The Strangest Parental Control Default

I looking at the new and, in my opinion, screwed up parental controls page, I actually played with some of the controls I normally do not use, just to see if they changed as well.

One of the options allows you to select a pre-filled out time grid.  You have the options, that are kind of self-explanatory, of:

  • Weekends only (all weekend hours)
  • Friday and weekends only (which is really Friday after 3pm, so after school)
  • After school and weekends (3-6pm daily and weekends)
  • After 6pm and weekends (6pm to midnight daily and weekends)
  • After 3pm and weekends (3pm to midnight daily and weekends, i.e. sleep, go to school, play WoW life)
  • Break Time

None of those are particularly useful to me.  They would allow my daughter to play much more WoW than we would want.  But that is why I am annoyed by the new parental time control grid, because we dole out time in much smaller increments when we feel it is appropriate.

Now you will notice that I did not explain the option “Break Time.”  The others were, as I said, somewhat comprehensible by their description.  You knew what to expect, if not in full detail.

So I had to see what that last time template offered.

I've got your break time right here

Essentially, “Break Time” sets a pattern of regular two and a half hour play slots, each broken up by a 30 minute break.

This limits you to 20 hours of play a day and makes you step away from the computer at least every three hours.

I’m just wondering who would find this sort of schedule useful.

That is way too much play time to be allowed a child and way too regulated for any normal person that I know to follow and be aware of.  I would, I am sure, constantly be logging on to play about 10 minutes before break time.

Would you find this useful?  Do you know somebody who would?

6 thoughts on “The Strangest Parental Control Default

  1. dorgol

    Have they changed Parental Controls to actively log the player out of the game? I know when I used them my little dilenquent learned early on that just staying online meant they could play freely. Since this was in place to control game-time while I was at work… well, it lost all functionality for me.

    Of course, that was around 4 years ago now.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I was going to mention that in possibly another post, the whole log-out mechanism.

    Yes, parental controls will log a player out now. However, I have seen the account stay live for 45 minutes beyond the designated end time, and it regularly lasts 20-30 minutes beyond that time.

    Of course, that tidbit of information makes the whole “Break Time” schedule even more silly. You might blow through your break time and be in the next play segment before the game decides to log you out, in which case it probably won’t bother.


  3. Jason

    Who would use this? Neglected husbands and wives. Parental Controls is really a misnomer, it should just be called Access Controls. The goal here is make actually playing the game annoying enough that you start feeling that it isn’t always worth the effort and spend more time with your family.


  4. PeterD

    Back when I used the parental controls to remind me to go to bed at a decent hour (I honestly didn’t INTEND to stay up until 1 a.m. all the time, I’d just lose track of time) as soon as the end-time came up I would immediately be disconnected from the server.

    Assuming it still works like that, “break time” would probably be useful for those that play the game way too much, and could use a break now and then to eat, go to the bathroom, and otherwise not die at a station in an internet cafe in korea.

    I suspect that it’s not actually intended to be useful though, but rather to act as an escape clause against criticisms that they encourage people to stay logged on 24/7 without proper rest breaks. “See, for people who play compulsively we’ve provided this convenient tool to make them take breaks, it’s not our fault they don’t use it.”


  5. Rohan

    It might be a good default as you don’t know when the player will play. For example, if they gave you two blocks in the afternoon, people who played in the morning would complain.

    I think that they sort of expect the break to signal an end to playing, and not for the player to jump on immediately after the break ends. I think the idea is that it’s spaced throughout the day so you can start playing anytime, and you will hit a break within X hours.


  6. InvisibleMan

    I could see this being quite handy for someone who has the time to play a lot of WoW. If one week I had the option to play WoW all day rather than work, I would definitely use this to remind me when to take a break. You could of course use an alarm clock, but this is completely automatic.


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