April 18, 2011

Limiting Computer Time: A Resource

As most of you know by now, we moved into the country at the beginning of this year.  During the first two months, we were without internet.  As a matter of fact we left our computer packed away for much of that time.

Even though I LOVE my computer and all it does for me, I recognize it as a big time waster.  When we were once again up and running, so to speak, I didn’t want my children to return to their previous habits on the computer.

My youngest son loves to create in Paint and play thinking games. 

My daughter loves to watch animal training videos, visit Poptropica, and other online games, and watch videos on PBS Kids and Netflix instant. 

My oldest son loves to watch video game stuff on YouTube, check in on Facebook and research stuff for college.

I write for three blogs. I accomplish many computer tasks relating to my church service and of course tackle many things homeschool related on the computer as well. 

It is very easy to lose all sense of time on the computer.  Once we regained our internet access, I started researching options for limiting not only how much time we spend on the computer each day, but how much time in a sitting. I came across TimesUpKidz.

This program is simple to use and does just what it says.

You just fill in your daily time allowances.  You can even choose to limit the amount of time spent in one session at the computer with a break in between.  I love this feature!  My children (and myself) know we can’t get back on the computer until our break time is up so we head off to do something else without another thought of it.  This particular feature is for me a huge thing!  No other product I  researched offered this kind of control.

Form to set weekday vs. weekend time limits

You can also use this screen to customize each day if you prefer.

Form to customize the duration and times-of-day for each day of the week.

Pop-up reminder message

When your children are using the computer they get occasional audio and visual reminders of their time usage so they can save their work and log off before the program does it for them. No more “but Mom…” or “just one more thing”.  They can’t change the mind of the program. (grin)  I love this!

If your child tries to get back on the computer before their required break is over or if they have used up all their allotted time for the day they will see this when they try to log on.

Time has run out dialog

As the parent/administrator you have total control, you can add to their time, take time away, totally lock out any computer time until a certain hour each day,  Or block for an entire day. 

The program works great, but if you or anyone in your family is addicted to the computer,there will be withdrawals.  Don’t ask me how I know.  It took a while for our family to get used to limitations. (yep addicted.)  The nice thing is the program is the bad guy, not you.  As soon as they are locked out, they move on to something else.  There is no whining, pleading, or begging.

If you would like to limit your family’s computer time, I highly recommend taking a look at TimesUpKidz.  Here is more info about the service:

  • You can take a visual tour here.
  • You can try the program for free for 30 days here.
  • You can purchase the program for $29.95 here.  This includes multiple computer usage, minor upgrades and improvements.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you this program is great!  It does just what it is supposed to do.  If you ask my children, they will tell you they don’t like it because it locks them out.  So sad… I’m crying tears – not really.

Oops!  I’ve gotta go know, my computer time is about up.  Time for a break you know.  I think I’ll go read aloud to the kids now, make lunch and clean the kitchen.

Disclaimer:  When I was researching computer programs to limit computer time, I really liked this one.  It’s simplicity and also it’s ability to lock the whole computer not just the internet was what I needed.  I received this service free for my honest review.

2 comments:

  1. This is so cool! I've been trying to figure out a way to limit my oldest son too! Thanks for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice program but a bit expensive. You can try this one too:
    http://www.limit-computer-time.com/

    ReplyDelete

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