Are your kids online too much? If so, Comcast’s Xfinity broadband service is introducing a new feature to help parents better control when their children can access the web on their various electronic devices.
Comcast is rolling out a new “Downtime Scheduling” mode for the Xfinity xFi service, which lets customers control Wi-Fi access in their homes. Although kids will hate it, the new tool promises to help parents eliminate distractions during dinner, homework time, or upcoming holiday engagements.
“Parents can now set up 30 different screen time schedules per profile, so all the devices a child uses—including tablets, smartphones or gaming consoles—can be paused during family holiday activities, or daily routines like homework, instrument practice, family game night, and more,” the company said in today’s announcement.
The scheduling tool builds on “bedtime mode” in Xfinity xFi, which customers can use via the web portal, mobile app, or via a connected TV. With bedtime mode, parents have been able to automatically pause a child’s access to Wi-Fi on a customizable weekly schedule. Today’s rollout expands the feature to include additional times in the day.
“The xFi bedtime mode feature really resonated with our customers, and we heard from them that they wanted more precision and control in managing their kids’ screen time schedules,” said Xfinity VP Dave Puckett in a statement.
To access the feature, parents can go to the xFi app or portal, and select the profile their child uses to access the home broadband. They can then click “Create a Downtime Schedule.” A new window will appear to let the parent pause the Wi-Fi access during bedtime, homework, dinner, or during a customizable event. The parent can then determine what days of the week the scheduled offline time will go into effect.
Downtime Scheduling will be available free to Xfinity customers who rent gateway equipment from Comcast, which combines an internet/voice modem and Wi-Fi router into one box. In addition to scheduled downtimes, parents can also issue Wi-Fi timeouts to their kids’ devices through the pause feature on xFi as well.