Parental Uncontrol

April 21, 2010 by | Comments
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Heat in the morning

This morning me and my wife had a long discussion, about our son caught playing PES 2009 on his Sony PS3, before having breakfast; the argy-bargy heat was a good starter for my lazy-twice-weekly early-jogging: got energy from that.

So the deal is always the same: how do you cope with your child’s e-fun, preventing their transformation in plants?

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Things get more difficult when both parents work, particularly if they leave child alone, or with a nanny with no iron hand.

So I have started digging into the web “à la recherche” of some magic box, electronic device that could help. A device based, parental control, access system

Watchdogs

Easily I have discovered a plethora of gadgets that act as a watchdog against gaming and TV watching abuse: TV Timer Bob, TimeMachine and EyeTimer just to name a few. It looks like they have the guts to do the job.

tv-timer-bobTV timer Bob for example can manage up to 6 users, each one having it’s PIN to access a controlled device, it’s profile & time usage that can be set to daily or weekly limits, featuring a system to avoid damages to the connected device, with unexpected power offs: an alarm can be set to warn time exhaustion, so your kid will be warned to have enough time to save the game, if playing, and turn off the device before electricity is cut off. Sounds good!

eyetimerEyeTimer goes a step further in terms of wisdom: timing management is centralized among multiple devices, in a way timing credits can be spent across multiple devices: computers, TV and gaming consoles. A Windows based computer can hold accounts and profiles per each user, enabling or disabling the devices controlled by a wireless power socket. This system seems very smart, although the biggest drawback is that the dude needs a computer that acts as the brain of the system. Not a big problem nowadays.

The future

While studying what is the best solution, I kept asking my self why no manufacturer has still crafted a built in system to control time access. Not so difficult in a firmware-based age. TVs, decoders and console could easily hold a timing access system, password protected, per user, time-credit based…. But maybe this would mean, lower usage, decreased shopping and lower earnings?

While it looks like something is happening, (it seems the Xbox has such a system), it would be wise to spread the word and push manufacturers in this direction.

If they would ask for a yearly fee to enable such a system, parents would be happy to pay.

This argument definitely needs investigation….

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