Basic Parental Control at Home


I am a happy unifi user using USG, Unifi Switch and APs. Have a synology NAS running Plex and Unifi controller in docker. So basically all no fuzz kinda plug and play set up.

With kids growing up and also to enforce internet usage for myself / mrs; I wish to enable a schedule based parental control set up which simply disables social media, youtube at say 10pm till 10am. Would be great if this set up is device based while everyone is connected to same SSID.

I can see people using disney circle, which seems like a straight forward device and set up, something I like; but I don’t like subscription based services and especially don’t want my network being slowed down.

What are my option?

Many thanks for the assistance

I’m no parent but if I was I wouldn’t allow children onto the internet until they were old enough to join the army !

However, if I were you, the optimal solution would be to create a vlan for children, then you can apply your rules / blockers etc to that vlan while adults can use their common sense on another vlan !

If you had pfsense then it would be easy to block all the crap network-wide with pfblocker, which is what I do.

Alternatively, with the kit you have you might want to investigate pi-hole, it’s been a long time since I used it, there might be lists that you can add to it to block other crap in-addition to ads which was its original purpose.

BTW pfsense also has a schedule feature so you could in principle stop a vlan from accessing the internet based on time.

Obviously if your children are smart they could circumvent your controls by setting up their own VPN.

For sure segment your network otherwise your controls will affect all users.

Given all the crap on the internet I’d be aiming for advanced controls at home as a parent !!

Thank you for response

Content filteration and usage of vlan makes sense. I can use pi-hole or other dns blocking service.

However, the key issue remains i-e time based scheduling of specific filtered content. Same device (my cell) which could access all services during the day, should be unable to access say youtube after 10pm. Or kids laptop which could have access to youtube / wikipedia during the day should only have access to forexample whatsapp in the evening.

Ultimately its about discipline / parenting which is a separate subject altogether but from network, firewall, filtering perspective; any way I can automate it? The closest I have found to achieve this is Circle by Disney.

For my kids I have used ScreenTime to control device access based on a time schedule. Once my oldest had a need for an account I setup a child account through Google Family Link which provides all the controls on devices.

If you are just want a house wide block of youtube, then I would think a time based ipv4 policy would do the trick.

Well if it’s for the children pfsense will do all you want ! Just inspect it in a VM, it has a schedule feature you can define, then call that schedule in your rules.

You can apply that schedule to the whole vlan easily.

With Whatsapp that’s a bit tricky … I manually add all the allowed ports to an alias list including Whatsapp (all other ports are then obviously blocked), so you could go that route but it might be more effort than you are prepared to invest. Then combine your whatsapp port with a schedule.

I’d say doing things by device or IP address will basically be more effort and prone to errors but the vlan will give more precision but might be more effort depending on your knowledge levels.

You can of course punish your children immediately by disabling a vlan rather than by waiting until 22:00 :wink:

Oh just seen that Circle 300$ for life, wow big money for old rope !

I was curious about that Disney Circle, boy they don’t really make it clear how content you don’t want to see is actually blocked.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, I presume you have tested the controls, if you couldn’t find any content that you did not want to view after several hours of trying perhaps it’s worth it, if you are hoping it works, well that might not be the best approach.

pfBlocker has so many lists to block all type of contents, you can see the sites being blocked rather than generic terms.

While I know I am not their target customer I just think that 300$ can be better spent protecting the little children :slight_smile: it can easily cover a modest router, switch and access point.

Haha - I agree - they do ARP spoofing which a regular consumer probably don’t care.

While doing my research also came across

I like PFSense - but want more of a plug and play set up than going through a pfsense passthrough device and having another thing to “manage”.

thank you for the guidance. Really appreciate it.

I have 2 QNAPs and it’s a handy device for files, very good on the Ip camera recording but I have seen their prices go up by c.50% and they are less generous with their “free” licenses or applications. I would not be surprised if these services move to a subscription model … parents are suckers for ponying up the cash for something that will save their children so they’ll be the first hit … caveat emptor … good luck !

Untangle, either as edge router or as transparent bridge does wonders in blocking specific content / applications and etc. per device, or per user. It is however subscription based (US$ 50.00 per year for home use)