I saw this on Techie Diva today… and it was immediately appealing, but the attraction dimished quickly. This isn’t any fault of the software, as far as I know it does its job perfectly, but I just don’t think this is the way to deal with this problem. I have given parental control over technology a lot of thought lately, not only because I have two kids of my own, but also while writing the parental control chapter (a chapter I’m really proud of, I think it is a great bit of info for parents) in Xbox 360 for Dummies.
I’ve looked into this type of software before, and hardware solutions that prevent the use of the TV or a video game console, but I think that if you need to use this type of solution then you are in trouble. If you tell your kids they can’t play/surf any more today and you can’t trust them to listen to you even if you aren’t watching, then that is a problem (are you going to have software to control access to junk food, drugs, etc. ? Kids need to learn some self-control, to follow the rules even if they won’t get caught)
If you are so busy that you have no idea how long they’ve been on the computer and you need software to track it for you, then they are on too long or you are too far away from them while they are using the computer.
To be clear, I’m a fan of these tools as soon as I see them… but when I think it through I think our current system is working fairly well. On any given day my wife or I can say that Connor was using the Xbox “a lot” or “not much” and thereby decide if he can play some more. Sometimes we have to take away his right to play Xbox for a day or two, and during that time we don’t hide the Xbox we just tell him that he can’t play it… and while he might get upset about that… he knows exactly how to get a controller, put in a game and start up the Xbox but yet he doesn’t do it.