I am trying to figure out how much data collection for time tracking can be automatically done on android devices.

So basically I want to collect the amount of time that a user spends on youtube, facebook etc. It is possible to log the currently running activities, which can be used to figure out roughly for how much time a particular app, e.g. FBMessenger/WhatsApp, was opened. But, I want to also track the browsing pattern of a user in an app-agnostic way.

There are a few parental control apps that promise to do this such as:


And I want to figure out how they might be doing so, which api/permissions allows for this level of access?

UPDATE: For example the Net-Nanny android FAQ says that

Once those settings are done Net Nanny will Initialize and invite you to
browse the Web! – This will be done thru the Net Nanny Browser.
All other browsers will be blocked.

This is a bad solution since this presumes that a user has to change his/her behavior in order for me to monitor them. I don't want to block anything for the user, only create usage stats.

I also don't want to install a VPN server if it can be avoided because it gives a persistent warning message to the user.

  • As a side question: did you actually think that your users may not like you to spy on them? – Grimoire May 28 '17 at 18:53
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    @DeathMaskSalesman There are legit use cases of such "spying" such as parental controls, or research into HCI. In any case I am currently trying to figure out capability not morality. – Pushpendre May 29 '17 at 8:05
  • +1 to your comment, but I have no idea as to how implement it. – Grimoire May 29 '17 at 9:53

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