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Tracking the time kids spend online – make your own internet usage tracker

Computers & Mobile

Linus Torvald has a blog and out of the gate he has a great post on a kid’s internet usage tracker he made, nice! Linus writes…

…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://

if 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…

2 thoughts on “Tracking the time kids spend online – make your own internet usage tracker

  1. Carpe says:

    our children are writing code to counter our efforts. They are signing us up for AARP spam, subscribing us to RSS feeds that house subliminal “give me $20” messages, twittering about how many steps behind we are, and texting their friends about it in a sick game of digital Marco Polo.

    To counter their efforts, I am picking crab grass in my yard in black socks and shorts. I am wearing the latest fashions of 15 years ago. I laugh uncomfortably loud around their friends and call them all by the wrong names. I recite lyrics to their favorite songs wrong and dance to them even worse.

    The embarrassment provides just enough distraction to throw some code of my own in there to make sure that the real detriments to their upbringing are kept in check.

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