First up, I was not paid to do this iKydz review. For some time I was in the market for something that would filter Internet traffic, especially when it comes to devices such as tablets used by kids. I did try firewall open source firewall solutions such as pfsense and OPNsense but my conclusion was they were overkill for what I wanted to do. I was also concerned that they required a reasonable spec system to run them and so electricity costs could become a factor.
I first heard of iKydz while driving to work one morning. At the time they were running a Kickstarter campaign as they had just launched their first iKydz device. I backed this campaign and received the device shortly after. However, I had some issues getting it to work with a Huawei Vodafone. The support staff behind iKydz were very helpful and I got a refund as it was not possible to get that early version working with that early iKydz device.
My requirements for a device revolved around filtering and time control. I have 3 kids and they can spend too much time on their tablets. While it is recommended to supervise them when they are on their tablets, this is difficult. As a result, filtering and blocking features are very important.
What is the iKydz home device?
iKydz is an Internet control solution. It lets you apply age-appropriate filters and online schedules to individual devices, all with just a smartphone app. When you purchase it, you receive a device which you plug into your broadband router. Once connected, you change the wifi settings on your kids devices so that they connect to the iKydz system.
Unboxing, Installing & Using The iKydz Home
Earlier this year (2018) I spotted the new variant of the iKydz Home device. I think I was on their email distribution list for their newsletter. This new version addresses one of the big deficiencies of the first device. The new generation has built-in WiFi which allows you to have a separate wifi network and makes it much easier to block sites and applications.
I ordered the device online and got the iKydz Home version which was €99 with €4.50 postage. There is a more powerful iKydz Pro version but I did not need the extra features.
When I received the unit my first impressions were how tiny it is. Not much bigger than a few boxes of matches. You have a power port, Ethernet port, and USB. I was concerned that the lack of a WiFi antenna could mean limited coverage but this is not the case.
While I have not measured power consumption, I am assuming the super small form factor equals lower power draw. WiFi coverage from the unit is up there with what I get from my broadband router. iKydz also sell WiFi extenders on their website but they are a bit expensive at €45.
Installation is very straightforward. You power it up. Connect the Ethernet port to your broadband router or any other switch on your home network. You then download the iKydz App onto your phone. You do need to register an account which you then use to logon to the App.
You need to take each of your children’s devices and connect them to the iKydz Wifi network. Be sure to delete other WiFi networks from their devices or then will figure out a way to bypass the iKydz device.
The little black box is useless in isolation. The main features of the system are exposed through the App. When I received my device, the app looked a bit unfinished. However, it has come on a lot in recent releases and now looks good. The main features I use is filtering and time-based access.
Out of the box, it has automatic blocklists already installed. You can block specific apps separately and I blocked social media sites like Snapchat and games like Fortnite.
The time-based access is a really cool feature. I have mine setup switch off Internet access in the evening and it does not come back on until after school. Weekends have a different schedule. There is also a mealtime button which and temporarily disable the Internet but I don’t use this. I’m sure there are a ton of features that I do not use.
One thing to watch is that when you add a new device you must add it to a filter list if you want to apply custom game\app filters to it.
The video below shows the basic features of the app and looks at the way I have it set up.
iKydz Review – Conclusion
At the current price point of just over €100 including delivery, it is a recommended buy. Small, functions well and regular app updates show that development is continuing. You do need some technical understanding to get it installed but iKydz provide an installation service for €35. According to their website, this setup is done remotely.
To finish I would say that with any filtering product you should not assume it will block all the bad stuff. This applies to expensive firewalls and small devices like iKydz. The Internet is a dynamic place with new websites and apps launching every day. Make sure your children are aware of the dangers of going online and make sure the report anything suspicious to you.