Can Firewalla limit kid's activities like gaming/video to a number of hours per day?

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    David McCarty

    "What this is asking is to aggregate the time spent on certain activity (e.g. gaming), and set limit for it over certain period (e.g. throughout a day or week)."

    Correct.  Circle already does this and it works well enough.

    It doesn't need to be perfect, but if someone is streaming videos, it should be pretty obvious when they are actively doing it because there is a steady stream of data coming from YouTube or Vimeo or Netflix or whatever.  Sure, things like caching/buffering, downloading, pausing and walking off would make this less accurate, but let's just say we aren't worried as much about those kinds of nuances.

    SIMILARLY

    Maybe you could allow us to set a DATA cap for a given time window.  After x bytes have been downloaded (or uploaded) then the IP is blocked until the next day.

    I would like to be able to group a bunch of IPs/URLs/services into a category and then set a limit based on one or both of the above (time and/or data) for a set group on my network. Inaccurate is better than non-existent.

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    Support Team

    @David, 

    Agreed, we are experimenting on the time limit to see how much of accuracy we can get. 

    As for the suggestion of data limit, it is easier to be achieved actually. But we are not sure how practical that is, can you tell us more about the use case you have in mind? What kind of service you are planning to set limits on?  You can send the details to help@firewalla.com if you don't mind. 

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    David McCarty

    I've sent a reply to that email as requested, but in short, TIME limiting is what I really want.  The primary reason for suggesting DATA limiting is because I figure that must be pretty easy for you to implement and then I could use it as a crude method of time limiting activities like video streaming.  If I could determine a (very) rough average of how much data is used per minute when actively streaming a video, then I could just take that data rate and multiply by how many minutes I want to allow streaming and set the data limit at that point.  It would be very crude, but good enough for my purposes. (The users could cheat this by watching at a lower quality, but my users are not tech savvy and so I'm not worried about that yet).

    Data limiting would also help for if a user downloads videos to watch offline later.  Setting time limits on the router would never help here.

    Another advantage to being able to set a data limit based on sites would be if you were on a metered connection and you wanted to prevent a user on your network from burning all your data on a certain set of activities.

    Offering BOTH time limiting AND data limiting and then being able to mix-and-match how you use those would be very powerful.

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    Ro88durham

    Time limiting was one of the key things I hoped Firewalla would do.  Once finally set up, Microsoft's time limits (Screen limits) work great for the Xbox.  But I'd ideally like to give my child N number of total hours between the Xbox and the iPad.  Disappointed that this is not going to happen on Firewalla. 

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    Support Team

    We are working on it, likely will have the first version ready for use in 1.972.

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    A Saj

    Any update on the time limit feature availability as mentioned "We are working on it"? I would like this to be available before purchasing the Firewalla gold device. 

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    Firewalla

    This was moved out to 1.973, 1.972 was loaded too many features, and we were late about 2 months on it. 

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    A Saj

    Any update on this? I’ve been waiting for this!

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    Michael Lyons

    If you're still interested I can tell you how I setup a schedule-based set of rules that are proving very effective at blocking my kids from gaming during "school hours" (8am-3pm) without blocking access to regular educational sites...it was critical during COVID lock-downs.  

    While not overly difficult the key thing is to know what gaming sites your kids visit...and that is something you can pull from a review of the Flows from their devices.  I ended up adding several IPs to the "All Gaming Sites" list found under rule category matching.  I added stuff like:
    *.steamcontent.com *rbxcdn.com (ie..roblox which now has it's own blocking options) *.joinsquad.com *.mojang.com

    It looks like some of those may now be redundant with the system managed list...but better safe than sorry.  I found one of my kids was a master at finding ways to get around my blocks...he took it as a measure of pride...so stay one step ahead.  It took a while to find out the IP that was used for some games for P2P gaming...but once you find that server you can add it to the blocked list and it's done.  

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    Brad Knight

    Has there been any progress or updates regarding this?

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    Brad Knight

    Looking for an update regarding this?

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    Dion Wright

    I’m also looking for the same.

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    Brad Knight

    @Firewalla

    Please update.

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    John Stock

    I too would very much like this feature!   My kids have different schedules on different days, so it's not really helpful to do strictly time-of-day scheduling.

    It shouldn't be too hard to use a traffic threshold to determine if someone is on the internet and/or on certain categories like gaming.   E.g. a device like a PC will normally have a "baseline" level of traffic - say 10 KB across a given hour (usually in evenly-spaced intervals, as certain apps do polling / regular data updates).   This is the level of traffic when the person is not actively using the internet (or gaming site or whatever).    Then if traffic suddenly spikes up from that - you know that they're currently on.   Then if it goes back down to the baseline level, and remains there say for more than 10 minutes, then you stop the cumulative time count-up, and maybe subtract 10 minutes.     Voila.

     

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    James Donald

    Any update here? It seems to have been promised and then constantly delayed...

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    Firewalla

    This feature is a lot more difficult than we initially thought. The fundamental problem is to accurately identify application (video, gaming) behavior from the network. We have been enhancing this in the past few releases, and so far the prediction is not that accurate, such we can use to regulate kids. (the margin of error is very very high, and the calculation depends on network speed, application type ... and even somethings that's not even possible to predict)

    We will continue to try this from release to release. Once we get the duration calculated, it will be pretty easy to do the limit. 

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    Brad Knight

    Under devices network flow, selecting "Apps" give a rough estimate of time spent per designated application.
    The "shopping" application is not accurate, and it would be great if you could elaborate how everything is defined or provide the ability for end users to build definitions.

    Could you not use this flow/applications as the base line with simple if/and/else statements?

    Ex: IF day = Today and device group = "kids" and application "YouTube" is > 1 hour, then block "YouTube"

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    Pragnesh Gandevia

    What Firewalla product (if any) would work similar to 'circle' where the users are allocated device and we can create a schedule when the users can access internet. So basically looking at limiting internet access for our child. I understand there are features which will allow/block certain websites? Are there any other parental features that are available through Firewalla products? Thanks

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    Brad Knight

    I have been after @Firewalla for this now, over a year with no response or positive feedback.

    https://help.firewalla.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/1500000879601-Activity-Time-Limitation?page=1#community_comment_15515772379539

    https://help.firewalla.com/hc/en-us/requests/39705



    Any updates?

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    Rex Northen

    Hello there - I've been watching this thread for a while with the intention of buying my first Firewalla. I love the overall feature set. The ability to monitor and limit screen time for individual websites/apps or for groups of activities ('gaming'), à la Circle, remains the primary reason to buy.

    Any news @Firewalla? It looks as if you've rolled out parental control updates in the past few days.

    As stated by others here, 100% time accuracy isn't as crucial as the presence of the feature.

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    BigVince

    Hoping to put my two cents in… instead of this being focused on data or sources, currently hitting the “YouTube” block button blocks it for an hour. The second tap blocks it permanently. Is there a way to change this to an “allow” button that lets the kids watch YouTube for an hour and then automatically turn on the block again. That would greatly benefit my goals. it could be a cycle: allow forever, block one hour, block forever, allow one hour, allow forever  

    Happy with the device and would advise everyone to look at what it offers rather than what it doesn’t.

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    Erik Beall

    I can't believe I missed this- I just purchased a Firewalla Gold, having been confident you could schedule on/off by MAC at a bare minimum and am stunned an hour into working with it to find out its been vaporware for 3 years. My original plan (wife talked me out of it, not enough hours in the day when my current job keeps maxxing out my time) was to roll my own off openwrt (I have a few that are now downstream of the firewalla) and I guess I'll have to do that via ssh (just tweaked the sshd setup on the firewalla - I am grateful we can run our own commands on the box) but my kids are going to hate seeing me whip out my laptop to do that every time for the next few weeks. Based on the 3 year delay, I do NOT see a commitment to rolling this out, so my request is: where is family device scheduling on the queue of upcoming releases and can it be a priority? 

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    Markus Finster

    You can't block for a number of hours, but you can set up rules that block access based on time and then pause that rule manually for an hour.
    So generally blocking YouTube and then allowing it would work. Blocking games in the morning before school would work.
    A max limit of one hour video per day: needs other apps or tools.

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    GZ

    @Erik Beall, have you figured out how to block sites via ssh? 

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    ugpty

    You have to purchase a Synology Router and see how to set up this.  I almost purchase a Firewalla but this is basic my needs.  I'll give you my two cents.  In Synology Router OS you could set a profile for a kid and in this profile you could ad their devices.  After that your configure the schedule and limits, when they consume the time the user access to the app or service is blocked.

     

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    omair.hashmi

    We would love to see if app max time use can be implemented.

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    Jeromy Markwort

    Looks like parental control time limit features have made it to early access versions!

    https://help.firewalla.com/hc/en-us/articles/22912094066707#h_01HFA581R69C8SRJSE0N2ZRHQC

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    Firewalla

    Thank you @jeromy, I've updated this article with latest.

     

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    Jeromy Markwort

    The release notes say it works for 3 popular sites with others coming soon. Im really hoping the ability to do the same for custom sites or targets is also coming soon. My kids might be interested in a site you don't even know about and being able to give them 2hrs a day on weekdays would be really nice. And the ability to reward them additional time as well.

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