Last week we introduced you to our Parent IoT devices, and we talked about what we were going to be testing. This week, we tested our three different devices. This is the first of three different blog posts. Each discusses what we have learned so far based on the tests we have put each device through.
The first device we tested was the Norton Core and its parental controls. The specific parental controls are website blocking and time filters. With time constraints you can filter how long your child is on the WiFi. It also monitors what time the WiFi will shut off for certain devices, known as “bedtime”. We also tested the filtered content. We were able to block different websites on each account, as well as set a filter level. With the parental controls set, the Norton Core runs through blocked categories to make sure inappropriate websites are not being accessed. Knowing how these parental controls worked, we were ready to test them.
The Parental Controls
With the Norton Core, you can set age restrictions per user and block or allow certain websites. When an age-limit is set, the Core blocks different categories of websites. There is a “blocked category” list. It has 47 different categories and 5 different age filters. You can set the age filter to less than 8-years-old (<8), all the way to no age filter. When the age is filtered to <8, 27 of the 47 categories become blocked. The older the age filter of the device, the less categories get blocked.
The other parental control we tested was time limits. In the app, you can set how many minutes the child gets to use the device. The time ranges from 30 minutes to 24 hours. Another time filter is “bedtime”. With this, you can choose which days of the week you want the bedtime set and what time the filter would be active. You can also have a different bedtime for the weekend versus weekday.
First, we set up three different devices on the network. This was very simple, and when we created the account we included the age filter option and set up a bedtime and time limit for each device. Since we were only testing the categories and devices, we ignored the time limits. We set one device to be <8, and tested three websites per filtered category. We made a spreadsheet to keep track of our data. We tracked what websites we went to, if the Norton Core blocked them, and which category it fell under. Some of the websites got blocked for a different category than what we search. For example, we searched for cult websites and some websites said they were “un-categorized”. Once we finished with <8 categories, we set the device to be 8-11 age filter. We noted which categories became unblocked from <8 age filter.
After we tested the website parental controls, we tested the time controls. We set one device to only allow thirty minutes of time on the internet, and set the bedtime on another device to 3:30 PM on Wednesday. We set these times so we were able to see the results. With the thirty minute limit, we went to different websites and the Norton Core app tracked how many minutes the device had been on. We also had the ability to increase or decrease the time. After thirty minutes, we were not able to search for anything on the device. A warning came up saying the websites would not load. The time filter parental control worked.
After testing time limit, we waited until 3:30 PM to see if the bedtime would work on the other device. When it was 3:30 PM, the device would not load anything. Only the main control device can change the bedtime and get the device back on the network before the next morning. Each parental control we tested worked.
After putting the Norton Core parental controls against many tests, we must say the Norton Core stacked up. The Norton Core blocked most of the websites that warranted questioning under their categories. The Core also made setting the parental controls very easy. It only took three clicks in the app, and immediately changed the controls on the devices.
Next, we are going to put the Security Score to the the test. We want to know how accurate it is and how helpful the security tips are. Finally, we want to know if the security score is important when it comes to protecting an IOT device.
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