Mossberg’s Mailbox

Limiting Wi-Fi Access Per Child

Published on June 11, 2013
by Walt Mossberg

Q:

We have four children. They have a combination of desktops, laptops, tablet and smartphones. How can I limit Wi-Fi Internet access time by child across all of these devices?

A:

I have never tested this, but various Wi-Fi routers have parental control settings built right in. Some of these controls claim to filter out unsuitable content and others also offer the option of timing the access for various devices, or “clients” in tech jargon, on the network. Your current router may even have these features. To use them, you have to use software that came with the router, or access the router’s settings via a Web page. Your router’s instructions should tell you how to do this. You may also have to know something called the “MAC” address for each device, a unique identifier that would allow you to set different time limits for each. Sometimes this is called the “Wi-Fi address.” Asus, for instance, has parental controls like this on its routers. Here’s what they look like.

Q:

I bought a Nexus 7 last year and have purchased a few books from Google Play. I find reading to be a problem because of the reflective glare on the screen. I have read good reviews on the new Kobo Aura HD. My question is: If I buy a dedicated e-reader like the Kobo or Kindle, will I be trapped into a specific book market? Will I be able to transfer books from Google Play to the Kobo Aura HD?

A:

There are technical workarounds that allow you to “sideload” books manually onto e-readers like the Kobo or Kindle, though I’m not certain your Google Play books would be transferable in that manner. However, the basic answer to your question is that, unlike general-purpose tablets that can have reader apps from many online bookstores, dedicated e-readers are linked to specific book stores online.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.

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