Back to School Advice for Parents

We're here…the last full week of August is next week, and with that, most Minnesota teachers will be heading back to school for a few days of inservice, and then most of us start with students on the day after Labor Day. I know that quite a few states are already back in session.

If you are a parent, and your students have Internet devices of their own (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches), I'd like to suggest a tool to help your students use their devices wisely…timed access to the wi-fi at your house.

Some routers, such as Apple's Airport models, allow you to enter the MAC address of a device and to restrict the ability of that device to access to the Internet during a specific time period. Apple even has an iPad app that makes setting those times easy to do. And the best part is that you can leave all other devices in your house unrestricted–adjust only the devices of your children.

For our 13 year old, we have his access set from 6am-9pm on school nights. On non-school nights, he has access from 6am-9:30pm.

For our 5 year old, we have his access set from 6am-8pm on school nights. On non-school nights, he has access from 6am-8:30pm.

Our 13 year old seems to spend the majority of his time these days watching YouTube on his iPod Touch, or he uses Air Video to watch one of the movies that we have on our Media Center Mac Mini. Our 5 year old uses his iPod to watch Netflix. Netflix is in the process of making its service even better for kids and families with individual users accounts in a family (you can restrict the access on each user account). Our 5 year old is watching a lot of Scooby Doo, Batman (The Brave and Bold), Super Hero Squad, and the Eon Kid.

So…see if your router has timed access. If it does, you can help your child make wise decisions (and get some sleep!) by controlling their access to the Internet on their personal devices.


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