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The new workday: Juggling kids and work while keeping your network safe

Trend Micro's Home Network Security helps keep your family safe from online threats and helps you manage an increasingly important home network.

Life in 2020

Life in late 2020 is a whole lot different than we expected it to be when the year began. Working from home wasn't widespread before the pandemic, now some estimates put it as high as 62 percent. Millions of students are also at home full-time, learning via their glowing screens.

And here's something to think about: Pew Research reports that for the first time since the Great Depression, most adults under 30 now live with their parents.

The new normal has put a strain on home networks and productivity. Zoom and other video conferencing applications require upload bandwidth that's on par with download, which isn't always a given.

working from home

A recent ZDNet article discusses how the pandemic has changed our at-home networking requirements considerably. In the past, upload bandwidth had been required by so few people that most broadband providers didn't even mention it in their offerings. Today, it's common for every member of a household to participate in video conferences simultaneously, struggling to make do with limited upload bandwidth.

Another challenge: When kids are in physical classrooms, they're supervised during online activities. When kids and adults are all telecommuting, it's hard to be sure what the kids are up to online.

If running the home network, managing bandwidth, tweaking everyone's mobile device settings, and keeping them safe online was a challenge before, now it's really starting to feel like a full-time job. But it doesn't have to be.

Home Network Security (HNS)

Trend Micro's Home Network Security station, a small box that plugs into your network, can help keep you safe (and sane).

Setup is simple. Plug one cable into the wall, plug another into your router, download an app, and you'll have what is essentially a digital crossing guard helping you create order out of chaos by deciding what is allowed to run on the network and what's blocked.

Parental controls

HNS comes complete with a wide range of parental controls. You can set up profiles in the app for individual family members, assign devices to those profiles, and choose different rules and restrictions appropriate to each.

You can limit kids to using Google's SafeSearch mode, for example, and set YouTube's Restricted mode to filter out mature content. You can even block entire categories of Web sites.

You can also choose the times of day during which individual household members can go online, and determine how much time they can spend there. That includes video game consoles, too. You may allow, for example, an hour of gaming, but set the overall online time to three hours so everyone has help balancing work and play.

smart home

These safeguards aren't just limited to people at home, either. You can install Trend Micro Guardian on their phones, so you can be alerted to and prevent unsafe behavior online - even when they're far away from your network.

Bandwidth management

Getting a full picture of network usage is difficult and complex. But HNS makes it simple, with a few intuitive screens you can navigate in the app that show you how much bandwidth your household uses and which devices and activities are hogging it. You can see how much bandwidth is used by updates, backups, cloud sync photo uploads, and automatic processes on devices you may have forgotten about.

If you're trying to ration bandwidth so everyone has what they need during work and classroom hours, you can set up HNS to block any non-essential services and activities during those hours.

For example, you can block traffic to smart TVs before 7 p.m., or block video game consoles until 5 p.m. You can also shut down Internet access for everyone after midnight, so everyone goes to bed instead of binge-watching Star Trek for the fourth time this season.

Here's what may be the most satisfying feature parents can employ: HNS integrates with Google Home and Alexa, so with a simple command of "Alexa, turn Bobby off," all of Bobby's Internet access can be blocked until you turn it back on.

Easy, understandable, deep power

Easy and understandable

Isn't it about time for you to gain deep, powerful control over your network, sculpt usage patterns to fit your needs, protect your family from outside harm, and keep everyone on track and balanced during these unusual times?

Even if social distancing requirements mean that you can't bring helpers into the house or send your kids off to school, HNS can be the robotic guardian that looks out for you and yours, every day.

To learn more about Trend Micro Home Network Security, click here.