Comcast Launches New WiFi Parental Controls Feature

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Business Wire) – Comcast today launched a new home WiFi parental controls feature that enables parents to set specific time allowances for their child’s daily internet usage at home. The new “Active Time Alerts” feature on the Xfinity xFi platform will notify parents when their child’s WiFi usage on their home network is approaching their allotted time.

A new, nationwide survey of parents found that 92 percent believe their children spend more time on their devices during the summer than any time of the year and nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of parents wish they had a way to turn off their child(ren)’s WiFi access whenever they want.

“This latest xFi feature gives parents more visibility and control over their children’s online activity at home which is especially useful during the summer months, when internet usage spikes,” said Eric Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Internet and Communications Services for Comcast Cable. “With Xfinity xFi, we are giving customers the ability to personalize their home WiFi experience and providing tools that can help solve real-life problems.”

At home, parents can easily set up Active Time Alerts by selecting their child’s profile within the Xfinity xFi app and set specific weekday and weekend time limits across their child’s assigned devices. Once the child is close to reaching the allotted time limit, the parent can choose to receive a push notification, text or email alert and take action: by either extending the time or pausing WiFi access altogether.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has emphasized the importance of limiting children’s device use, warning that excessive screen-time can displace important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, and sleep.

The new survey, commissioned by Comcast and conducted by Wakefield Research, supports the AAP position and also found:

  • Teens are more interested in surfing the internet than ocean waves: On a beach vacation, more than half (56 percent) of parents with teenaged children surveyed believe their child(ren) would rather interact with their devices than surf the ocean waves.
  • Devices are sweeter than candy to kids: 76 percent of parents say their kids are more addicted to their devices than candy.
  • Most parents set rules on device time: 73% of parents say that they put limits on the amount of time that their children or family spends on devices.

Last year, Comcast launched Xfinity xFi, a new way for customers to personalize, troubleshoot, monitor and control their home WiFi, including the ability to instantly pause WiFi connectivity by user or device. The “pause device” feature is the most popular xFi function, with users tapping “pause” about five million times since launch, most often during dinnertime, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The xFi digital dashboard can be accessed via the xFi mobile app (iOS and Android), website and on the TV with the X1 voice remote. xFi is now available to Xfinity Internet customers who rent a compatible Xfinity WiFi device and comes at no extra cost.

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