You Should Turn Off the Internet—Just for a While

By Chris Blondell

The internet can be a big, scary place.

Of course, the online world is a place of knowledge, communication, collaboration and enlightenment. But it can also be a place of deception, theft, intrusion and so much more. Modern parents play the ultimate balancing act of keeping their kids safe and allowing them their natural progression towards independence.

A Pew study shows that 91 percent of teenagers in the United States have access to the internet via their mobile devices. They can be online anywhere, anytime. For a parent susceptible to worry (and, let’s face it, that’s practically all of them), it can be a major hassle trying to keep kids safe from troubling news, online scams and less-than-productive communication via social media.

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“I think one of the key things is to start the process of discussing online safety with your children at an early age, when they start to do anything that involves the Internet,” said David Emm, senior security researcher at internet security company Kasperky Lab in an interview with The Guardian.

“As they get older and begin to do things independently, widen the circle. For example, if you let them start an account with Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters, help them create a sensible password and explain why they should use different passwords for each account and the possible consequences of not doing so.”

But the issues that stem from internet usage aren’t all dangerous.

Lately, our addiction to anything tech-related can invade otherwise media-free interactions. When was the last time you had a family dinner without anyone glancing at their phones? How many times have you stayed up far too late binging Star Trek on Netflix? Do you feel naked without your mobile device?

The internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So how can parents take more positive control of their families’ internet habits?

Photo courtesy of Comcast

Photo courtesy of Comcast

With XFINITY xFi, a new home network management platform, users have the option to set limits on who has access to their WiFi networks, during which hours of the day.

Parents can see which devices are online, monitor how long they’ve been connected and pause WiFi access for household users, all from any of their connected computers, laptops, televisions and smartphones.

Photo courtesy of Comcast

Photo courtesy of Comcast

If little Timmy is browsing the web when he should be doing math homework, his parents can pull the plug and tell him to get back to work. If it’s dinnertime, anyone can switch off the WiFi to ensure that conversation doesn’t fall victim to smartphone usage.

To put it simply, if you want to limit your time online, you can. You can protect your children, maintain barriers for your teenagers and ensure your family doesn’t get too caught up in the massively addictive online world.

It’s easy to spend hours upon hours staring at a laptop screen, and it’s even easier to be manipulated in a digital world where information is constantly available. Products like xFi make that modern experience a little more manageable.

Let’s all take the initiative to be smarter about our internet usage so we can make the most of our valuable time spent online.

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