Parental Controls

There are certain areas where the most die hard Linux fan realizes their favorite operating system falls short. Running native versions of certain vertical apps is one such area, such as Quicken, QuickBooks, Photoshop, Evernote, or AutoCAD. For certain users, equivalent and alternative software does not match the popular proprietary apps.

There are other areas where this emptiness is challenging to explain, such as parental controls. Windows, Apple, and Android users have had access to such support for many years. When they migrate to a Linux based system they are perplexed by the absence of such support.

Part of the reason is probably philosophical. Developers and users of free/libre software are not friendly toward any kind of censorship. Parental controls sometimes straddles that fence.

Many people agree that teaching children the ways of the world is part of parenting. When children are young they are incapable of understanding the many reasons for human action. Many parents want to protect children during formative years.

While personal education and quality time are major elements in teaching children, there is no reason additional tools can’t play a role. As computers are now mainstream in many homes and children can’t be watched or monitored at all times, there is a natural tendency to want some form of parental controls in computer devices.

Some degree of parental controls is sane and not censorship. Parental controls are a tool.

Eventually children mature to an age and skill level where parental controls are a futile effort and then become a form of censorship and tyranny. Yet few would argue for some nominal parental controls are helpful as a basic tool.

Providing parental controls in Linux based systems is a chore — to some, a nightmare. There is no simple GUI portal for providing such oversight. For example:

  • Duration limits
  • Time of day limits
  • Content filtering

Through the years there have been nominal efforts to create such software. Nothing of the sort became popular, widely used, or popular across all distros.

The recommended approach these days is a combination of software such as squid, dansguardian, hosts files, pam, shell scripts, router configuration, and ACLs.

To the non technical user this approach is unfathomable. To the technical user this approach is unfathomable.

Why are there no widely available Linux parental controls software?

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

Next: Old Computers

Previous: Firefox Autofocus