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Advanced Parental Controls (Block by Category)

How is Advanced Parental Controls (Block by Category) different from the free version of Parental Controls?
What is the Block by Category feature of Linksys Shield and how do I use it?
What are the different categories and subcategories available to block?
What are the four presets in Block by Category?
How do I customize categories within the age presets?
What will my child see once I've applied Block by Category to their device?
Why does my child still have access to a category I’ve blocked?
Can I access Block by Category from a desktop browser?
How do I know if I have the latest firmware that supports Advance Parental Controls?
 

How is Advanced Parental Controls (Block by Category) different from the free version of Parental Controls?

Linksys Shield is a paid feature that enhances the free Parental Controls (Pause a device, Schedule a pause, and Block sites) with Block by Category, a tool for parents to filter internet content on kids' devices.

What is the Block by Category feature of Linksys Shield and how do I use it?

Block by Category uses technology provided by the international cybersecurity firm Trend Micro™ and provides four age-appropriate filters that can be preset to allow or block categories of internet content.  Each category and its subcategories are fully customizable to meet each family's needs.

Once you apply an age-appropriate preset to a device, your router becomes the gatekeeper of all internet traffic for that device.  When the device tries to connect to a website, the request is checked against Trend Micro’s database of known websites.  Trend Micro sends back two kinds of information:  whether the website is safe (it contains no malicious software and shows no signs of phishing) and a categorization.  If the website is not safe or matches a category that is blocked for that specific device, your router will prevent the connection.  All this happens instantly without slowing down your web browsing.
 
You must be logged in to the Linksys app with your email address to subscribe to Linksys Shield or access its features.  To learn how to subscribe, click
here.
 
Step 1:
Open the Linksys app and tap on Parental Controls from the menu or dashboard. 

Step 2:
On the Parental Controls page, tap on the device you wish to pause. 

NOTE:  Tap on Add a device to initiate parental controls on a specific device.
 
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Step 3:
On the device's detail page, tap Block by Category.
 
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Step 4: 
By default, Block by Category will be Off.  Apply an age preset by tapping the right arrow button to turn the feature On.
 
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Step 5: 
Within each age preset, each category will have a status:  All Blocked, Some Allowed, or All Allowed.  You are free to customize each category.  Tap on the right or left arrow to scroll the filters.  You can also swipe to the left or right to select a filter.
 
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Step 6: 
Tap Save.

What are the different categories and subcategories available to block?
 
  • Culture, Education, Academic:  Arts, Education, Cultural Institutions, For Kids, Reference Material
  • Leisure & Entertainment:  Recreation/Hobbies, Sports, Entertainment, Games, Health, Travel, Vehicles, Humor, Society/Lifestyle, Restaurants/Food
  • News, Business, Tech:  News/Media, Technology/Electronics, Tabloids/Gossip Magazines, Business/Economy, Financial Services, Brokerages/Trading, Real Estate, Job Search/Careers
  • Shopping & Auctions
  • Social, Chat, Search:  Social Networking, Chat/Instant Messaging, Internet Voice Calls, Search Engines/Portals, Translators/Cached Pages, Photo Searches, Email Websites, Blogs/Web Communications, Personal Sites, Newsgroup/Forums
  • Politics, Religion, Military:  Government/Legal, Activist Groups, Politics, Religion, Cult/Occult, Military, Gun Clubs/Hunting
  • Network Bandwidth & Downloads:  Internet Radio and TV, Streaming Media/MP3, Ringtones/Mobile Phone Downloads, Software Downloads, Peer-to-Peer, Proxy Avoidance and Anonymizers, Sharing Services, Web Hosting, Dynamic DNS, Internet Infrastructure
  • Advertisement:  Web Advertisement, Made for AdSense, Pay to Surf
  • Adult Topics:  Adult/Mature Content, Pornography, Nudity, Sex Education, Intimate Apparel/Swimsuit, Tasteless, Alcohol/Tobacco, Marijuana, Illegal Drugs, Illegal/Questionable, Gambling, Violence/Hate/Racism, Weapons, Abortion, Personals/Dating
  • Untested Websites
  • Malicious Websites:  Coin Miners, Scam, Ransomware, Phishing, Spyware, Disease Vector, Potentially Inappropriate, Software, Malware Accomplice, Malicious Domain, Insecure IoT Connection

To find more details on the types of content in the subcategories, click here

What are the four presets in Block by Category?

The four preset filters are: 
 
  • Child (ages 8 and under)
  • Pre-Teen (ages 9–12)
  • Teen (ages 13–17)
  • Adult (ages 18+)

How do I customize categories within the age presets?

Once you’ve chosen a preset, you can block or allow any main content category or its subcategories.
 
  • To change permissions:  Tap the circle located on the left side of the main category.
    • All Allowed
    • All Blocked
  • To see subcategories:  Tap on the main category tile or the number on the right, this is the total number of subcategories in that main category.
  • To allow or block a subcategory:  Tap the circle located on the left side of the subcategory. 
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If you save a mix of blocked and allowed subcategories, the circle next to the main category will change to yellow with a horizontal line in the center indicating Some Allowed.

What will my child see once I've applied Block by Category to their device?

When someone tries to access a website that has been blocked by Linksys Shield’s Block by Category feature, they will see a Website Blocked screen.
 
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Why does my child still have access to a category I’ve blocked?

Monitoring all internet usage isn’t foolproof.  Consider the following when using Block by Category:
 
  • Mobile data
Block by Category works only when devices are connected to your WiFi or via ethernet.  That means Block by Category is ineffective if a device uses mobile data service.  Using VPN or other internet services may also affect the results.
 
  • Apps and games
Block by Category doesn’t block the use of some mobile apps or video games.  It’s best if parents test the apps or games after applying the settings to a device.
 
  • Images
Block by Category doesn’t block images returned in search engine results.  Instead, look for the safe search settings of your child’s device.  You can also block access to search engines directly with website blocking.
 
  • Cached content
Content that has recently been accessed on a device may not be immediately blocked.  Exit and relaunch the device’s web browser or restart the device.
 
Can I access Block by Category from a desktop browser?
 
No.  The Linksys Shield subscription services are only available in the Linksys app.  If you attempt to use the Parental Controls feature through LinksysSmartWiFi.com, you will be directed to use the Linksys app instead.

How do I know if I have the latest firmware that supports Advance Parental Controls?

If you have the latest firmware that supports Advanced Parental Controls and Network Security, your Linksys app will display the following screen:
 
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