We have some free software for you here, and here's the story behind it. We'll keep it short. Your kid is on the computer and it's time to get them off. "Time's up" you say. "Just one more minute!" they say. Next thing you know, another hour goes by (but that's OK, because you don't even remember when they started). So the yelling across the house starts, and everyone gets upset. You might even charge in and slam the laptop closed or turn off the monitor. Now you're upset, they're in a wired and anti-social mood and everyone's mad at each other. It's a hard situation from which to recover. We think our software can help. Download our software called kidoff. Run it on the computer your child uses, then let them proceed with their "computer time." From another computer in the house (over your home-network), our software will allow you to talk to your child's computer (using a web browser) without them ever knowing. You can see exactly how long they've been on the computer. You can send them a warning window, when their time is almost up, or even few audible warning messages. You can gobble up some of their computer's memory or disk space, to slow things down for them. Lastly, you can simply SHUT DOWN THEIR COMPUTER without ever raising your voice. All from afar.
New version for Fall 2011: Auto shutdown timer right in the "File" menu, and see screenshots of your kid's computer! Download: Windows, OSX To install on Windows: Unzip the file you download (your browser will likely do this for you), and copy kidoff.exe onto the desktop of the computer your child will use. To install on OSX: Double click on the .dmg file you download. Drag the file kidoff to the desktop of the computer your child will use. To use: Run kidoff each time your child uses the computer. When run, a small window will pop up informing you of the address of your child's computer on your network. Copy this number down then go to another computer and launch a web browser. Type this address into the navigation bar, and you'll see a number of "get off of the computer" options available to you, coming directly from your child's computer. Quick test: You can quickly try kidoff on your computer right after you download it. To do so, run it on your computer and launch your web browser right next to it. Navigate to the address shown in the kidoff window, and give it all a try.
Here is our software running on a Windows computer that your child might use:
All they'll see is a small window with their network address in it. This is the same address you'll type into a web-browser on another computer. Here's our software running on a Macintosh/OSX system:
Finally, when you talk to your child's computer using a web-browser
from another computer on the network, here are the "get off of the computer"
controls you will have:
We're like you, raising kids in the computer age. We think computers and kids are both good and bad and don't know what to conclude about kids and video games. We know that we can't keep our kids off the computer entirely, but do like to set time limits. Windows and OSX have a lot of built in help for this, but we still need a more peaceful way of prying our kids off of the computer when their time is up. Thus kidoff was born. It works great for us and we have only one "computer-rule" for our children (all others rules have failed): kidoff must be running when they are on the computer. If we see that it's not (we can't connect with our browser), then computer time is over, right then and there.
We have an @gmail.com account for this and would love to hear from you. Comment? Suggestion? Request for a feature? Let us know! The email name is kidoff with the word "software" coming right after it. Sorry for the puzzle here, but spam is a real pain.