Features/Parental controls

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The proposal


Default or optional feature

It is proposed that this be included in XO and SOAS builds. Deployments and others would be free to create customised builds which included or excluded this feature. Would the default builds published by Sugarlabs include the feature?

Marketing case

"Not only am I basing this on the inclusion of a similar feature in OS X, I am also basing this on the fact that some Nigerian children reportedly visited a Web site containing pornography. I have no other evidence." (Ryan)

How often would this feature be used? How do we estimate this?

Education case

Does this feature enhance or detract from Sugar's effectiveness for facilitating learning.

A central platform of OLPC and Sugar is that children should be creators rather than consumers. This has been facilitated in a number of ways, show source, cloning Activities, easy reflashing of the OS.


Any kind of lock will fail to block a proportion of illegitimate uses while blocking a proportion of legitimate uses, there is the saying "locks only keep out honest people".

There are a number of potential ways to circumvent parental controls

  • switching to Gnome
  • using Pippy to create a browser
  • using Turtle Blocks to create a browser (yes its easy!)
  • using Develop to create a browser
  • cloning an Activity
  • installing another browser Activity
  • installing Browse with an altered name
  • reflashing with a different build

Unintended consequences

Would there be unintended losses in functionality?

  • legitimate browsing, eg researching breast cancer
  • switching to Gnome
  • launching non Sugar activities from Terminal, eg the Arduino IDE
  • Pippy
  • Turtle Blocks
  • Develop
  • cloning an Activity
  • (re)installing Activities
  • reflashing with a different build