Program to limit access to website and time spent there?
February 27, 2015 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Looking for parental controls for to set daily timers for specific websites.

Trying to remove the temptation to linger at websites that suck up too much of my kids' time. Their schedules vary day to day, so an allotment timer is needed. Blocking social sites during specific hours of the day changes on the fly and is therefore too burdensome. Is it possible to have the following example in a Windows PC /wireless router environment?

Computer A: Parent. Controls to timers and sites from here. Prefer to use web program, but download is fine.
Computer B: Access to all content except 15 minutes of Facebook and 30 minutes of Google Plus during 7a.m. to 6p.m.
I'm willing to make it 30 minutes of Facebook and 60 minutes of Google Plus a day, with no hours specified.
Computer C: Access to all content. No internet access 5 days: 10p.m. to 6a.m. and 2 days: 1a.m. to 7a.m.
Computers D-F: Unaffected

What I've tried: Actiontec Router Parent Control, Microsoft Family Safety, Net Nanny, OpenDNS.
Actiontec has some options, but they don't work. Blocks but not others like nor URL keyword facebook.
Windows Family Safety has no internet controls.
OpenDNS affects all household devices. I don't see a way to limit access to certain computers.
Net Nanny comes close, but I don't see a way to limit Kid B Computer to just 15 minutes of facebook a day during the hours of 7a.m. and 6p.m.

While we appreciate anything can be circumvented, assume good faith and communication for all of us. I'm not looking for behavior modification advice. We're just trying to move the Doritos off the table and back into the cupboard.

I'm willing to pay and have access to install on all devices. I have medium level ability and can get into the router, but don't have/want to create a server or some such.
posted by Feisty to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You can use StayFocusd to limit your total time on blacklisted sites per day, if they're sticking to Chrome. I believe it only gives you X amount of time (which you set) for all the sites on blacklist, but you could easily list Google Plus and Facebook both to 45 minutes period. The Internet would be otherwise unaffected. You can also block the internet entirely or block it except for whitelisted sites for any given amount of time you set it to fairly easily.

Not sure if that's a remotely controllable system, though.
posted by sciatrix at 7:46 PM on February 27, 2015

Yeah, was going to say StayFocusd as well. Though it's fairly easy to bypass (by using another browser) and change the settings. Its audience is more people who are looking for help maintaining self control.
posted by waninggibbon at 7:53 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

circle is what you're looking for!
posted by colorproof at 8:28 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

LeechBlock allows you to control time blocks and total time allowed on different days of the week for different websites. It's only for Firefox, though.
posted by wrabbit at 9:49 PM on February 27, 2015

+1 for StayFocused on Chrome. I love it. It gives me the most control. Either delete the other browsers from your computer or use WasteNoTime to entirely block Safari and LeechBlock to block Firefox as wrabbit pointed out. That should cover you. To shut down the internet entirely Freedom is awesome.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 3:56 AM on February 28, 2015

Thank you for the input. In the end, it was a toss-up.

Net Nanny
Pro: Loads of blacklist categories, blocks Google+ notifications, easy for user to request access to sites and for manager to grant/deny.
Con: Doesn't have time allowances for specific websites, subscription based.

Pro: Time allowances for specific websites (10 minutes of Facebook a day w/ countdown timer. Timer is stopped when page is closed), programs/applications can be time limited or blocked, responsive customer support.
Con: Ready-made blacklist is limited to pornography. Does not block Google+ Notifications (social communication) unless the entire is blocked.

Once installed on the device, both services offer remote management and are device specific versus browser specific.

Went with NetAddictFree Gold version as the perpetual license was cheaper than a year's subscription to Net Nanny.

This Ask Metafilter Whitelist Question a couple weeks later, included Crocosaurus' solution of using 2 routers and OpenDNS. I think this would work well too.

Circle does seem to have everything I want. That it's a $99 Beta and currently limited to iOS app, will have me waiting until general release.
posted by Feisty at 12:52 PM on March 18, 2015

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