[Nottingham] Child safe Ubuntu

Joshua Lock incandescant at gmail.com
Thu May 23 21:08:49 UTC 2013

Hi Ron,

On May 23, 2013, at 1:28 PM, Ron Wilton <ron_w_add at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Is there any good software to make it safe for children to use the internet on Ubuntu?

You haven't been very clear on what you mean by safe so I shall answer your question by assuming you mean that you wish to prevent children from accessing undesirable web sites.

Ubuntu has a page listing some of the available solutions[1] but the sad reality is that this is an extremely difficult thing to achieve.

The internet is growing at such a rate that even corporations who make money from such software are unable to keep up, they tend to get by with some heuristics and having a large number of staff who can manually add sites to (and remove them from) any [black|grey|white] lists.

For young children I'd recommend setting up something which prevents access to all but a set of manually configured and verified sites, for older children (or if you wish to enable more of the internet) it seems the only thing one can do is educate on responsible use of the internet.

Gnome Nanny[2] should let you do the former and is available in Ubuntu, but sadly seems unmaintained so may not be as smooth a solution as one might like.

In tandem you might like to set up some software which restricts the hours of the day/amount of time the internet can be accessed from the children's account/machine - if I recall correctly Linus Torvalds wrote some software to achieve just that some years back and I'm sure there are other solutions available.

Caveat emptor: I am not a parent, I merely did some research into this area for my undergraduate thesis ~6 years ago

Good luck,


1. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ParentalControls
2. http://projects.gnome.org/nanny/

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