How to use FocusMe as Parental Control

FocusMe can be used as parental controls as well. It can act as a means to limit access to social media and/or games.

Creating the Focus Plan

The first thing you do is either create a new plan or edit an existing one. To create a new plan, hit the “Add Plan” button on the upper right. To edit an existing plan, you can either right-click on the plan and select “Edit Plan” or hit the respective ellipsis on the right.

Type the name of the Focus plan (for editing existing plans, the name shows up here) then hit “Next”

On the next page, click on the “Add Site” button.

You can select the website/s in the History tab,

Or manually input them in the Custom tab. Note: you can add more than one URL by hitting enter after each, as shown below:

Hit accept when done to add the item/s on the list. Then hit “Next”.

Do the same thing for the Applications tab (if you wish to block any applications/games) then hit “Next”.

Rule Type

The Rule Type page (4/6) gives you options on how FocusMe manages blocking of apps and websites.

Just Block

Select this if you want to straight up block the apps/websites altogether.

Time Limit

For a detailed explanation, go here.

Launch Limit

For a detailed explanation, go here.

You can set the Focus Type depending on your preferences. Once satisfied, hit “Next”.

Schedule Mode

The Schedule Mode page (5/6) lets you set the time/s when the Focus Plan will be active. This is especially useful for setting up a schedule for your children. Select “Schedule” and then hit “Next”.

There is another guide that explains scheduling in detail. You can find it here.

TIP: If you want the Focus plan to be active all day everyday, you can select all days and then highlight the whole scheduling bar gray and then be sure the times below read 00:00 – 24:00

When starting a Focus plan with a schedule, it will run indefinitely. You can stop it manually or set an end date for when the plan would stop.

The calendar will let you choose the end date as shown below:

Click on the preferred end date to set it.

If you want to change Scheduling mode, click on the button.

The example below shows a daily schedule that is active from 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm. The Focus plan is set to stop on October 30, 2019.

Once the schedule has been set, click on “Next” to go to the next page.

Protection

The Protection page (6/6) is where you can setup password protection for the Focus plan. This may arguably be the most critical part of setting up a plan for parental control.

There are 4 items that you can set here:

Password to stop, when Active – Used when stopping the Focus plan while it is currently running (ie. while on a schedule).

Password to stop, when Inactive – Used to stop the Focus plan while it is currently idle (ie. not on a schedule but active).

The two above items have the same options (but they can be set differently):

None – no password is set

Random Characters – A system generated password is set (changes every time). The password length can be set as well.

Custom Password – Setup your own password. This is ideal for parental control scenarios to prevent your kids from stopping the Focus plan.

Forced – Select this to prevent any means to stop the Focus plan. WARNING: there is NO WAY to stop the Focus plan once this is set. USE WITH CAUTION.

Pausing – Lets you enable pausing of the Focus plan. This has 3 options:

Disable – Pausing the Focus plan is disabled

Random Characters – A system generated password is set (changes every time). The password length can be set as well.

Custom Password – Set your own password to be used when pausing the Focus plan.

You can set the pausing feature further, if it is enabled:

Add to Whitelist – If enabled, lets you add websites/applications to the whitelist while the plan is running

Once the protection is set, hit “Done”.

Settings

There are a few items worth noting in the settings tab when it comes to using FocusMe as a parental control. Once you have finished creating the Focus plan, go to the Settings tab.

The following are items in the Settings tab that are important for parental controls. It is recommended that all these items are enabled.

General

Here are the essential items found in the General tab:

  • Start at logon – Determines if FocusMe launches when you log into the computer
  • None – FocusMe does not start automatically.
  • All Users – FocusMe starts up automatically every time the computer is turned on.
  • Current User – FocusMe starts up automatically. This only applies to the current user account.
  • Master Password – Lets you set a password for accessing FocusMe.
  • Disabled – No password is set.
  • Random password – A system generated password is set. Lets you set the password length.
  • Custom password – Set your own password. Recommended since only you would know the password.

System

Below are some of the items found in the Settings tab that are critical for parental controls:

  • Protect FocusMe Process – Restarts the FocusMe process if it is ended with a process killer (ie. Task Manager).
  • Block Command Prompt – Blocks the Command Prompt to prevent cheating.
  • Disable Command Prompt/Scripts – Similar to above but this will use a special Windows policy to fully disable the Command Prompt and scripts.
  • Protect FocusMe Directories – Prevents users from viewing the FocusMe installation/settings directories in Explorer/Finder.
  • Block Classic Date & Time Screen – Blocks the date and time settings on your computer, preventing cheating from that end.
  • Block W10 PC Settings – Blocks Windows 10 PC settings (including the date and time).
  • Protect Uninstall – If you try to uninstall FocusMe, a message shows up saying it’s not allowed while plans are enabled.
  • Hide from Installed Programs – Hides FocusMe from your list of applications to prevent it from being uninstalled or modified.
  • Protect Switch User – Disables the Windows “Switch User” functionality when a plan is enabled.

And you’re all set! Tweak the settings and your plan to your liking until you’re satisfied with your setup.

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