As a busy family with growing kids, our lives have become more and more like many others’ – dependent on technology and devices.
I myself spend most of my working time at a computer – primarily between blogging, social media and emails. (And if I’m not working at a computer, I’m on it regularly to keep in touch with friends and family, or just shop for awesome deals…)
As a student, my husband has his classwork. And the kids – well, they’re at that age when they can use a computer to find things, play games, and watch YouTube videos about ridiculous stuff (you know what I mean).
All of this means either fighting for time at the computer (“Kids, you’ve spent enough time watching videos about kids playing with toys – play with your own!”), or each of us just getting our own.
My 6-year-old son is too young to have his own device, but my 9-year-old daughter is getting to that age when she’s starting to ask for her own phone. We’re not getting her one yet, but I do occasionally let her use my old phone, which still works for online surfing on our wi-fi network.
But between our kids using our computer and old phone, we’re always concerned about what they might be exposed to, and how long they’re spending on a computer or phone.
We’ve had Comcast’s Xfinity Cable and Internet service for years. I’ve always been happy with them, but now they have a new feature that makes me an even more satisfied customer. They’ve offered parental controls as long as I’ve been a customer, and now they’ve brought these features – and more – to a new web portal that’s super easy and convenient to use.
This new web portal is called Xfinity xFi. Basically, you use it to control any device on your WiFi network with just the click of a button. You can set parental controls to keep your kids off of inappropriate sites, and you even can control their WiFi access, turning it on and off whenever you want.
If you have Xfinity WiFi, it’s automatically included at no additional cost. Xfinity xFi is available for both desktop and mobile devices. You can access it via your account and via the free xFi app on your phone or other mobile device.
I access it from both a regular desktop or from my phone.
In the free app, you just enter your login and password info once to get set up, and then you can do all kinds of cool things in just seconds!
The app will show your network(s) and any devices on the network. Our main computer is “Household” and we can easily view activity levels. We can also pause Internet access to the computer. It’s LITERALLY like using your phone like a remote control to turn access on and off for each device!
Here are some actual screenshots from my phone:
If you want to create profiles for each member of your family, just click on “Create New Profile” for each person, put in a name and choose an icon for each person. Super easy.
For our daughter, we can assign a device that she uses to her to track and monitor her usage (actual phone names covered up).
The Parental Controls are the easiest thing ever – just turn on to limit access to appropriate sites.
Here’s what happened when I turned on parental controls and went to a dating site:
What I really like is that anytime I want, I can go in and pause a device!
Here are 3 scenarios that this is super helpful:
- If I’m away from home and I forgot to logoff the computer, I can check on my phone if someone at our house is using the computer and immediately pause access so they can’t use it at all. This is helpful for if you have a babysitter or any concern about your kids using the computer when they’re not supposed to.
- If it’s homework or dinner time, it’s easy to just turn off access so family time is family time!
- If you are up late, you can check if your teenager is secretly on their phone texting or doing something else. If they’re on it, you can easily cancel access.
Here’s a real-life, useful example of what it looks like. If someone in your family was trying to go to Snapchat but their device was paused, here’s what they see:
This feature is SO awesome to me, as a parent. I see so much value in it no matter what ages your kids are.
No worries about taking away a phone or iPad. Just pause Wi-Fi access by device or user (and get your child back – haha)!
Here are things you can do with Xfinity xFi:
- Set up your home Wi-Fi network
- Find your password
- Check what devices are connected
- Do troubleshooting
- Set parental controls
- Pause Wi-Fi access
There are 3 ways to access Xfinity xfi:
- Phone or mobile device
- TV (Say “show me devices” into the X1 voice remote and see results on the biggest screen in the home)
Remember, it’s all FREE with your Xfinity account!
Learn more on their website here: https://www.xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/wifi
(This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Comcast/Xfinity. All opinions are 100% mine.)