Keep Your Kids In Line With A Time Clock

When the cat’s away the mice will play, but a least you’ll know when they came home if you use this time clock. It’s called the Kid-e-log and [John Boxall] developed it to help a friend who wanted to keep track of their teenage children’s after school activities while they were still at work. He figured having them punch a time clock would at least let you know if they came straight home as they were supposed to. An RFID tag was issued to each (no, they didn’t implant the tags) and used to record the time. To keep fraud to a minimum the hardware has a battery back-up for its real-time clock, and the tag read events are stored to EEPROM for retention between power cycles. This doesn’t prevent common tricks like taking the reader with you, or sending your tag with a sibling, but it’s a start. See it in action after the break.


[Thanks Panikos]

68 thoughts on “Keep Your Kids In Line With A Time Clock

  1. Talk about control issues! Bet this same clown has GPS tracking on all of their cell phones too. Oh, and lest not forget a full profile for each of the kids play buddies.

    Smells to me like these are some kids that are gonna need some serious therapy some day!

  2. Not really helicopter parenting, its not like the rfids have a GPS module and wifi that transmit there location all the time, its more like calling the kids to make sure they are at the location they said they would be, he could implament this with a door lock so even if the kids had a sibling clock in for em, then they might not be able to get into the house.

  3. This is a cool build, so props to the designer. I would like to add that it would be infinitely simpler to just write some code to snap their picture with a webcam and have it encrypted with a date+time stamp. The parents can just look at the snapped images to see their kid and the time it was snapped. It would solve the problem of someone else punching in or the photo being taken elsewhere (you would probably notice if the surrounding image is now the back of a car rather than your living room).

  4. Helicopter parenting would be following your kid home from school and telling them how to do their homework. It eventually prevents kids from learning crucial decision making skills.

    This is more just a “come home right after school if you choose to, but I’ll know what you choose.” tool.

  5. This isn’t an undue level of concern, in my opinion. If a child tells you he’s going to be home at 4pm, then if he’s not (and hasn’t called [because all kids have cell phones now… i see eight year olds rollin down the road on their bike texting] to explain/ask permission) then it’s a valid cause for parental concern.

  6. I think the same… Control issues…

    Lucky for him it isn’t with me he’s trying that out… I would just split it into pieces while he was away and reprogram it / change the circuit so I had some way of cheating it…

    Fuck parental control!
    (says the guy who is logging all times when his parents is accessing his room…. XD – Child control is okay…)

  7. Or you could simply phone your house phone at a random time just after 4pm to see if they’re in.

    A alternate idea is to trust your children, and if you don’t, then don’t leave them unsupervised until you do…

    … Combined with a sound telling off and withdrawal of Internet and mobile phone privileges if they do it wrong.

  8. @SpiffWilkie: You either can get your kids to come back home at a specified time/call you when they’re late or you can’t. If you can’t, then you just simply fail at parenting. Those kids will never learn responsibility…just routine (wake up, stamp out and go to school, come back and stamp in, go sleep, repeat)

    1. Even worse he immortalized his lack of trust in his kids on the Internet so they can hold it against him in the future. What a fucking retard. I hope in the future your kids look this up and say ‘daddy you’re such a ass!’ after they read all these comments. Then they’ll say that daddy should’ve used his ingenuity to get a better job to live in a better city to work at home so he could watch his animals.

  9. A lot of parents are split up and/or work multiple jobs (especially in this economy). I can see this being implemented if it were to SMS when a kid gets home (to make sure they weren’t abducted) but not for checking up on their kid’s actual behavior (I was a “good kid” only as i was never caught o O ). Having it text when a kids gets home would at least give a peace of mind if I were in such a situation to need it!

    Being a parent, I raised my kids to be trustworthy (as I would define it anyways) – but it’s the low-life element that I don’t trust… two reported abduction attempts in my medium-sized town in the last year. Trust me, I know some negative effect of trying to be Big Brother to kids – and there’s a fine line between protecting and smothering!

    “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.”
    – Aldous Huxley

  10. Or you could raise your kids so that you can trust them so you wouldn’t need to stalk every moment of their existence which will just make them work harder at finding a way to do something bad without you knowing.

  11. Another option is to use bluetooth to determine whether or not the kids’ mobile phones are in the house. Most kids wouldn’t leave the house without their phone. You would even need to tell them how it works…

  12. Awesome concept in punishing your kids. Bad parenting 101 right there people.
    This would have to be the BEST way possible to turn your kids into future sociopaths and ready for prison life.

  13. Neat system.

    SpiffWilkie, I agree, there seem to be a few parent-less posters. From my POV, it’s the child that needs to build the parents trust, more than the reverse. The clock-in doesn’t seem very over the top to me. If the kids can manage to check in reliably, then it tells me the kid can be given more slack.

    I’m with Jeremy that a webcam with motion and/or door detection seems a lot simpler.

    I utilized a h/w keyboard logger during the first couple of years of the kids on-line life, and a logging gps for the first few months of solo driving. No, didn’t tell them, and as far as I know, they didn’t find out. If they had, that’d have been a bummer, but having them float out the door with nothing but the prayer that our parenting did the trick wasn’t my preferred option.

  14. I skimmed through part of the article more for the technological stuff than the intended use (I absolutely agree with most of the comments above). I found something interesting in the part where the guy explains (paraphrased) that by the time he was finished, the original requester had moved away – negating its necessity.

  15. Bad Parenting 102:

    For the next project in this series, a DIY ankle monitor with GPS location tracking, using a cellphone with GPS tracking, built into an ankle strap with integrated tamper alarm, so that parents won’t have to worry about their teenage daughters getting knocked up.

    Oh, wait, that might hurt a child’s self-esteem. Never mind… ;-)

  16. There was a saying once, “Trust, but verify.” All that is being done here is making sure that they were home when they were supposed to be home.

    Trusting a teenager is dangerous, I was a “good” teenager and I still went to keg parties. No one would have suspected me to have done anything out of line. There is not a teenager yet that I would trust as far as I could throw myself.

    If you don’t like this, don’t use it, your teenagers are probably real trustworthy. Some of you are teenagers, and I bet you are momma’s lil’ angel. You are so trustworthy that I am thinking about a neck bracelet to compliment this system.

    The camera addition though, that is what is needed. A picture with the log in would prevent siblings from vouching for them. Taking the RFID antennae and either using doormats or door frames as the log in points. Also fixing the tag to the cell phones is a great idea. I don’t know a teen in existence that would leave home without it.

  17. @Greycode… But still… you are probably glad you got to go to those keg parties… would you have been happier if parents + technology prevented you from *gasp* being at a party?

  18. Anyone who wants or “needs” this is a control freak. Maybe 11-13 is reasonable if you want, but teenager is a much wider range. If you don’t trust your kids don’t expect them to trust you and don’t be surprised when they vandalize your system because it’s privacy invasive or a pain.

  19. It intrigues me the impact that technology appears to have had on parenting in my (fairly short) time as an adult.

    I’m young enough to remember being a kid, I’m at the age where I might start giving serious thought to starting a family myself (as I’m all grown up and married now), perhaps part the difference is living in the UK.

    I remember clearly my parents just trusting me. If I blew that trust, shame on me. If I blew it twice, shame on them. There was always an amount of grace, an “OK, I trust you’ve learnt your lesson”, if it happened again, they’d be there waiting.

    Personally, I learnt what was acceptable and unacceptable behaviour pretty quickly. I don’t think that has a lot to do with my own intelligence level or anything. I accept some people have specific difficulties which this kind of system would be well suited to, but (the point ‘ve been working around to) I can’t help but observe that these systems appear to become more and more popular all the time.

    In the UK, it seems to have always been phone calls. Then mobiles became common place, and it’s texts / mobile calls. Now it’s facebook messages. Whatever it takes to keep tabs on people. Even when they’re 20 or more years old.

    It saddens me. Why? Because for the people I know, they’ve grown to either be unable to make their own decisions, or to resent their parenting.

    I think this is good hack, it’s interesting, and it’s got uses. Not sure I agree with what it’s being used for here.

  20. Meant to add, and forgot:

    Of course my opinion might move if I ever do become a parent. Maybe one day I will trip across a long ago archived copy of this thread on the “waybackmachine” and think “yeah, I was pretty ignorant back then”!


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