The trouble with tech upgrades

POSTED ON Apr 27th 2015 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Boys and men, Education, Gadgets and Techology, Homeschool, Life Admin, Motherhood, This modern life

kids playing iPad

Today was a work day. I had planned to start focusing on math facts with the twins. In eight weeks home, their reading is rolling and their handwriting is almost as good as their 9 year old sister’s.

But Calvin woke with fever. He is home and needs a little mom TLC, and Yasha had spent part of the weekend installing our new router.

As I have covered elsewhere, we have tried every type of parental controls avaliable. All are exploitable, and regardless, the best control is still human. So what I have wanted for a long time is just time blackout control, a way to limit their internet access to hours of our choosing. Specifically, we did not want our kids waking at night and watching videos or playing Minecraft into the wee hours.

(We do monitor their history and a few weeks ago Calvin stayed up until 1 am reading the Wikipedia entries for all the major battles fought by Napoleon. We object becuase first, he needs his sleep, and second, there are better sources than Wikipedia.)

Desktops had blackout control, but as people have moved to tablets, that simple limitation was not available. I’ve read bits here and there about how this is harder to do on tablets. As I’m not a programmer, I basically take their word for it, although I don’t see how difficult it is to shut off the wifi or Internet for certain hours. Force it into airplane mode like we set sleep mode. Sure, they could still play Fruit Ninja, but they couldn’t get into online trouble.

Yasha did the research, and found a router that allows us to blackout certain devices from the router side, rather than though the device. So now Yasha and I have high speed, secure access, with storage (like your own personal cloud) and the kids have access for only a few hours a day.

But of course, with technology upgrade comes setup hassles. Either I’m not entering the passwords correctly or we did the block out in reverse—or maybe both—but right now I have no wifi access. Nor does feverish son who wants a little mindless distraction. Like many other households, our TV uses wifi. He hardly knows how to flip channels. He enters queries on YouTube or Netflix.

So whether I trouble shoot the new wifi this morning or I do something that doesn’t require Internet, I will not have the productive day I expected. I might have a different productive day, but not one online. As soon as I finish this, I will move around the house looking for enough bars to post via our phone network.

I see a little twitter and email activity I need to address, I need to Skype with the Kitchen Table @HubDot, and I need to post the Commission to establish a White House Council for Boys and Men video from this weekend, talking boys and men with the Perry camp, but technology is not cooperating. Where’s that Better Off book?


  1. Yasha said:

    For the record, she was not entering the password correctly. And I made it *very* easy for her to remember.

  2. Leslie Loftis said:

    Inconsistent use of capitals across passwords, my dear.

  3. Yasha said:

    Deliberately inconsistent, darling. Some dare call that “security”.

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