Apple's AirPort Extreme offers parent's greater control of and monitoring of their children's Internet use

Apple's new AirPort Extreme Base Station packs a lot of punch in terms of performance, range, and features. A lot of reviews have focused on the amazing performance of the 802.11n that AirPort Extreme offers and the fact that it enables wireless sharing of attached USB hard drives and printers. An interesting feature that hasn't gotten a lot of press but that should be of interest to most parents is hidden in the device's access control settings.

AirPort Extreme includes support for time-based access. This means that you can set it to allow kids to get online only during certain time frames. This is a great feature to offer families who are concerned about what their kids see or who they talk to online. You can elect to allow your kids to get online only during hours that you're home and available to monitor what they're doing.

Not only is time-based access a great tool for parents, Apple's use of it in the base station rather than on a computer means that your kids will still be able to use their computer to do school work or play games when you're not around. It also provides a more complete solution than simply using filtering tools and can be used with all the computers in your house (both Mac and PC). Also by having the setting in the base station rather than on the computer, there's less chance that you might have a child or teenager finding ways to circumvent computer-level tools. The downside, however, is that if you live in an area where there are a number of open wireless networks (such as an apartment building), your kids might simply be able to connect using someone else's network.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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