Tracking the time kids spend online

Linus Torvalds's picture

I've got several machines downstairs in my basement office, of course, but in our family the others have computers too. Tove has hers in her office, and the kids share one upstairs (and we're getting to the point where I guess I'll set up a second machine for them one of these days: three kids and one computer works fine most of the time, but sometimes they have homework that requires it, and then sharing doesn't always work so well).

And obviously I'm happy with the kids being comfy with a computer, but we've set some basic rules for it. Notably, they can't just play all those flash games all the time. And sometimes, if they don't do their homework, we disallow it entirely, or - happily more commonly - we give extra time for good behaviour or for some homework that needs more googling.

But I'm a geek, and I'm not at all interested in trying to do any of this manually.

So I wrote (and recently re-wrote, since a disk crash destroyed my original) a simple internet usage tracker for them, which allows me to set usage limits per kid, and which tracks how much time they use online, and forcibly logs them off if they go over the limits. It's a stupid program, but it works pretty well (if you run Linux, of course ;), and since I had to rewrite it I asked some of the git people for help with the simple graphical UI that shows the kids how much time they have left.

So for any other Linux user with kids and git, and who wants to do the same, here's a pointer to the git summary page: tracker.git, and you can get it with
git clone git:// you want to play around with it. It's not fancy, it has no docs, no installation instructions etc, but if people are actually interested, I'll be happy to help. Why? Because I've always noticed that my own projects get so much better if others are involved, even if it's just as a user...