Yes and no. It depends on a wide range of factors, usually the tech-savviness of your parents, the type of router you use, and access to parental control/monitoring apps.
Let’s explore these factors and their effect on whether your parents can see what you search on Wi-Fi.
Tech-savvy parents possess the technical know-how and knowledge of how modern computing, networks, smartphones, and the internet work.
If your parents are tech-savvy, they probably know about various ways that they can use to track your online activities and see what you search on Wi-Fi.
They will invest in appropriate hardware and software, put in place various measures to deter you from accessing some sites, and even give you an already configured phone that tracks your online activities.
Most consumer routers that internet service providers offer to homes are not that powerful. They offer basic functionalities regarding connectivity.
A tech-savvy parent that wants to see what the children are doing online will get a more powerful router.
Modern routers can store logs and even forward them to a set email. These logs contain information about the sites you have visited, such as the IP address, URL, the duration you spent on those sites, related timestamps, and bandwidth used.
A tech-savvy parent will know how to access the logs, do a reverse lookup, and even map the IP addresses to their websites.
Parents with the network technical know-how can go further and use sniffing tools such as packet tracers and WireShark – this is overkill.
Even if your delete your browser history or use incognito mode while surfing the internet, the router will record your browsing history.
Parental control apps offer the most straightforward way your parents can use to see what you search on Wi-Fi and other tons of information regarding what you do with your device.
This includes the calls you make, your texts, places you have been, and how much time you spend on various apps, among other things.
If you suspect your parent knows about this type of software, there’s no need to lie – they already know everything.
Parental control software and apps are not the same. Some only offer basic functionalities, others provide granular control, and others are overly intrusive.
Other than seeing what you have been up to online, parents can use parental control software to restrict what apps you can install on your device, set time limits for apps and internet usage, and get an alert when you try to access restricted websites.
Your parents have the right to control what you can access on the internet, especially when they are trying to protect you from the dangers of the internet.
Other times, they can be overprotective and deprive you of essential things you can learn from the internet.
If this is the case, use the following methods to hide what you search on Wi-Fi from your parents/guardians.
Use another device
Using another device, probably from your older sibling who is not being monitored, to bypass parental control apps.
Your parents will usually ignore the search history from an older sibling even if they track it on the router.
You can also use other devices to browse the internet, such as the smart TV or streaming devices such as Firestick. These devices come with a web browser.
Ensure you cover your tracks after browsing by clearing your history and cookies or even using incognito.
Use another connection
Connect to the internet using another Wi-Fi connection, such as from your friend’s house. However, it would help if you first investigated whether your friend’s parents are tech-savvy enough to monitor their Wi-Fi connections.
Otherwise, you risk being reported to your parents, and they will tighten the noose after the incident.
Use a VPN
If your parents have not restricted what you can install on your device, go ahead and install a VPN.
A VPN is the number one solution for hiding your online activities from prying eyes, including your parents and anyone on the internet. However, avoid free VPNs and go for premium VPNs.
Getting a premium VPN can be a challenging task but not impossible. If you have a cool older sibling or relative, you can do something for them and, in exchange, ask for a VPN subscription.
If you need help picking a VPN, check out our detailed guide on the best VPNs available.
Talk with your parents
Show your parents that you are responsible enough to take care of yourself on matters regarding the internet.
You can also take an interest in computer and internet-related activities. Using this approach, your parents won’t have a reason to restrict what you do online or monitor your activities.
Your parents can see or may not see what you search on Wi-Fi. This depends on the tech-savvy of your parents and the measures they have put in place to monitor your online activities.
Nonetheless, you can hide your Wi-Fi search history and other online activities using the methods described in this article.