When there is a lot of screens at home and you have kids, sooner or later there comes the need for parental controls for internet. For computer, you can simply install program for this purpose or use integrated Apple parental controls. With phones or tablets situation is a little bit complicated. And in smart home, depending on always on Wi-Fi you can’t simply turn off router or change Wi-Fi password when you want to turn off internet for kids. There are some routers with integrated parental controls. And it seems in the future such functionality will be standard.
While searching for simple parental controls solution for Wi-Fi, I have found, that Mikrotik is also working on it. Unexpected. Looks like Mikrotik have plans to be not only corporate world router but want to find way for home usage.
Mikrotik calls this feature Kid Control and it is in beta now. To get this feature you have to upgrade Mikrotik firmware to newest Release Candidate firmware. From my experience, Mikrotik RC versions is stable for home usage. To upgrade to newest release candidate version, connect to Mikrotik by Winbox and go to System -> Packages. Click on Check for updates and in channel drop down menu, select release candidate.
After selecting release candidate channel click Download & Install
After this, router will download, install and automatically reboot to new firmware.
Now you can find Kid Control in IP section. For now, it has two tabs. Kids and Devices.
In Kids tab open new entry window by pressing + sign. In new windows enter kid name and for each day of the week enter time at which kid can use internet. Outside window of specified time internet will not work. If there is the need, you can rate the browsing speed of internet for specific hours at “Rate limit” and “Time for rate limited” sections.
After this, at devices tab enter devices which kid use mac address. For reason you can’t choose from the list of founded devices here. You have to enter it manual and assign to kid specified earlier. You can assign as many devices to one kid as needed.
If you need to pause internet for kid out of scheduled time, open Kids tab from kid control, select kid and click Pause – the internet at kid’s devices will stop. To resume internet, just press Resume.
It is very simple internet access control. All it does – when out of allowed access hours or pause is pressed Mikrotik creates dynamic firewall rules for dropping all request from IP address of specified devices.
After reading some post at Mikrotik forums, it seems that Mikrotik has plans to evolve this feature to more robust solution. There could be internet blocking for specific apps or sites. Someone is even talking about app for managing this kid control feature. Waiting to see how it evolves.