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My younger brother is - according to our parents - facing some actual problems with PC addiction.

We used to restrict the time he could spend using his PC with Windows 8's family safety settings, deciding every time how long he was going to be allowed to use it. That's really all that we needed (no disallowed apps, time schedules, weekly e-mail with usage statistics and so on). There was only one problem: I was forced to convert his account from admin to child, and the system was always asking for admin's password for very basic stuff, like updating Minecraft or using Fraps or whatever, so we had to use that password every 10 minutes to allow him to do that sort of thing. (I suspect he understood how much of a pain it was for us and he ended up doing it on purpose.)

Now he has upgraded to Windows 10, and I have to re-enable those settings, so I thought I'd jump on the train and ask for advice: is there a way to just limit the time he can spend using the PC, without limiting what he can do during that time, e.g. by setting a timer on an Admin account or by giving special permissions to a Child account?

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    If he has Administrator permissions he can just change the type of account he has, so it would be sort of pointless, to make him an Administrator.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 6, 2015 at 22:40
  • He knows that if he does so I'm going to be notified by e-mail Aug 6, 2015 at 22:43
  • If he is an Administrator he could just change the email address. He also could just create a new user name, disable it when not in use, and it wouldn't show up in the list of users. You asked if it was possible, I am saying it is possible, but would defeat the entire purpose of what you are trying to achieve. Furthermore none of those things he seems to use the computer should require Administrator permissions to do.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 6, 2015 at 22:48
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    There's a general principle that one shouldn't try to solve social problems by technical means. It sounds like your (parents') whole strategy for dealing with your brother's addictive behaviour is to limit his access to the computer with software. That seems like a sensible component of a solution but I'd encourage you to explore other options, too. (Apologies if you're already doing that already and you're sitting there thinking, "I didn't talk about that because it's off-topic, duh.") Aug 7, 2015 at 8:21
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    You're looking for a technical solution to a social problem. You could do what we used to do in the old days - have the computer in a common room, and keep an eye on it.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 15, 2016 at 5:18

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Why do you use the built-in windows child restrictions? There are tons of softwares much better than the Windows tools, where you can allow the use of some softwares, some operations, while blocking other ones.

Google: internet addiction software, or anything like that, and you have many suggestions to try.

There are 2 kinds of actions you can do: preventing use of the computer outside of specified periods of time, and preventing the use of the internet or the use of some software.

The kid shouldn't use the admin account, it should be a normal account, but no need to have the password for anything if you use the normal account + a dedicated software normally.

As I recommended 2 ways to do that. Method 1 Preventing use the computer:

You can use any of these class of softwares or devices: Parental control softwares, sofware firewall or hardware firewall.

Hardware firewall seems more complex, and require you buy a device, so I just mention it, to let you know how it works:

How to prevent unauthorized computer access

HackerMost users are interested in taking steps to prevent others from accessing their computer.

**Hardware firewall** - A hardware firewall is a physical device that is connected to your network. Often, many users who have a home

network can use their network router as a firewall solution. (...) Software firewall - A software firewall is a software program that you install on your computer to helps protect it from unauthorized incoming and outgoing data. Keep in mind that a software firewall is only going to protect the computer on which it has been installed. Additionally, many antivirus scanners include their own version of a firewall program

Source: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000464.htm#firewall

These kind of methods can be used to prevent access to specific softwares (e.g games), or to prevent specific software to access internet (e.g online games, browser, etc...), preventing any downloads or internet browsing.

Method 2:

Preventing the use outside specified period of time:

You can use specific specific softwares (parental control) or use firewall softwares with blocking based on time restrictions.

As an example, you have K9 protection.

http://www1.k9webprotection.com/support/kb/k9126.html

You want to know how to configure and test the Time Restrictions feature in K9 Web Protection.

(...)

K9 Web Protection can restrict web access according to a daily time schedule you customize. Note that currently this will only affect web site browsing, not Chat/IM, P2P or other internet traffic.

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