Do you have teenage children who are glued to a computer?

I have a teenage son who thinks its ok to play games well past midnight on school nights.
So I wrote a little application to enforce what I think is a reasonable bedtime for a teen.

At 1 am, this program will shut down ALL applications without warning, and will log out the local user, so my son finds himself staring at the Windows user login menu.

#1 - Set a password on your local user
#2 - Rename the executable something less obvious (perhaps svchost.exe)
#2 - Place this application in your Startup folder (or use some other mechanism to start it) so that it starts automatically when the user account is logged in.

It works really well, it achieves the desired result, hell, I could sell this.
If you'd like to see the sourcecode, ask.
Attachments:
Posted on 2008-08-05 00:46:44 by Homer
Hi Homer,

Nide idea.

Renaming your application is a good trick but does it hide itself from the Task Manager?
Posted on 2008-08-05 05:43:31 by Vortex
I did the same with a shortcut to a bat file having something similar as this:

at 11:59PM shutdown -s -t 30 -c "It's Bedtime, better save the game now!"

but after awhile I stopped bothering. I used to stay up all night too at that age and look how well I turned out.
Posted on 2008-08-05 07:21:29 by JimmyClif
I have the AT service disabled - its a serious security risk, it can be used to escalate privilege of the local user to full SYSTEM privilege (yes, above administrator).

The application DOESNT hide itself from taskmanager - but naming the file svchost.exe will make it less obvious in the taskmanager - and it will be the only process of that name which is running under the current user's credentials, so you can easily spot it.

Posted on 2008-08-05 09:43:43 by Homer
Imho it's a bit cruel logging out and terminating stuff - would be better to password-lock the current session... that'd give him a chance to (supervised, of course :P) do a save of whatever game.

I'm against such draconian measures anyway, I used to sit up late as well, and look how well... erm... look how I turned out. Um.. err.. better look to JimmyCliff as a role model. But hey, better having him hang in front of the computer than shooting heroin on the moon, right?
Posted on 2008-08-06 17:46:46 by f0dder
I'm not a heartless bastard, I'm a concerned parent.
My son is a clever kid, but he's failing at school (currently repeating year 10), and he's showing no interest in ANYTHING except for playing games, which isn't the worst preoccupation in the world, granted, however it's kinda hard to find an employer who'll pay you to do that.
His best friend has quit school, he sits around playing games 24/7 - and I'm not exaggerating.... that kid's mother is a psychologist and a single parent, she's ruined her son, he's absolutely useless. If I do nothing I am condoning it, and that would make me a bad parent, I'd never forgive myself.
I honestly hope my son defeats this simple measure, it might be the catalyst he needs to look at what ELSE he can do with a computer.
Oh - it was only cruel the first night, he has been heading off to bed at 12:30 pm every night since I took this step (half an hour before the logoff event), and there hasn't been any angst whatsoever.
Posted on 2008-08-07 00:01:47 by Homer
Kids at that age do not understand the importance of studies. They just want to have fun...
Posted on 2008-08-09 10:12:54 by roticv
1. the interest is a best teacher.
2. any skills come from Playing games, either virtual games or real games.
3. making some gameShell to pass the game easily, if he's finished the highest level on games, he'll be no any interesting on the games.
Posted on 2008-08-11 03:36:56 by dcskm4200

Kids at that age do not understand the importance of studies. They just want to have fun...


Who says studies can't be fun? I'm well under 20 myself, just finished my secondary education and going to university to study computer-science this year. Even though I have a huge passion for computers that doesn't mean I spend 24 hours in front of it/or with i. I'm having fun attending parties, hanging out with friends, AND last but not least studying. Luckily I've got several friends who shares the same interests as me which often means that LAN-parties isn't about gaming but developing and experimenting with hard- and software.

Homer regarding your son; I've got several friends who is stuck in front of their PC's 24/7 - most of them playing World of Warcraft. I am also a firm believer that such behavior is not a good sign. I know for sure, because two of those have got the lowest test/exam average in my class.
Speaking about your software, I don't think it's even a solution - preventing your son from playing games isn't going to cut it when he gets older. I believe you should focus on talking to him about his "issue". Preventing him to pay games after midnight is like trying to cut down a tree branch for branch; before reaching the last, the others will probably have grown out again. You need to cut it at the stem to prevent it from re-growing.
Talk to your son, explain to him why his behavior just doesn't work out, and help him find some -healthy- interests like sports. If the only thing you do is prevent him from playing then he’ll just find some other means to play. When he moves out you aren’t there to control it anymore – at that point he should’ve learned to control it himself. SOME people do have the ability and self-control to play games a LOT while succeeding in life, but most do not. Just remember that when explaining it – don’t generalize.
Posted on 2008-08-11 06:37:09 by pn0k
I actually did talk to him about this a few times, but like most kids (young men) his age, it went in one ear and out the other. Although I have always reasoned with him in the past, this time it was going to take more than words - especially as his social network revolves around online games. When placed in a similar situation at his age, I knew very little about programming or networking. Six weeks later, I owned that bbc microbee network, and after that, I rarely played games (my interests had expanded beyond merely wiggling a joystick). I'm not suggesting that my reaction was at all proper, but that is history, and the apple never falls far from the tree.. In regards to this software being a solution, I say on the contrary - I absolutely hope and expect he will defy me on this and break out of his cage (and I mean that on several levels). For a start, I wouldn't mind if he woke early to make up the time he's lost, that's the least I expect :D
One week ago my son was sullen, despondent, short-tempered and generally a walking zombie with an attitude problem. It's been a week, he's still opting to go to bed 30 minutes before the event and not squeezing every last second out of it (his own choice),  it doesn't take 30 minutes to wake him in the morning now, there's other machines he could sneak onto here but he hasn't bothered, he actually seems happier, less terse and more aware and awake since his brain is now on day shift.. he hasn't shouted at anyone all week - did I do the wrong thing?
Posted on 2008-08-11 10:36:33 by Homer

I actually did talk to him about this a few times, but like most kids (young men) his age, it went in one ear and out the other. Although I have always reasoned with him in the past, this time it was going to take more than words - especially as his social network revolves around online games. When placed in a similar situation at his age, I knew very little about programming or networking. Six weeks later, I owned that bbc microbee network, and after that, I rarely played games (my interests had expanded beyond merely wiggling a joystick). I'm not suggesting that my reaction was at all proper, but that is history, and the apple never falls far from the tree.. In regards to this software being a solution, I say on the contrary - I absolutely hope and expect he will defy me on this and break out of his cage (and I mean that on several levels). For a start, I wouldn't mind if he woke early to make up the time he's lost, that's the least I expect :D
One week ago my son was sullen, despondent, short-tempered and generally a walking zombie with an attitude problem. It's been a week, he's still opting to go to bed 30 minutes before the event and not squeezing every last second out of it (his own choice),  it doesn't take 30 minutes to wake him in the morning now, there's other machines he could sneak onto here but he hasn't bothered, he actually seems happier, less terse and more aware and awake since his brain is now on day shift.. he hasn't shouted at anyone all week - did I do the wrong thing?


There are many struggles to define what is "right" and what is "wrong" when raising a child. However, there are some things in which analysis or justification need not apply, as they should be taught until they are seemingly-innate behavior.

If your intentions are to benefit your child in terms of better health, education, self-discipline, initiative or responsibility... things they will need to survive and thrive in this world with honor and integrity (i.e. to not be yet another useless waste of space)... and it is done without true emotional, psychological or physical damage... then there should be no question as to the morality of your decisions.

However, and to not be too "black and white" about this particular situation, you may wish to simply ask your son what is going on. Some reasons for playing games are obvious, but some are not.

Drowning himself in games seems to me that he wishes to defer to a fantasy world rather than dealing with some real world issues. Games are fun, and it is easy to lose track of time. Most games put you in situations where you have to complete amusing and/or challenging problems; it creates a sense of purpose that is realistically and clearly obtainable... even if it is a futile virtual investment.

Perhaps one of those issues may be a struggle in defining what he really wants to do with his life. Perhaps he has no sense of purpose in this world. Perhaps he is just yielding to default human nature of preferring fun/pleasure over everything else, i.e. a lack of discipline.

Whatever the reason is, the bottom line remains the same... he has consistently failing at school and there is a direct line between this failure and his addiction to video games. Until you can analyze and cure the problem, you will have to at least remedy the symptoms.. and that is only result of your care and greater experience in this world.
Posted on 2008-08-12 21:53:19 by SpooK