four age group levels, which are child, pre-teen, teen, and adult. You can also block websites by category so that your child never lays eyes on what’s inappropriate for them.
Many powerful routers, especially the ones from Netgear and TP-Link allow you to connect more than 20 devices to the network. Linksys Velop is a different case, as it has a limit of just 14 devices. Again, there’s no way to lock out a device automatically. So if some of these devices belong to your children, and you’d like to limit their access to the internet, you’ll have to do that by blocking them from the network manually.
3. Synology RT2600 Dual Band Wifi Router
Synology has been in the networking business long enough to know that your child need maximum protection possible as they use the internet. With their TR2600AC dual band wireless router, you can protect your children from harmful content and instill a culture of accessing clean content at home.
Many router brands need you to have a monthly or yearly premium subscription in order to take full advantage of the parental control features. Synology takes a completely different approach, giving you full access to its parental control technology without asking you for a penny.
In other words, if you don’t want to pay a subscription and, at the same time, you want to protect your children from accessing otherwise harmful content, Synology RT2600AC wireless router may be worth it.
The parental controls built into the Synology wireless router allow you to create profile, schedule internet use, set time limits, and create time schedules. While you can protect kids against adult and violent content, you can’t pause their internet use automatically. To limit how much time they spend playing kids-friendly games online, you may have to block their access to the Internet manually.
Like many Synology routers, this one, too, is very easy to set up. Since it includes a user manual, you should have an easy time with the setup, even if wireless technology is a foreign concept to you. You can access all the parental controls through the router’s Android or iOS app, which is available for free download.
The mobile app of the Synology router is simple yet well built. The feel is robust and intuitive. And navigating through different settings is easy and straightforward. It’s here that you even see reports on internet usage. And usually, you can filter that based on daily, weekly, or monthly usage, making it easy for you to know just how much time your children spent browsing the internet for the given period.