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  1. #11
    Untangle Ninja jcoehoorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    York, NE


    Quote Originally Posted by atothek View Post
    Looks like Circle can do this kind of filtering and time limiting but not sure how well it works as I've never independently verified.
    Any service that claims to do this is LYING! The information needed to filter this way not available at the network level!.

    As a (non-streaming) example, I could pull up the text of a novel in a web browser and spend all day "online" reading it, where the only information available to the network was the one initial request. Or I could open Facebook in the background, never look at it, but all the background updates and tracking Facebook does would make it look to the network like I goofed off all day.

    Streaming services do a little bit of both: they buffer a lot of the content while you watch, so a two hour movie might not need any additional network traffic after only 90 minutes. This makes it hard to know when to cut things off after they start. And speaking of when they start, the streaming devices are always-on and tend to keep checking in for updates, even if your kids aren't watching. So the only way to know when they start watching is based on the quantity of traffic... and even this is misleading thanks to auto-playing trailers, software and daily content updates, and even just loading all the thumbnails on the browsing page.


    For my own home, my policy with the kids over the summer is to divide the days up into morning and afternoon periods. For each period, they must do a chore (easy to verify) and spend an hour outside (harder, but I have ways).

    During the day, they can exchange one hour outside for a chore in either direction (less chore, more outside, or more outside, less chore), which they often do depending on the weather. Most days they opt for the extra hour outside. They can (and do) also choose to get it all done first thing... because the rule is no screens until it's all done.

    The result is by the time they start watching, they've usually already spent three hours outdoors. If they've done that much, I don't care if they spend the entire rest of the day online. Give the kids responsibilities, and then give them freedom and reward when the responsibilities are accomplished. I know when I was their age we didn't have meaningful internet, and I still often got a lot more than just one or two hours of TV time during the summers.
    Last edited by jcoehoorn; 06-10-2021 at 11:37 AM.
    CMcNaughton likes this.
    Five time Microsoft ASP.Net MVP managing a Lenovo RD330 / E5-2420 / 16GB with Untangle 16.4.1 to protect 500Mbits for ~450 residential college students and associated staff and faculty

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2019


    I had this issues for 15 years when the kids were younger, many devices had "timers" in them like television but since we moved to cable boxes, and streaming devices or built in apps it's impossible to come up with a very good solution to limit screen time other than cutting the power to the display itself. I have a few peanut plugs on my home automation system and I can monitor for higher power draw and start some timers and when those timers hit zero I power off the outlet. But you know kids are smart, they can just plug the TV into another outlet and keep going. Unless Roku and others address this at the hardware level and a account by account basis I don't see a good solution.

  3. #13
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Phoenix, AZ


    I just put my kids on a hard schedule, youtube is only available for two hours a day. It's now known as YouTube time, and taking it away is a very effective lever for shall we say... rapidly modifying their behavior.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2018


    We've got this article: Creating time based access policies

    The goal there is to give a user one hour of internet time per 24-hour period. I've heard mixed results, largely because it relies on tags and tags themselves can be unreliable, but it may work for you?

    You could combine it with quotas — 'move this device into the "no internet" policy after 1 GB' or something like it — but the quota is just one big bucket: there's no way to set up a 'streaming' quota alongside a 'not streaming' quota, for example.

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