Internet-Teenagers and what Ubuntu can do.

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Thu Jan 29 12:19:35 UTC 2009

Hash: SHA1

Vasilis Kalintiris wrote on 28/01/09 03:31:
> I believe that it would be very nice to offer the ability to parents to
> monitor theirs children activity on PCs in a simple and easy way. After
> all Ubuntu is a distribution that offers simplicity and out-of-the-box
> experience to its end users.
> For example we could provide a package with:
> 1) An advanced keylogger
> 2) A report system about the activity of the user (aka child-teen)
> 3) Restricted access to hardcore material
> 4) Logs from Pidgin and other common chat programs
> 5) Irregular - Suspicious filesystem activity notification (hidden folders)

This is one area in which Ubuntu is much less flexible than Windows and
Mac OS X. As you may have realized from the other replies, the sort of
people who gravitate toward Free Software projects usually think
parental controls are either too difficult to implement, or a bad idea,
or both. You can see similar viewpoints on Brainstorm.

The unreliability of blacklist-style Web filtering also clouds
discussion of other parental control mechanisms, such as whitelist
e-mail or IM filtering, time limits, or easy-to-read logs. (For example,
in this thread Brian Curtis recommends that parents "check out the logs
provided in /var/log", without explaining how on earth they would know
how to do that.)

I suggest instead taking up this issue with the companies that sell
computers with Ubuntu on it. If enough customers demand parental control
features, those companies may invest in implementing them, precisely
because they know volunteers won't.

Ubuntu Christian Edition <> and Ubuntu Muslim
Edition <> both include built-in configuration
interfaces for Web filtering. But that's only a small subset (and the
least reliable subset) of what you're looking for, the interfaces are
rather awkward, and the rest of those systems may not be to your taste.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
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