I have kubuntu installed on my son’s computer and I am missing a decent parental control panel in the system settings.
It becomes important to have some sort of parental control or oversight on the desktop usage, internet usage and also adding screen time limits etc. it also will help in having some sort of restrictions in discovers for installing apps. Having age ratings for the apps etc. Having said that I know these all sound like restrictions but the app can also be about informing the parents about various thins or beter informing the child too about the pros and cons of various things.
This app can be on desktop as well as on plasma mobile
This is not necessary, because any effective parental control mechanism would require the child not having root privileges. Otherwise, a child with root access could disable it. Without root privileges, it is impossible to install software anyway (except in the user’s home directory).
I think discover allows users to install apps even when they do not have root privileges, I am guessing via polkit. Some parents might not want their 5 year old having root privileges or the power to install apps.
In general I do not know the technical details or some of the ideas of what should be allowed and what should not be allowed or what is possible technically and what is not needs to be figured out. But it would be good to have some sort of parental control app that is my request.
I do not know what policy kubuntu has by default, but my son can install app by putting his login password. And his account is not an administrator account.
As I said installing/uninstalling apps is one of the actions that can be under parental control. It is not the main highlight of my request. I would not make it the main discussion point here. Also I do not know how things work for installation too as I have highlighted in my previous comment.
I would mainly need some for of moderation for internet websites and also some form of settings for usage time etc.
In general there is no parental control app or setting in plasma.
There is one example of parental control app on linux
A few years ago I tried to find some solution to control content, screen time and apps for children. And now I can’t say that it was at a completely right way
My children didn’t have root permissions, and they couldn’t install any apps from package manager, but they found a solution – AppImage
When I disable this – they found an ability to run some applications from browser.
Then I switched from Firefox to Chrome with Google Family link, which gives me ability to control Android device and content into the browser. But they won again – you can simply change a profile of browser to guest with no restrictions.
It was an interesting war, but I am failed. And currently I’m using only a DNS with some restrictions of content and time to time tell them something about cybersecurity, trying to suggest interesting content and so on.
I can understand this battle and I fully know that this situation should not be a “war”. We should talk to children and come to an understanding. The more we restrict the more curious children will be. I do not wish to restrict things all the time. I only wish to restrict things until we have that talk and go through the pros and cons of the particular app or website.
I also understand that as children grow and know how to operate the computer they will find a way to circumvent these things. But that is when they are grown up in that scenario you can talk to them and make them choose wisely.
A really small child like a 5 to 6 year old can’t circumvent things by changing browser profile etc, so having some sort of control in early years is good.
So you are saying there is no need for parental control settings? I’ll take a look at password thing you mentioned, his password is not same as root password root is disabled on the machine. The child’s account is not in suoders too. Nevertheless I will check this thing again on fresh install and confirm if it is my setup which has issue.
The concept of harmful apps is broad. Any app can be harmful in its own way. I can restrict YouTube through one browser addon what if the child installs another browser? What if the child installs some YouTube client?
What if child installs some disk cleaning app like bleachbit or duplicate finding app and deletes some important files through it. What if the child opens disk utility and erases the disk? There are many apps which can do harm. It is not just about installing an app. I don’t know why we are stuck on the installing part in this discussion.
There can be age ratings and then discover can restrict showing some apps to account based on age. There can be many different things in parental control domain.
Parental control should also have ability to restrict opening of some apps and also restrict some actions. You can check out google’s parental control app. It is not the best but you will get an idea.
I started my experiments when my children was 5 and 8, and they did all these things. Of course, I don’t suggest to give children root privileges. So without root they can make something harmful with files in their home directory only. But it is not a specific “parent control” function I gues.
Currently, as I wrote above, I use DNS with some content filters on my home router and Google Family Link (google parent control) for android devices.
“Safe” DNS resolve all common cases with non-child content for me. This solution doesn’t depend on browser or device.
Well the name can be anything. If you like to call it computer control then great call it that. I don’t think we need to be this combative in the discussion. If you think my request is nonsense and unreasonable then no problem. It is not just either you have a computer or not kind of a scenario thanks for your suggestions and help.
As one feature, Yes I wish for application whitelist setting so that terminal or any app which is not suitable for an account can be hidden.
@emp74ark can the website restrictions be handled in the system settings with a gui?
But for the website restrictions, it’s a bit more complicated. You can technically remove access to some website by mapping some domain in /etc/hosts to 0.0.0.0 but it’s more like a blocklist than an allowlist.
Yeah children will find a way. That is why I said we need to also talk to them and discuss these things in addition to these settings. These settings mean only to help and aid the parent.
There are many things children can do and learn. For example children can shoot with a gun too so should we keep the loaded gun in a place where children can access it? Children can also drink various things which can harm them, should we keep such substances in the house where they can reach it. Children can do a lot of things if the parent do not moderate Merely because these things can be broken or overcome that doesn’t negate the need for the settings. Just because a lock can be picked do we discard the lock and keep the door open while we leave the house?
I find it interesting to see such aversion to simple settings which can help parents. The responses are also very dismissive and combative. May be linux is just for the tech and devs and not for normal people.
Is kiosk a good user experience for the children, is it easily enabled or disabled via a settings. I do not want to edit configuration to enable or disable these things.
There’s this library called malcontent that is what GNOME uses under the hood for parental controls. I think we just don’t have integration with it on Plasma, probably lack of demand + nobody implemented this just yet.
I could imagine the functionality being really tricky, especially since the “dream state” of it would venture into other applications’ functions, like interacting with browser restrictions or media players, potentially…is it too crazy to think that a solution to this could also be interacted with via KDE Connect, so that the parent/person in charge wouldn’t need to necessarily handle the physical device in order to approve or monitor activities?
And @raghukamath , I am 100% with you on the target group for this - I’m thinking of my younger child, age 6, who is just getting familiar with things beyond basic tablets - he and his big sister have a shared Kubuntu laptop and a shared Chromebook, and especially given his limited reading skills it’s a bit of peace of mind to know that if I’m pulled away for a bit, there are some guardrails to help make sure he doesn’t veer too far off track.