Your kids are born online, so your parental obligation to keep them safe extends into cyberspace. Considering their understanding of and ability to navigate the digital world will pretty quickly outpace yours, you’re going to want a little help. Your browser’s built-in parental and privacy settings are a good place to start, but they can also be extremely cumbersome; by the time you’ve got them set up, your kids will either have figured out how to disable them, or turned 18. These 5 pieces of hardware will help you establish a secure home network, as secure from bad guys outside as it is from the wandering imaginations of the little guys Googling inside.
TorchAfter a psychologist and CEO mom got so frustrated by her kid’s Minecraft addiction that she literally chucked his iPad out the window, she invented a better way: Torch. The router keeps kids safe online and ensures they don’t spend all their time there through site-blocking and reporting features (what they visit, for how long, data usage, etc.) and automatic shut-off and pause times for bedtime, meals, or when it’s time to play outside for 5 dang minutes — all customizeable per kid and device. It’s also so gorgeous your guests won’t realize it’s a router that’s hiding your questionable search history.
Torch ($99 And Up, Pre-Order)
Cyborg UnplugIf you’re less worried about what your kids are seeing than what might be watching them, Cyborg Unplug will detect and boot unwanted surveillance devices from your wireless network. Whether it’s camera-toting drones or Google Glass-holes you don’t want spying on you, Cyborg Unplug will identify the unwanted intruders, disconnect them, and stop all uploads and streams to and from your system. It’s like a radar detector for your home wireless network, only it’s actually legal and works without you having to change any of your reckless behavior.
Cyborg Unplug ($57 And Up, Pre-Order)
AnonaboxPlugging this little box into your ethernet connection makes your web browsing more (wait for it) anonymous. It works by routing your internet traffic over the Tor network, which, if you’ve never been inside the Matrix, is a group of servers that pass data through a maze of relays, making it hellish for hacker types and big data creeps to trace where it came from or where it’s going. Future products will feature advanced password protections and access to Hide My Ass! VPN encryption services (with a name like that, it’s got to work), but whichever you choose, your family’s online identity and personal information will be substantially safer.
Bitdefender BoxTraffic analysis — the kind that gathers information about sites accessed by your wifi network, not the kind Larry David does with his car persiscope — is the secret sauce behind Box. It learns about every site visited by every “Internet of Things” device on your network, including stuff you didn’t realize needed monitoring like smart TVs and streaming sticks, and protects the whole shebang from malware, phishing, and fake sites.
Bitdefender Box ($200)
Silent PocketWireless devices become instantly undetectable by cellular, GPS, wifi, bluetooth, RFID, and NFC when shrouded in a Silent Pocket — leather-like phone cases, wallets, and bags embedded with shielding technology. That means hackers can’t steal information from your phone while your kid plays Angry Birds for 5 minutes (because screen time is limited, but you’re not a monster). As for protecting your phone from damage inflicted by your kid, that’s a different case altogether.
Silent Pocket ($16 And Up)