Setting up time limits on kid’s devices the smart way

Abdullah Sameer
3 min readJul 21, 2023

How to outsmart your kids getting around your parental time limits

A challenge for many parents is to limit the time they spend on the internet and to make sure the internet is shut off at bedtime. Most routers / internet service providers provide this functionality but it is unfortunately easily overridden.

The problem is that most of these devices identify whose phone it is by “mac address” (which is the phone’s physical hardware identification code) and most phones by default use “randomized MAC addresses” which means that even if you restrict particular devices from accessing the internet for certain hours, their phone will use a different address and get around that limitation.

Sadly they don't usually have a way to do it the other way around, by exclusion rather than inclusion. If they had it so “ONLY so and so device is allowed to use the internet” this wouldn’t be a problem.

Here’s what it looks like on the phones:

What I have here is a method I devised that will eliminate this problem in a two stage solution.

Step 1 — Set up the parents wifi

The first stage is to make sure your primary internet device has the ability to shut off the internet for specific devices at specific times. This wifi should only be used by parents. The kids will not have access to it. This will be called “Device A”

Step 2 — Set up the kids (timed) wifi.

For the second stage, you don’t need a smart wifi device with parental timing controls. Give this to your kids. This could be your Google Nest, your Asus router, or whatever. This will be “Device B”

Step 3 — Time restrict the kids wifi device (Device B)

Log in to your main device (A), and restrict the kids wifi device (B) to the internet automatically every night at a specific time.