I suggest you ...

Ability to restrict access and report by "total time", not "time(s) of day"

Life never runs on a perfectly timed schedule, so setting up the access schedule, like you offer in the 'Custom' option under 'Time Restrictions' section, is completely impractical, at least to me.

All I want is to be able to say, "you have x hours/minutes of online access per day" -- I don't care if it's in the morning, at night or is split into several 10-minute or 15-minute portions throughout the day; I just want an ability to restrict the TOTAL access time. This is the critical one that's forcing me go back to NetNanny (which I don't like, and not just because it's a paid thing.) It also should be fairly easy to add this option (I'm a software developer, so I know what I'm talking about here :-)) -- just add one more option under 'Time Restrictions' section, alongside the already-existing 'Unrestricted', 'NightGuard' and 'Custom'... Maybe call it 'Total Access Limit' or something along those lines...? The interface could be similar to 'NightGuard' one, one dropdown box for hours and the other for minutes (e.g. options for 10-20-30-40-50, or 15-30-45) -- and voila!
Please, please consider this...

Thanks, and keep up the great work!!

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    DEDE shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Indrajit DasIndrajit Das shared a merged idea: Limit surfing time per day for every indiviusal websites......  ·   · 
    BencycleBencycle shared a merged idea: Set limited time a day to access to specific websites  ·   · 
    Marx2000Marx2000 shared a merged idea: set an specific amount of time for a web page  ·   · 
    Torsten MailahnTorsten Mailahn shared a merged idea: Internet Time-Limit with Exceptions (Ports/Apps)  ·   · 
    YannisYannis shared a merged idea: could set total access hours to the internet, on daily basis. for example 3 hours Monday to Friday, 4 hours Saturday and Sunday  ·   · 
    AnnieAnnie shared a merged idea: I would like to limit the hours of usage without limiting the time of the day in blocks. Would like for example allow 1 hour on week days an  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: to have a daily time quota  ·   · 
    FangFang shared a merged idea: Improve the time resteict  ·   · 
    Arthur LeeArthur Lee shared a merged idea: Have reporting function that shows amount of time spent on a site or page  ·   · 
    matzematze shared a merged idea: Time restriction on a certain length  ·   · 
    Sam W.Sam W. shared a merged idea: Time Restriction  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: AMOUNT of time per day  ·   · 
    HeatherHeather shared a merged idea: create a timer to limit total hours online!  ·   · 
    under review  ·  ToonetownAdminToonetown (Admin, K9 Web Protection) responded  · 

    This is actually a great idea, and one that we have considered adding – however, the question arises of how you determine “total time” (programmatically).

    For example, if a person loads up a web page, the time it takes to load is short (just seconds) – but they could spend minutes, or even hours reading that page. How much time would loading that single page count as? What if they load a page, and then step away from their computer (leaving the browser open), and come back 2 hours later. They then read the page for 15 minutes, and click on a link. When the second page is loaded, do we assume that they have been browsing for 2 hours and 15 minutes (because that’s how long it’s been between requests), or how do you calculate?

    This is even complicated more, since many websites (such as Facebook) now use AJAX requests and are constantly updating in the background – without the user’s interaction. If you open Facebook, and step away from the computer for an hour (which should not count as 1 hour “total time”), the traffic would look no different than if you opened Facebook and watched the updates come in for that same hour (which should count as 1 hour “total time”).

    We are completely open to suggestions around this topic. Please post your thoughts and comments. We would love to add this feature at a future time, but are wondering how you, the community, would expect it to behave.

    46 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Some other parental control programs use an "ON/OFF" switch: When the switch is switched to the "ON" position, the internet is enabled and the timer counts down. The switch can be switched off, turning off the internet, and stopping the countdown (which can be useful if you are doing an offline task and want to save your internet allowance).

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If one wants to enable a "net access time" limit, it would be acceptable that the user's quota would be used while the browser is pointed to any remote servers and the screensaver is unlocked. If the user walks away, the screensaver should lock and stop using his quota, but if he's not viewing an open page, he either closes it or gets his quota dinged. That would be the understanding and responsibility of the user.

      • JosephJoseph commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would LOVE this feature! I suggest starting the timer as soon as the page first uploads. If people need to walk away for an hour, they can log out first. It's just like learning to turn off the lights in the room when you walk out of it. People can learn and create a new habit. PLEASE allow a time limit to certain websites be incorporated!!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Suggestion -

        Let's say an admin wanted to restrict internet use on K9 for only 2 hours per day. Any website that is not restricted by category and/or key word that is accessed can be used during that two hours. The TOTAL TIME of 2 hours, however, should be monitored by "computer mouse usage" to check for activity. I mean that somehow K9 should track to see how much a person moves a mouse on the screen during a span of say every couple of minutes. If a mouse is moved the activity time the user moves the mouse counts in the TOTAL TIME of the pre-set 2 hours. If K9 tracks no mouse movement after this span of a few minutes (i.e.: a webpage does not load so the mouse is not used or the user walks away from the computer, etc.), the activity time does not count in the TOTAL TIME of 2 hours.

        What do you think?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think adding the option based on tracking time intervals between page requests would be doable with a disclaimer. Have a window pop up warning that the timer has started with the only way to *Pause* the timer is dosing the browser. (BTW I use mobile & PC so both could use the feature.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here is my simple suggestion for this problem.
        K9 could implement an ON/OFF button on the web interface such that when it is on, the internet is enabled and the time counter is running. When it is OFF, the internet connection is blocked.
        After the specified amount of time has passed, one would no longer be able to enable ON.

      • Donald F. DeWaltDonald F. DeWalt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I guess you deal with strictly internet, I really need the above situation but across my personal network of computers, limiting my kids' total daily time on all computers to a certain amount of time not just internet. Like if one of my kids logs onto one machine plays for an hour and 30 minutes and then logs off with the total time set at two hours, he should only have 30 minutes left when he logs onto the same or a different computer for that day. I would also like to set it up differently for each account. First, I have to figure out how to get all machines using one system wide login. I can set it up where the internet is bridged through one machine to any others.

      • Justin WiebeJustin Wiebe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You could have the ability to log in and out of k9 and time is measured by how long you are logged in

      • Mark YoungMark Young commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Our local library does this. A countdown timer per login would be perfect option and once the allotted time is up the user is sent back to a login screen where a new user is allowed to login and go.

      • EhsanitEhsanit commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Christopher, such extensions are called saving pages as HTML. Or if you're really sneaky, taking a screenshot with the clipping tool.
        There isn't really anything that can be done to prevent that without getting very invasive indeed.

        I really quite like your idea of noting the lifetime of programs that raise web requests. Whether it's compatible with K9 I don't know, but it has a certain elegance to it.
        Two things that would need considering: Some programs aren't really internet users but do "phone home" when they start up to check with a server that they have a properly licensed copy. It's not fair if people eat into their internet time while writing an essay because their word processor managed to convince K9 it uses the internet.
        Secondly, one of the problems toontown mentioned is someone walking away while leaving the browser open. Somehow your solution would need to consider this for every program that counts as an internet-user. The situation is made worse if there's software that uses the internet (I think Steam is an example) and doesn't actually close when you tell it to.

      • ChristopherChristopher commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        PS: In addition to SnagIt you'd need to also block (only while an Internet-connected app is running) any browser extensions or applications that save web pages for later viewing in a proprietary viewer (if such extensions exist).

      • ChristopherChristopher commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here's how I would do it from a programmatic standpoint:

        Identify name and ID of the process making a web request (somehow).

        Whitelist certain applications. Some would need to be pre-approved (e.g. Antivirus updates) and others user-selected (e.g. Instant messaging or apps you missed). You would need to fingerprint/hash the apps at the time of their approval so that kids couldn't name their browser "antivirus.exe".

        Start the clock if the app isn't whitelisted.

        Check every minute if that process ID is running. If it isn't, then stop the clock.

        Consider disabling screen-snapshots / clipboard while timer is running. This would need to include 3rd party software e.g. Snagit.

        Display of web content from local disk (cache or locally saved file) is timed. Basically, if a non-whitelisted app that has ever tried to connect to the Internet (incl. browser or email client) is open, then it's timed.

      • Chris SandbergAdminChris Sandberg (Admin, K9 Web Protection) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You could make each request count for a minimum amount of time, which could maybe be set by the user. So, for example, if the minimum time used per request were 20 minutes, if someone loaded a page it would automatically count for 20 mins. If they load another page within those 20 mins, then the total time used would be pushed up 20 more minutes from that point. Whenever 20 minutes elapses without a new request, then the user is assumed to be offline, and the timer would stop, so the total time used for that session would be the time between the first and last request plus 20 mins, and any new request after that point would count as a new session. You could also use two numbers, one for the minimum amount for any session and one that tacks on a certain amount of time to every session. So, using 30 mins, and 10 mins, if a request were made at 1:00, 2:30 and 2:55, The first request would count as one session of 30 mins (the minimum session length), but the second two would count as another session of 35 min(25 min + 10 min). If another request were made at 3:15, then the second session would be extended to 55 min(45+10). If you have data on user request times you could use the average time between requests to come up with default numbers, or maybe the numbers could be adjusted for each user based on their average time between requests.

      • MOMMOM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would think it would be just when they open a browser to when they close it would be the time they are on the internet. For example my kids open internet explorer and go to disney.com for 20 minutes then close the browser go do something else and come back later to go to nick.com for 45 minutes. they have just used 65 minutes of their internet time for the day. Lets just say I set it to allow for 2 hours a day (which we should be able to open up and add by 15 minute increments for any extra earned time for good behavior good grades being helpful etc). So the kids have 2 hours to start with and used 65 minutes already so they have 55 minutes left to use online for the day. This time is in my opinion is from the time they opened the browser to the time they closed it. If they use their favorites to go from site to site or the search engine to type in where they want to go then the browser remained open and that is their time no matter how long it took for the page to load. Parents can adjust that according to individual needs I would think. If the kids are leaving the browser open and walking away from the computer that is internet time they should be taught early on in life never leave your internet browser open no matter where you are for security purposes. If they lose time on the internet because they left a browser open I guess they learn to close it. Also the time blocks in K9 for restricting access needs to be set to 15 minute intervals because it really is not likely any parent is going to give or take more than 15 minutes of time away from a child and we work with a reward system of 15 minute intervals that we add or subtract which I currently have to do through my router because K9 doesn't have that time frame available for blocking internet.

      • GordonGordon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I presume K9 developers can choose what parts to put client-side and which to put server-side. The timer should tick on the client-side and store securely on the server-side. That would allow awareness of which window or tab is visible along with mouse and keyboard activity related to your window (idle time).
        Beyond that, the child who is careless about walking away or being distracted will not make that mistake often. And the few times they lose out while learning to control their timer won't be the end of the world

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Admin - would it look like facebook is being used even if your browser is open on another tab? Because I've used an extension on google chrome (called WasteNoTime) that restricts usage by amount of time, and if you are on another tab, it doesn't count it. So if you want to step away from the computer, all you have to do is open a new tab, and you're good. I think this would be a good way to configure K9.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        StayFocusd and other browser extensions manage to do this. Perhaps you could look into how they calculate time passed.

        I know that StayFocusd takes note of when you idle. So for example, you load the page, the countdown starts, but the program notices you haven't typed or moved the mouse in 10 minutes, so a window pops up saying "You seem to be idle, we've paused the countdown." If you close the window, you're no longer idle, so the countdown resumes. If you don't close the window, you can't see the content anyway, so the countdown stays paused.

      • Mendasher85Mendasher85 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i think i've seen a different filtering program KidsWatch which i'm pretty sure has this ability to limit TOTAL time

      • EhsanitEhsanit commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Jon, the problem with that suggestion is that it would count the time whatever the person is doing, even if it isn't online. You'll get the situation, the last that any wants, where kids leave writing that essay until the last moment because they quickly learn that they can go on facebook and then do the essay, but not the other way around.

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