Gnome Nanny, a Parental Control System for Linux

I am not in favour of monitored or filtered Internet at all. I love Internet the way it is and I hate if someone tries to censor it. But we have to admit that there is a lot of bad stuff on the Internet that you definitely don't want little kids to come across. Gnome Nanny is a parental control system build for this purpose. Not just the websites, it can also be used to monitor and control the time spent on web or chatting.


  • You can easily control what the kids/users are doing on the computer.
  • How long a user can be using the compuer, browse the web, email and instant message.
  • You can decide the time of the day you want them to do these things.
  • You can even filter out the web pages seen by each of the user by blocking undesirable websites.
  • Its really easy to understand and configure.

The most recent version of Nanny available is 2.29.2. No stable version has been released yet.

Download and Install the Latest version of Nanny in Ubuntu

In order to install the latest development release in Ubuntu, you will have to install it using the ppa. You can find the PPA archive of Nanny here. Follow the instruction in this howto to install nanny in Ubuntu from the PPA. In case of any trouble, leave a comment.

Other distro users may install the source packages from their download page and give it a try.

After installation you can find it at System -> Administration -> Parental Control.

How to Configure Nanny

Understanding the working of Nanny is really easy. Its developers have worked pretty well to improve its usability. In the first glance, you will easily understand how to use it. You can find it in System -> Administration -> Parental control.

With these bars(click them), you can select which part of the day you want a particular service to be active. Different services are mentioned in separate tabs. Just check the option above to activate any option.

Nanny's Web Content Filtering System

If you want to control the websites that can be accessed you can easily do that by maintaining lists of allowed and blocked sites. Check the enable web filtering box in the web browser tab and click configure. 


You can even download the list of blacklisted websites from internet and ofcouse manual addition is available.

Limitations of Nanny

Nanny is a pretty good software and probably the only Parental control system for Linux I know. But it connects the tasks with the respective applicaitons e.g. pidgin with chatting, thunderbird with emails and browser with web surfing. This seems logical but now a days each of these activities are possible on the browser. You can't expect a 10-12 year old kid to use a mail client . There are tons of social networking sites out there that can keep him "busy". Although my point seems a little vague here because you can manage and control websites the user can access using Nanny's web content filtering system.

Another thing I noticed was the applists mentioned in /etc/nanny/applists. It is probably the list of applicaitons supported by Nanny. As of now, or as mentioned in my list, it supports only 3 browsers epiphany, firefox and konqueror. Since, browsing is the most important thing to be censored and monitored here, Nanny should add support for more browsers.


Gabriel (not verified)
February 15th, 2010 04:03 pm
There is also timekpr in early stage of development.
Anon Linuxer (not verified)
February 16th, 2010 09:27 pm
Sounds good and I like to give Gnome Nanny a whirl but there are others out there. "Dangaurdien" is a good freeware browser content filter we have used with our 5-year old for a while and "timekpr" is a good time use monitor.
Anon Linuxer (not verified)
March 3rd, 2010 04:03 am
It's so buggy on Karmic I can't test it because the Blacklist part of the program simply crashes rather than opening. Nice.
Jessica (not verified)
May 16th, 2010 11:08 am
I just installed GnomeNanny, and it looks like the best option out there so far. I'm hoping that future versions will include time restrictions for any random application - the main ones I want to block are the movie players, and possibly eventually specific games.
Anon Linuxer (not verified)
August 1st, 2010 09:10 pm
I am very disappointed with the Linux community when it comes to parental control software. When people ask about it on a forum you always get a lot of advice on what you should do & why you don't need it - like keep the computer in view, give freedom to kids, yada-yada. No one needs such advice- believe me. All we need is some "proper & easy" way to apply web filter. OpenDNS is one good option - but does not work seamlessly on dynamic IPs (yes - even with ddclient, etc.). I agree with the author - we don't need it but our kids do. Internet is not a safe place. Gnome Nanny is a great initiative and i will even donate to this community. So, thanks for bringing this development out & also thanks to linuxers for publishing a how-to on it. Next steps for Nanny is to develop an interface for easy management of the web filter and then to release a stable version.
Anon Linuxer (not verified)
January 25th, 2011 04:25 am
This application is still in alpha status. A lot of things didn't work at this time. Only the control, how long and when someone will work on a computer can be limited. All other functions didn't work properly.

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