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Need advice - parental control for screen time


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7 replies to this topic

#1 xtc4

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:26 AM

Forgive me: I am stupid about computers. I have been researching parental controls on my own and can't find anything simple enough for me to understand and cheap (preferably free!). So I got that excuse out of the way.

 

I'd like to limit my daughter to a couple of hours of screen time per day. I'd much rather do this with a program that keeps track of her screen time, rather than through a set schedule. She uses both an ipad and a pc laptop, and I'd like to limit both.

 

For the laptop, I've been using the parental control through McAfee. But it doesn't work well because (1) it only applies to the laptop, not the ipad; (2) it doesn't keep track of screen time, but requires me to set and constantly change the schedule; (3) it is prone to glitches (e.g., it may let her go beyond the schedule if the computer has not been restarted in a while).

 

I thought that I would find something really simple and cheap to limit screen time. But I am just not finding it. Help. Thanks guys.


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#2 Nismo2016

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:17 AM

Try here:http://www.toptenrev...ntrol-software/

 

Looks like it would be a software purchase...

 

I know for tablets and smartphone apps are a plenty...

 

Here are some just for the browsers...http://www.makeuseof...ne-screen-time/

 

Good luck and keep us posted.I try to limit O's time on the devices. She got hooked on them from all the stays at the hospital and time away from school... but now that the weather is better we are slowly weaning her off.


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#3 Bombaybacon

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:21 AM

If you are up for a hardware purchase, there is Luma. https://lumahome.com/

 

It is billed as surround wifi, so it amplifies the signal around your house. But it has 2 parental controls that I like. Each device that is on the network is tracked and can be assigned to a person. The person has limits of "internet" time that can be set. So if you only want your child to have 2 hours a day, it disconnects from the internet after 2 hours of use. Luma can also limit the hours that the internet is available. So for my oldest son, his internet turns off at 10pm then starts back up at 7am. So he knows not to start a game on his Xbox a couple of minutes before 10. 

 

There are some flaws to it though. When they go over the time limit, it doesn't turn off the device so they can still use the device for games/apps that don't use the internet. But most of the stuff they do is on the internet so it does work in that sense. Also, my son will use his data for his cell phone in the off hours. But that means he is using his data which he knows not to go over. 

 

Oh, and you can tun off the internet at any time from anywhere for any person or any device via the app. Which can be fun and cruel. 

 

I got mine for about $300. So it does cost a bit, however, I don't have to rent the modem or pay for "home wifi" from Time Warner. So it will pay for itself after a couple years. 


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#4 bergsteiger

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:16 PM

My grandpa's method was simple. If the sun was out, he kicked me out of the house and said go play (well there may have been plenty of chores involved too, but you get the picture).


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#5 wtfovr

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:00 AM

This probably won't work for you, (only because you stated you're not computer savvy) but my kid only uses the internet when we (parents) are at home with him. He has a Nintendo 3ds, iPhone, and iPad and a desktop computer.

We have wifi for the house, but none of his devices access the wifi as it doesn't have the password for the wifi. I set up a raspberry pi to act as a repeater for the house wifi and the raspberry pi creates a separate wifi network that is strictly for him. His devices access the internet through the raspberry pi. When he's allowed to use the internet, we turn on the raspberry pi and he can connect to the internet to do what he wants. When his time is up, then the raspberry pi is turned off and he no longer has access to the internet. He still has his iPhone, but the iPhone is locked down to work only as a phone, he can't surf the internet or play any games and can only text people in his contact list.

It requires a little but of tinkering with Linux to set it up this way but it's only $30 for the pi and $5 for the SD card.

For the nontech savvy, You can probably set up a similar system by getting another access point to create a separate wifi network off your primary wifi network. Or set up a guest network for your kid to use that is separate from the network you and your wife use. And turn it on or off as you see fit.
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#6 serf

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:03 AM

My dev friend used ourpact on his kids phone.It worked for a while, but then we found his tween son looking at adult content over the weekend.


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#7 xtc4

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 09:34 PM

Thanks for all the advice. So here's what I finally did. I am using the parental control that comes with the Verizon router. It doesn't track screen time and doesn't differentiate between users. It simply shuts the internet off on a set schedule for any device using the router. Nevertheless, while the control is crude, it is free, simple, and works perfectly.


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#8 HauntedTank

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 09:31 AM

I like your solution probably what I would go for as there needs ot be some trust, my wife tells me this when I mention sewing tracking devices into our sons clothes :)


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