I don't want to be a bad mom, but... [how to limit son's time on iMac]

Discussion in 'macOS' started by karinatwork, May 2, 2014.

  1. karinatwork macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    #1
    ... somehow I have to help my son (12) to limit the time he spends on his (yes, HIS) computer. His grandpa got him a used iMac for Christmas, and because it was his computer, I let him be the admin for it.

    5 months later, we are desperate. I don't want to take the control away from him, but I need to be able to limit his computer time. I wish there was a program that would force the iMac to shut down after a certain amount of time (NOT AT a certain time), that is password protected by another password, not the admin's password.

    I know that creating a new user for him and take his admin password away would be the easiest thing for me, but I just don't want to have to do that to him. :(

    Any help would be very, very much appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #3
    Thanks, but it doesn't.
    It will force me to make him a sub-user on his own computer.
     
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #4
    What is wrong with that? You are the parent and he the child.
     
  4. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

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    #5
    I had a Commodore 64 when I was in High School. I spent many, many hours on it. My parents never tried to shape my use of it nor did they impose any time restrictions on it.

    I gamed. Learned to program. Used flight simulators. Wrote project programs for my Algebra and Physics classes. Became totally enamored towards complex math, physics, and science.

    Fast forward 3 decades. I'm a senior nuclear operator, specializing in instruction of trainees and managing hundreds of people and the qualifications program to certify them. I am an avid astronomer, write apps for iOS, and usually tend to be the guy people come to when they need help with Excel or Access.

    Why exactly do you want to limit his use? Just curious, not judging. :)
     
  5. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #6
    Before running the gamut on chopping the mac time, I'd want to know what he's doing on it. If he's browsing, reading, learning it's not so bad to be on there. If it's other things you don't approve on then of course you want to take action. There are a lot worse things in life than to be on a computer. I find it's better to introduce things that are worth spending time away from the mac rather than just limiting usage.
     
  6. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    Do you think your Commodore is what enabled you to be where you are? I would argue most children grow up to have a career of some nature. I would also bet that that career is not tied to a game console they used when younger.

    There is nothing wrong with discipline when it comes to children
     
  7. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #8
    Hey, I get it. I'm the first to defend him from anyone who may object to him having his own computer in his room. I would never let him have a TV in his room, but a computer is so much more than just "consuming content".

    He's heavy into Minecraft. And with heavy, I mean heavy. He has his own YouTube channel where he posts videos of himself playing. He did a lot of installing updates and fiddling with servers and stuff like that. He created.
    Now he is only playing (online with his friends), while they skype at the same time. It's like an addiction. And when I invite him to do other activities, because he already spent too much time on the computer, it's a battle. Every day. I'm just tired of the battles.

    I'm wondering if having some sort of timer on the computer that reminds him how much time he already spent playing would bring my point across better. Yes, I would prefer it if he didn't have an option to turn that timer off, but I'm thinking even a simple timer like Shuttie could do the trick.

    I do not want to make him a "user" on his own computer, also because it would mean he would have to start from scratch with all the settings and programs and files and such. This would be only my very last resort.
     
  8. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

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    #9
    Like iMacFarlane, I also discovered computers when I was young (12). I spent all my time on my Apple ][, wrote some freeware applications, did some things that maybe I shouldn't have… but all that experience positioned me to breeze through my computer classes and later get a career as a software engineer.

    At the time, I suspect my parents were proud of my computer accomplishments but hated that I spent all my time on it. It was hard for them to get me to come to dinner if I was in the middle of trying to figure something out. When they grounded me they'd confiscate the power cord.

    I can understand wanting to limit the computer time -- kids should be well balanced. And I was, until the Apple came along. What if you moved the computer to a common area in the house and set some restrictions on when he could use it? But, like BenTrovato said, find out what he's doing on it. If he's just on Facebook or YouTube, you may have more incentive to limit his exposure than if he's doing computer art or programming.
     
  9. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

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    #10
    Which is perfectly OK. He is a sub-user in your home. You own the desk the iMac sits on, the power it runs off, you pay the internet he surfs, you feed his warm body ... why hesitate to establish boundaries?

    Alternative: let him use the Mac all he wants, but restrict his internet time.
     
  10. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #11
    You hit the nail on the head with that.

    And maybe I am getting some people mad at me for saying that, but I'm sure that while the world is full with people who have accomplished a lot because of the time they spent on a computer when they were young, but the world is fuller with people who have not accomplished anything because of the time they spent on a computer when they were young.

    ----------

    How do I do that? I know there is a way I can schedule WiFi time with the airport utility, but I don't know of any countdown timer that does the same.
     
  11. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #12
    This. Turn off the cable box at 9:00 PM. Of course then you'll have to worry about your neighbor's Wi-Fi. :)

    A.
     
  12. Richdmoore macrumors 68000

    Richdmoore

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    #13
    What about some of those video game devices that kills the power to the tv/computer after so much use age or during a curfew?

    Of course, besides the issue of killing the power vs a normal shutdown, if your child is able to obtain another power cable (the a/c plug is usually locked into the cutoff device) they can be circumvented.

    I still think a low tech solution of putting any computers outside the child's room, and manually enforcing usage limits in person is the best vs a gadget.

    Here is an example:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0016FYIJM?pc_redir=1398812859&robot_redir=1
     
  13. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

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    #14
    I think you got across what I was thinking better than I was able to. In response @Dukebound85, I understand discipline, and never questioned her desire to use it. I also spent a lot of time building stuff with legos when I was very young. That's a parallel with minecraft today, in a way. If the kid is busy solving problems, building things, or being creative, why limit that? But if he's doing something unsavory, or trying to rack up 1000 headshots in call of duty, or obsessing over facebook tripe, sure, cut the cord.
     
  14. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #15
    Well, Minecraft isn't just about building things. Right now, listening to him shouting into his microphone, it's about killing (creepers and whatnot). It's that what makes me want to limit his time. Nothing else. It hasn't always been this way. Before, he was into building. Now it's all about survival.

    His computer is in his room, but my office is right next to his room, so yes, I hear what's going on. And it kinda worries me a bit.
     
  15. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #16
    I laughed. We all get something different out of Minecraft. :)

    I would consider moving the iMac into your office, making it the 'computer room' and doing your computing together. It might help him retain his humanity for a little longer. :)

    A.
     
  16. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

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    #17
    Flip the breaker to his room. No electricity after a certain hour. ;)

    It may be his computer but who is paying for the internet and the electricity?
     
  17. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

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    #18
    I think the first step, if you haven't already, is to talk with him about it.
     
  18. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #19
    ... or, drive me into insanity. :D

    ----------

    Done. Done and done. And only because the talking and reasoning doesn't seem to help, I am looking for new ways to "manage" his computer time.
     
  19. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #20
    On a practical note, this is incorrect.

    All that's necessary is to create a new admin account, then remove the admin privilege from your son's account, all while using the new admin account. All his settings, programs, and files will remain as they were.

    You can even test this by creating a new admin account, removing admin privilege from the son's account, and seeing if everything still works in that account as it did before. If not, then either make corrections (usually minor futzing with access permissions), or restore the son's account to admin privilege.

    If you go that route, there are additional precautions to take to ensure there are no easily accessible ways to circumvent the access controls and regain admin status. In addition to those technical controls, it should be made clear that circumvention is a severely punishable offense.
     
  20. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #21
    I had no idea. Thank you!!
    This gives me an enormous amount of leverage.
    Now I can tell him to either a) monitor himself, or b) I will do it for him (with all the consequences that follow). I am sure he'll choose option a). I will give him the tools (a timer app) to do that. He is usually pretty good about following rules.

    "Severely punishable offense..." Wow. That scares even me!
     
  21. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #22
    If he has a computer in his own room, Minecraft is the least of your worries!

    Tell him that after a certain time the computer goes off. If he disagrees or complains tell him it will be removed from his room.

    Tell him he can earn extra computer time if he completes chores or gets a good school report.

    If he gets a bad one his hours will be reduced.
     
  22. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #23
    I guess we're pretty lucky parents. He is a very good kid. I am just quite a strict mom, because I am a big believer of nipping issues in the butt before they become problems. He's a grade A student, and he loves doing math just as much as he loves doing sports. (I hated both equally).

    Problem is, his mom is a pretty big nerd herself, who needs to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. :cool:
     
  23. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #24
    Speaking as a former kid in love with technology, be sure to lay out specific consequences. For example, first offense: loss of computer for 10 days or two complete weekends, whichever is longer; second offense: 30 days; etc. You should have at least 3 escalating levels, because it shows you've actually thought it through far more than he has.
     
  24. karinatwork thread starter macrumors regular

    karinatwork

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    #25
    Awesome! I came here for tech advice, but now I also get excellent parenting tips. I wouldn't have thought of that myself. Thank you! :)
     

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