Ask LH: How Can I Limit The Time My Kids Spend On Facebook?

Ask LH: How Can I Limit The Time My Kids Spend On Facebook?

Hey Lifehacker, How can I limit the time my teenagers spend on sites like Facebook? Most solutions I’ve found online require software to be installed on individual PCs (which is not ideal at all). The only router-based solution I can find requires me to buy a specific model. Is there any other way to do it? Thanks, Book Blocker

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Dear BB,

Show them these two links and gently explain how Facebook has probably already turned them into social pariahs.

But seriously, we wouldn’t waste too much time dabbling with online restrictions or parental controls: sooner or later, your kids are just going to circumvent them. What they really need is some good ol’ fashioned parenting. Presumably your kids are under 18, which means you are 100 per cent in charge, even if they don’t know it.

Despite being a cliche, the “my house, my rules” adage should definitely apply. Instead of micromanaging their internet connections, limit device usage overall. Even if they purchased all their own hardware using money you didn’t give them, you still have the right to dictate usage while they’re under your roof. This goes doubly if they’re in the lower end of their teens. In short, you’re the boss. Don’t let the whining scroungers push you around.

If readers have any additional advice, let BB know in the comments section below.


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  • Start saying no to your kids early on in their lives. Do the hard yards early and reap the benefits when they try to push the boundaries. This is an opportunity for you as a parent to shine. Set rules, rights, responsibilities and most importantly consequences. THIS is what being a parent is about. It’s not just playgroup and cleaning after them. Ultimately you as a parent will be judged not by how many good times you have but more so how you deal with the hard times, that’s what counts. Good luck.

  • I am looking for a similar solution for Windows 7. On the Mac the parental controls are very good – you can set limits on when they can and can’t log in, plus duration. I am occasionally asked to allow the kids more time on the computer, but they also understand that when they are done – they are done.

    By contrast the Windows 7 controls are very basic; you can set when they can log in but thats it. You can’t set a limit of say 2 hours on a Saturday and 30 minutes mid-week.

    So what is a good third party package for Win7 which gives me these (and other) features?

  • Kudos on that reply, Chris. That was masterfully handled and along the same lines I might’ve gone, although I might’ve been less tactful. ;D

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