Parental Controls Brain Teaser

For those of you that have been through this before, and didn’t fall into the same mental trap that I did, feel free to move on to your next task instead of reading further. Might I suggest Brian Greene’s TED talk “Making Sense of String Theory” or describing the plot of The Big Short to a room full of 6th graders.

I’ll make this quick. My son is 13 and a gamer. He is highly creative as well, making videos of his creations, no-scope 360’s, and other mayhem. He keeps his grades up and helps about the house, so he has earned his recreational time. Still, he will game long past when we go to bed, leading to an unhealthy lack of sleep.

Our Linksys WRT 1200AC is loaded with features. When confronted with this issue, I remembered the Parental Controls that were built into the router, and set up a block schedule that ensured he was winding down at 10PM on a school night, 2am on the weekends.


This looked correct, but on my first Saturday night, while deep in REM state, my son rapped on my door to let me know that he had lost his internet connection at the RIDICULOUS time of midnight. How could this be?

Grumbling and bleary-eyed I shuffled out of bed in my tighty-whiteys, not even bothering to put on pajama bottoms so as to make him feel uncomfortable for disturbing me, since this was clearly something that he did wrong…but was it? Things looked just right when I logged into the router.

The problem was that I was overlooking the fact that each day starts at 12 midnight – and thus my block schedule was incorrect. Once fixed, it looked something like what you see below. Arriving at this simple construct still required a second set of eyes (my wife) the next day to make sure things made sense.


So if you find yourself up in the middle of the night, blaming the hardware or some other technology, remember that human error is more likely the issue.