FAQ for Internet Parental Controls - WebCurfew

WebCurfew FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

WebCurfew is a web-based internet control service that identifies every internet-enabled device in your home that uses your home internet connection, thereby allowing you to grant or deny individual internet access privileges for every one of those devices.

WebCurfew is for parents who wish to control their kids’ overindulgence of the internet, but are having difficulty enforcing the house rules due to their perpetually accessible internet and the liberties the kids are taking to access it.

You would use WebCurfew if you have more than one computer/device sharing the same high-speed home internet connection and you are seeking a sure-fire way to set clear limits on the internet usage in your home, using rules that your children bypass or disobey.

Because it’s easy to use. It puts you in control of your internet. And it’s free for all parents who just want to put an end to the frustrations that come with your kids’ constant connection. There’s an offline world too, after all. And sometimes, they need to be reminded.

WebCurfew lets you control your home internet from anywhere you have an internet connection. Your pc/laptop at home. Your office computer. Or on the road from your mobile phone.

You can use WebCurfew any time you think your kids shouldn’t be connected. When you’re not home...When they’re supposed to be studying…Late at night... When you want to prohibit internet access for disciplinary reasons... In other words, WebCurfew is the parental tool you can use to control home internet access however you see fit.

Outraged children: temporarily. Home internet peace of mind: permanently.

You can’t put a price on home internet peace of mind. This is why WebCurfew‘s manual service is being offered to parents like you absolutely free – without interruption, and for as long as you have a home internet connection. WebCurfew also offers affordable premium services that include automated timers, taking the manual work out of controlling your home internet connection.

WebCurfew is a web service and like any other website; it does not run on your computers or other devices directly. Rather, with your permission, WebCurfew’s website talks to your home internet, controlling it on your behalf, according to the rules you specify. Think of it as a remote controller for your internet connection.

WebCurfew never accesses the computers and devices that are connected to your internet directly; you never have to worry about infecting your computer with a virus or creating other security liabilities using the service. Moreover, where supported by your home internet infrastructure, WebCurfew always talks to your environment in a highly secured manner using the same encryption techniques that online banks use to ensure that no hackers can listen in and gain access to your home internet.

WebCurfew was created with your privacy in mind. To use the service, we ask you for a username and password to secure your main WebCurfew control panel to prevent your kids logging in and changing your WebCurfew rules. We also ask you for an email address so that we can contact you in the unlikely event that WebCurfew is having difficulty accessing your home internet to carry out your wishes. At no time will we sell or otherwise share your email address with any third party, or otherwise misuse your email address in any way. Take a look our privacy policy to learn just how important your confidentiality is to us.

WebCurfew works by remote controlling your router on your behalf according to your specifications. To do this we require you to turn on your router's "remote management" feature and authorize WebCurfew to access your router by providing your router's username and password. We then manage the interaction to your router securely, based on your interaction with our Control Panel page.

To connect to your router over the internet via remote management, someone would need 4 pieces of information – your IP Address, your remote management port number, your router’ remote management username and your router’s remote management password . Assuming your password is long enough (at least 8 characters) and contains upper & lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation characters, it is virtually impossible to guess it, even using brute force techniques.

Security is of paramount importance for us. We have designed our solution to be as secure as possible. Here are some of the ways we are addressing security: 1) The entire WebCurfew.com website is protected by a "green" SSL certificate, meaning all requests to it are encrypted . The certificate is registered by the DigiCert authority. 2) When you register on our site we will not ask you for any personal information. You are free to register anonymously and even use an anonymous email (as long as it is valid). 3) WebCurfew requires that you provide us your username and password of your router so that we may manage it for you on your behalf. We store this information in our database in encrypted form. 4) Internally we maintain 2 databases - one to keep track of (anonymous) users - (i.e.; username and email), and one to keep track of router instances (i.e.; IP Address, username and password of your router). The two database are linked by an opaque ID so a malicious hacker would need to obtain access to both databases to associate a user's email with a particular router IP Address. 5) When you purchase a WebCurfew premium Timer Subscription we use PayPal as our trusted payment partner. This means that we NEVER see and/or store your credit card or other personal information. Only PayPal sees this information as the entire payment transaction is completed on their site before you are returned to WebCurfew. 6) When we talk to your router we use the router's built-in remote management feature. This would have been the same remote management feature that you use when logging into your router when you are not at home. It is protected by a username and password that you choose. 7) When we talk to routers we use HTTPS protocol whenever the router supports it (yours does ) in order to ensure all communications between our servers and your router are encrypted and can't be intercepted. 8) Our entire system runs in Microsoft's proven cloud platform (Windows Azure) and boasts industry best-practices in all aspects of security - both physical and virtual. 10 years ago virtually nobody trusted using a credit-card over the internet. Today it is commonplace, yet it assumes a degree of trust of the website you are entering it into Being uncomfortable with a 3rd party managing your router on your behalf is an understandable sentiment. Only you can decide whether the benefit WebCurfew would bring you in effectively addressing a potential tech-addiction problem in your home would outweigh that trust issue .

If you don't see all of the devices on your Control Panel that you were expecting, it's most likely because the device is not currently connected to the internet. Wait until you know the device in question is online and then refresh your Control Panel. You should see the device pop on to your network as a Blue Bubble . From then on WebCurfew remembers it in our database and you will see it on your Control Panel every time. You just need to "catch" these devices on the network in this way the first time to record them in our database.

To customize a device's name or image, simply double click the Blue Bubble image on your Control Panel.

To retrieve or change your router's password, click the picture of the router in your Control Panel, and then click the Password section.

It is our strong recommendation that you have a talk with your children and let them know you will now be managing their time on the internet with WebCurfew. Let them know that WebCurfew manages the router for you and that they are not to try and change or otherwise reset the router. Furthermore, under no circumstances do you want to give your children either the username/password to the router, or the username/password to your WebCurfew account. To do so would give them the ability to bypass the blocking services of WebCurfew. Make sure your children know that if they try and reset the router, the WebCurfew service will notify you and you will know about it. If you do not tell them this, then they may decide to go and reset the router when they find their internet is not working. In our experience, tech-savvy children will attempt to reconfigure and/or reset the router if they think they be discovered. Let them know you will be notified by our service if they try this. We want to avoid the router being interfered with if at all possible as it will cause the WebCurfew service to lose contact with it.

If your router is simply unplugged and plugged in again then its configuration (including its remote management settings) is not lost. This would not cause our service to stop working.

There are several reasons that this may have occurred: 1) Your internet service has been temporarily interrupted. 2) Your router has been unplugged. 3) You may have experienced a power failure. Fix: Wait for the power to be resolved. 4) Your router has entered a "stuck" state. Fix: Try power-cycling (i.e.; unplugging and then plugging back in) your router, then attempt to log back into your WebCurfew Control Panel from a computer on your home network to see if the issue has been resolved. 5) Somebody (e.g.; one of your children) has "reset" your router to manufacture defaults - thereby turning off the remote management feature. Fix: You will need to log back into your router and turn back on remote management and set the username and password to the values they were when last WebCurfew was operating properly. 6) Your ISP has pushed a new firmware upgrade to your router which may be incompatible with WebCurfew. Fix: Contact WebCurfew Customer Support if you suspect this has happened. 7) Someone else (perhaps you) have logged into your router directly from a web browser, which will prevent WebCurfew from logging into it (on many routers only one user at a time can be logged into the router). Fix: Close all web browsers directly logged into the router and try to log into your WebCurfew Control Panel once more. 8) Your ISP has changed your internet IP Address and you are NOT a WebCurfew premium subscriber. Fix: Wait until you get home and then try logging into your Control Panel again. WebCurfew should detect the new IP Address and automatically re-establish connection with your router.

In the general case, simply replacing your router will cause WebCurfew to stop working for you. If you wish to replace a router that is currently being managed by WebCurfew with another please contact WebCurfew Customer Support for help with this.

Resetting your router to the manufacturer's default settings, reset all settings (including remote management configuration which is off by default), and WebCurfew would no longer be able to control your router on your behalf. In effect WebCurfew would lose access to your router. However, you would know quickly if this had been done without your knowledge (e.g.; by a child desperate to get on the internet) because the next time you logged into WebCurfew, you would not be able to bring up your Control Panel. Additionally, if you are a premium user and our automated timer was not able to reach your router, you would be notified of this fact via email. To get WebCurfew working again with a router that has been factory reset, log in and turn back on remote management and change the remote management username and password (and Port if applicable) back to what they were the last time WebCurfew was working. Contact customer support if you require assistance.

Needless to say, it is beyond our service's control to physically secure your router from being able to be reset. Two simple ideas that we suggest for physically securing their router are: 1) Lock it in an office or cupboard. 2) Tape over the "reset" mechanism on the back of the router. The former suggestion is the best option; the kids physically can't get to the router. The second option is surprisingly effective since it’s not the ability to reset the router that kids will exploit, it's the ability to reset the router WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT. Most kids will refrain from resetting the router if they know their parent will find out.

Today WebCurfew works only with devices connected with your router. But we are hard at work on a version that will address the 3G/4G/LTE phones out there as well. We fully understand that both sources of internet have to be managed in order to provide a complete solution. When this capability is ready we will be reaching out to customers interested in testing this new feature.

WebCurfew is a website, meaning there is no software to be downloaded. Just visit our website to get started.

There are a few reasons why devices might show up on your router that you do not recognize: 1) Somebody recently visited your home and used your Wi-Fi. 2) Your Wi-Fi is unsecured and a neighbor is accessing it without your permission. 3) Some devices in your home can report multiple network connections - for example a PC that is both wire-connected to your router and wirelessly connected to your Wi-Fi. 4) The device is something you wouldn’t typically think of as using the internet (e.g.; your TV or your VOIP phone).

The timer service is merely a convenience. It is an easier, more time efficient, and more consistent way to manage the home internet usage in your home. It allows you to set up simple time of day rules as to when each device on your Control Panel turns on or off automatically. Once your schedule is set, WebCurfew will maintain it for you so you do not have to manually log into the website to turn devices on or off. Think of it this way....if you only want to use WebCurfew now and again to turn off your kids as, for example, a consequence for misbehaving or not completing their homework, chores, etc., continue to use the "manual" free version. However, if you want to easily ensure a regular and consistent home internet usage policy - i.e.; a "web curfew" similar to your "physical curfew" policy of when your kids are supposed to be at home off the streets, then you will be interested in our premium timer for the convenience and peace of mind it affords. Please also remember, our timer subscription service is absolutely free for one week trial. You need to put your credit card information in to gain access to the timer service, but we don't charge it for one week while you test the service. If you aren't satisfied, simply click the cancel button within the first week and you are never charged, no questions asked.

Unfortunately, there is no way to have different safeguards applied to different devices. The reason is because we work at the DNS level and all your devices use the same DNS Server (ours). What you might like to experiment with however, is the WebSafeguards timer. Here you can block different kinds of content at different times of the day, so for example you could automatically unblock everything at your kids’ bedtimes. Until IP6 is a ubiquitous standard there is no easy way to do filtering at the device level without resorting to downloading and installing software on the individual devices, something we try very hard to avoid with our 100% cloud-based service.

Here are some helpful instructions for how to activate WebSafeguards .

Here are some helpful instructions for how to apply a WebSafeguard .

Here are some helpful instructions for how to create your own custom WebSafeguards .