Raspberry Pi internet kill switch

Control the internet in your home with this handy Raspberry Pi Zero W internet kill switch.

Internet in my home wasn’t really a thing until I was in my late teens, and even then, there wasn’t that much online fun to be had. Not like there is now, with social media and online gaming and the YouTubes.

If I’d had access to the internet of today in my teens, I’m pretty sure I’d have never been off the thing. And that’s where a button like this would have been a godsend for my mother.

Shared by Nick Donaldson on his YouTube account, the Internet Kill Switch is a Raspberry Pi Zero W–powered emergency button that turns off all internet access in the house — perfect for keeping online activities to a reasonable level. Nick explains:

It’s every teenager’s worst nightmare… no WiFi! I built a standalone wireless Internet Kill Switch that lets me turn the internet off whenever I want. A Raspberry Pi Zero W monitors the switch and sends an alert via SSH over WiFi to my firewall, where another script watches for the alert and turns the external interface off or on. I have challenged the boys to hack it…

The Raspberry Pi Zero W sits snug within the button casing and is powered by a battery. And so that the battery can be continuously recharged, the device sits on a wireless charging pad. Hence, the button is juiced up and ready to go at any time.

I can pick it up, walk around at any time, threaten the teenagers, and shut down the internet whenever I want, hahaha!

While internet service providers are starting to roll out smartphone apps that offer similar functionality, we like the physicality of this button.

Great job, Nick! Please don’t turn off our internet.


Chris McNeil avatar

This is a bit of a noob question – what firewall? is it a pi based one?

Julius avatar

It is a kind of security blocking

Chris McNeil avatar

PS i’m interested because it’s a great idea!

Cyber Killer avatar

Not cool. A parent should teach the young to use the net (and games and other forms of entertainment) in reasonable ways. Shutting down the thing will not help anything, that kid will not have access to the ‘fun stuff’ at the moment, but will jump right back whenever an occasion arrives. The whole point should be to teach a young person to not want to spend all their time on the fun, but to have internal discipline to get to work on chores.

Carlos Luna avatar

You’re not getting it… this is not about young people developing discipline, it’s about parents exercising their POWER!!! UNLIMITED POWER!!! :D

Pete avatar

This really seems all in good fun more than a tech enabled punishment / threat thereof. I would have thought this hilarious if my Dad went through the trouble to make a giant red battery powered internet kill switch.

That said, any “good” tool in the hands of a sadistic, messed up parent can cause damage.

My kids and I share this type of goofy sense of humor. Perfect project to have some giggles over.

Michael avatar

My brother once told that on a day when all four of his children ignored calls to come to dinner he just flicked the house main switch off and on again. They were out of their rooms in seconds!

Rotartsi avatar

X-Post from my comment on the YT vid:

Funny story: When my parents would block my ip to incentivize me to go out, I would instead use a raspberry pi as a proxy server (via ssh -D) and connect to the internet. My parents never found out and were mystified by how I was still getting internet. They thought I knew the passcode and kept changing it, but little did they know…

And now I find out that the EXACT same technology is being put to use by the parents… THE TABLES HAVE TURNED!

Steve Williams avatar

Back in the old days of mainframes and dedicated computer rooms, we had a big switch on the wall of the lobby to the computer room, to be hit when everyone had cleared the computer room in the event of a fire. Its function was to shut down power and release the halon into the computer room. So when the fire alarm went off you had to run for the exit!

Benjamin Grant avatar

Pretty much this will only work on a custom router or firewall. All UK provided routers that are retail (non business) are usually embedded platforms that give you zero access. Most are now custom kit.

As said in this blog, sky have it rolled out on an app, BT are designing something similar.

you could add this into the chain but kids can easily bypass it. The script would have to re apply itself upon reboot as well.

great idea, just not easy to implement with kids knowing how to bypass it easily.

wh7qq avatar

I can’t speak to the UK situation here but routers purchased by the user, unless really junky, have “Parental Controls” or something of the sort that allows turning off the internet during certain times and to certain IP’s or MAC’s on the LAN. I think it requires making sure that the ISP provided wifi radio is turned off and that may be a problem for some modem/router combinations. I would not want my ISP inside my LAN (although they would be bored to tears unless they wanted to rip my personal data) just on principle. It’s like giving your house key to a total stranger. This means you must buy, install and maintain a separate router to plug in downstream from the modem but it is the same as putting deadbolts on your outside doors…basic protection, and about the same cost as the RPi, battery pack, case, etc..

Peter Panagi avatar

This can already be done for any half-savvy parent using the in-built windows 10 controls. Just set the time for computer usage. Just type parental controls in the search bar and take it from there. This is fine as long as your child does not have administrator rights. I don’t know whether this exists for Apple but I suspect that it does.

jack burton avatar

I lucked out ! when the internet first became available i was the adult in the house ,and then the Pi came ,, along all these years later ,i’m still addicted ,,,,, to 2 things ,,,,,
” Pi on people “

lissa Wills avatar


Comments are closed