Help! I have a 15 year old *and* iChat!!

Hoven

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2003
122
0
Columbus, OH (USA)

Hi all!
Well, here's the skinny...
I have, at home, the combination of a 15 year old daughter, an eMac and iChat. She uses the eMac for schoolwork, but alas (as you may have guessed), she is also always on iChat!

When I complain, she say "But I have my away message up!". Of course, that doesn't keep her friends from chatting or her from responding.

At the risk of my completely destroying her "social life" (her words :rolleyes: ), I'd like to know if there is some way to control iChat's "up time", (time of day, or total time per day, or not-with-other-apps-running, or whatever).

Thanks!
PS. And for the record, am am also using standard, low-tech parenting techniques, but still... a Mac system solution would be a good addition to my toolbox.


 

dotdotdot

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2005
2,381
31
I don't own a Mac but I think in the user accounts panel you can click on her user account and then limit the activity of that program...
 

DanTekGeek

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2004
263
0
Denver, CO
being a 16 year old with ichat...and irc...and msn...and email...and forums.....

anyway. How long have you had the setup? (the computer...not the kid)
I found that the novelty of IM'ing wore off after about a month and a half. Of course, I am not a girl, and I am not your daughter, but that could be one solution: time.
Now, if someone tries to get in touch with me when I'm working, they get a tounge lashing. Other than that, you might simply want to disable ichat in her account. Also, just let her know that what happens to her grades is forever, but social life can change. Her real friends wont care that she cant speak to them while she is working. Good luck!
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
You can disable it for her, but I know of no way to limit her time on it.

There are ways to make sure it's shut off every [insert time period here], so maybe you could make it a pain for her to keep restarting it over and over and over... but, again, there's no way I know of to limit application run time to some set amount.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
FWIW, if you run the following command in Terminal:
Code:
ps -aux | grep iChat.app | grep -v grep | awk '{print $10}'
it'll tell you in HH:MM:SS.MS (MS = milliseconds) format how much CPU iChat has consumed - not how long it's been active.

If you run instead
Code:
ps -aux | grep iChat.app | grep -v grep | awk '{print $9}'
it'll tell you when the app was started.

Of course, all she'd need to do would be to stop and restart the app to throw those numbers off.
 

Hoven

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2003
122
0
Columbus, OH (USA)
DanTekGeek said:
being a 16 year old with ichat...and irc...and msn...and email...and forums.....

anyway. How long have you had the setup? (the computer...not the kid)
I found that the novelty of IM'ing wore off after about a month and a half. Of course, I am not a girl, and I am not your daughter, but that could be one solution: time.
Now, if someone tries to get in touch with me when I'm working, they get a tounge lashing. Other than that, you might simply want to disable ichat in her account. Also, just let her know that what happens to her grades is forever, but social life can change. Her real friends wont care that she cant speak to them while she is working. Good luck!
Well, maybe girls are different (and, my daughter is different from most girls). She hates talking on the phone, but lives by iChat & Text Messaging on her cell phone. Also, she's basically a straight "A" student, so I can't really complain about that or hold grades over her (I know, if she's an "A" student, what do I care... briefly put, Time Management and Sleep!)
I don't think she's worried that her friends will be mad. She just can't stand not to be on and see who's on. Can't say I blame her, still...
Thanks!
 

Hoven

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2003
122
0
Columbus, OH (USA)
superbovine said:
If you are using a broadband router wired or wireless you block AIM port using the router. I believe with a dlink you can even schedule times.

http://www.g4techtv.com/screensavers/features/134/Leos_Tip_Block_AIM_at_the_Router.html
Hmmm... not a bad idea if it's available on my LinkSys router. Although, ideally, i'd like not to have to be there to activate or deactivate it. I'd love to have it timed some how.

But I'll check the setup pages on the router.
Thanks!
 

Logik

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
616
0
unfortunately i know of no ideas for this other than to point you to Tiger. Which has parental controls and ways of limiting certain applications... i know it's a good 2 months off but if you are willing to continue the low tech method until then you can buy the upgrade and get the features as part of that OS upgrade.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/parental.html

having not used the OS X firewall software.. i know it is possible using xinetd (a linux application for controlling servers and such) that you could possibly block using a time and day setup... you probably can't use xinetd on os x but it is possible that if you find the documentation for the firewall in OS X you could do the same...

with that said.. i know you CAN block the outgoing port of aim within the firewall.. you could then setup a cron job to allow at time X and block at time Y
 

Hoven

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2003
122
0
Columbus, OH (USA)
jsw said:
FWIW, if you run the following command in Terminal:
Code:
ps -aux | grep iChat.app | grep -v grep | awk '{print $10}'
it'll tell you in HH:MM:SS.MS (MS = milliseconds) format how much CPU iChat has consumed - not how long it's been active.

If you run instead
Code:
ps -aux | grep iChat.app | grep -v grep | awk '{print $9}'
it'll tell you when the app was started.

Of course, all she'd need to do would be to stop and restart the app to throw those numbers off.
This is interesting. It makes me wonder if there isn't some creative way to use cron or some such. Hmmm.. cron kicks off a job to see how long iChat's been running. Or, I could change the iChat icon on the dock to actually run a script which does a "launch iChat", "countdown 1 hour", "Kill iChat". Then I could enhance by adding a "have I run iChat yet today" in the script and I'd be pretty close.

Hmmm... too bad I'm not a very good Unix script writer. But you did give me some ideas.
Thanks!
 

Hoven

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2003
122
0
Columbus, OH (USA)
Logik said:
unfortunately i know of no ideas for this other than to point you to Tiger. Which has parental controls and ways of limiting certain applications... i know it's a good 2 months off but if you are willing to continue the low tech method until then you can buy the upgrade and get the features as part of that OS upgrade.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/parental.html
...
Well, this I like!
I didn't upgrade to Panter (I'm still on 10.2) 'cause I'd only just purchased the eMac (but of course too long after Panther for a free upgrade). At this point, I was just going to wait for Tiger... now I've got another good reason to upgrade when it comes out.
Thanks for that info!
 

Logik

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
616
0
Hoven said:
Well, this I like!
I didn't upgrade to Panter (I'm still on 10.2) 'cause I'd only just purchased the eMac (but of course too long after Panther for a free upgrade). At this point, I was just going to wait for Tiger... now I've got another good reason to upgrade when it comes out.
Thanks for that info!
good deal.. i believe 10.2 has the firewall stuff in it does it not? if so then you can still block outgoing traffic on the AIM port and use cron to enable/disable this at certain times.. you probably missed this and replied before i edited the post... in such a hurry to post sometimes my brain is a bit ahead of my typing :)

upon further inspection...

a program called BrickHouse can make setting up your firewall easy as pie..
http://personalpages.tds.net/~brian_hill/brickhouse.html

read the ipfw manual... in terminal... "man ipfw"

or look at the firewall info on freebsd.org (they use ipfw as well)
 

iindigo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
719
10
San Francisco, CA
unfaded said:
Or, give her her own user and let her be on whenever without being bothered by your workspace :)
Ditto - that way, when you log in to your account, iChat is switched offline.

Being a 15-year old with iChat, email, forums, etc., I must say, please don't limit her iChatting other than separate accounts. It really hurts me deeply when I cannot talk to my friends online, etc. I'm guessing she feels the same way -

And I don't mean to question your parenting at all, as I am young and naive - but why do you want to limit her iChat time? If she's got straight A's and keeps up here chores, I see no reason to limit her time.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Logik said:
good deal.. i believe 10.2 has the firewall stuff in it does it not?
Yup. I had to open the port to allow iChat to get through. I think that even 10.1 had a firewall.....
 

DanTekGeek

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2004
263
0
Denver, CO
Hoven said:
Well, maybe girls are different (and, my daughter is different from most girls). She hates talking on the phone, but lives by iChat & Text Messaging on her cell phone. Also, she's basically a straight "A" student, so I can't really complain about that or hold grades over her (I know, if she's an "A" student, what do I care... briefly put, Time Management and Sleep!)
I don't think she's worried that her friends will be mad. She just can't stand not to be on and see who's on. Can't say I blame her, still...
Thanks!
I'm the same way. I cant stand the phone, but I live on line. I think that eventually she will settle into a routine of using ichat more as communication than as a fun past time.
 

oingoboingo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2003
988
0
Sydney, Australia
Hoven said:

Hi all!
Well, here's the skinny...
I have, at home, the combination of a 15 year old daughter, an eMac and iChat. She uses the eMac for schoolwork, but alas (as you may have guessed), she is also always on iChat!

When I complain, she say "But I have my away message up!". Of course, that doesn't keep her friends from chatting or her from responding.

At the risk of my completely destroying her "social life" (her words :rolleyes: ), I'd like to know if there is some way to control iChat's "up time", (time of day, or total time per day, or not-with-other-apps-running, or whatever).

Thanks!
PS. And for the record, am am also using standard, low-tech parenting techniques, but still... a Mac system solution would be a good addition to my toolbox.


Add an entry to your cron scheduler file which changes the permissions of the iChat executable at various times of the day (using the Unix 'chmod' command). That way you can automatically make iTunes executable or not at predefined times.
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Hoven said:
Hmmm... not a bad idea if it's available on my LinkSys router. Although, ideally, i'd like not to have to be there to activate or deactivate it. I'd love to have it timed some how.

But I'll check the setup pages on the router.
Thanks!
Here's a snapshot of my LinkSys router setup (showing the possibilities)...
 

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jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
Ah, the assumed rights of the young.

Internet access at home is not a right. It's a privilege. Parents pay for it. They can restrict it (well if they know how... ;)). Life sucks.
 

DickArmAndHarT

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2004
263
0
good deal

iindigo said:
Ditto - that way, when you log in to your account, iChat is switched offline.

Being a 15-year old with iChat, email, forums, etc., I must say, please don't limit her iChatting other than separate accounts. It really hurts me deeply when I cannot talk to my friends online, etc. I'm guessing she feels the same way -

And I don't mean to question your parenting at all, as I am young and naive - but why do you want to limit her iChat time? If she's got straight A's and keeps up here chores, I see no reason to limit her time.

Good Deal...Yet what i would do..is explain to her how..iChat sucks..although its certainly pretty they chose form over function on that one..Well that is if you not using a web cam. Sorry for a somewhat useless comment but i think you have plenty of other suggestions
 

timnosenzo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2004
889
0
ct, us
jsw said:
Ah, the assumed rights of the young.

Internet access at home is not a right. It's a privilege. Parents pay for it. They can restrict it (well if they know how... ;)). Life sucks.
Haha, well said!
 

jaseone

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2004
1,245
57
Houston, USA
Are you sure your daughter isn't just going to be able to easily get around any restrictions you put in place? Restrictions like that at home are nothing like restrictions at the workplace and I know I for sure wouldn't have any qualms about doing whatever it took to get around any measures like that my parent's put in place.

I also spent a LOT of time online chatting when I was younger and it didn't really do me any harm as it doesn't seem to be with your daughter so you might actually create more issues with her by trying to restrict her access so just be careful that you don't turn a good situation into a bad one, it doesn't take much to make a teen rebel. :cool: