My child is a real tech wiz and has hacked or worked around everything else we have done. How is this different?
There are many ways traditional parental control methods can be bypassed - click here for a white paper on this subject. Cycles of failed limit settings can contribute to problematic video gaming and addiction. The Sentinel Gaming System has been designed to overcome these limitations:
1. It has dedicated custom hardware maintaining a secure connection to remote servers to enforce limits. It does not rely on the operating system to enforce usage limits which can be too easily defeated or bypassed. The Sentinel Gaming System does not rely on parental control software of any kind, which can be detected and removed by a motivated, tech-savvy individual.
2. Parents don’t have to be the Windows System Administrator for the system. Not only are they not burdened as the day-to-day policeman and IT department for the system they also aren't vulnerable to manipulation or accidentally allowing the user access to the parental controls. Set the Sentinel configuration and if you need to make a change, this can also be done easily and quickly from any web browser (including your smart phone). No more forgetting to change the settings back! Holiday and one time setting changes make this both convenient and secure.
3. The Sentinel detects software tampering and physical sensors detect intrusion into the hardware - whether the system is plugged in or not. The system is rendered inoperable until reset by an authorized individual. The motherboard and other hardware within the system are custom and cannot be operated or bypassed by a user opening or reconfiguring the system.
My child needs a computer for homework. How can I stop him from playing games or watching videos instead of doing homework?
Nothing can force a child to do homework when they defiantly refuse, but we can help ensure that computer games or videos are not the distraction. Sentinel Gaming Systems feature Study Mode where the computer can be used fully but the video refresh rate (at full screen) is hardware limited to about 2-3 screen updates per second. This makes it very difficult if not impossible to play any form of action game or to watch Netflix or YouTube videos. On the other hand, word processing, online reading, educational courses, lectures, casual web browsing and listening to music works just fine. In addition, the ScreenShot feature allows you to remotely see what is on the computer screen so you can be confident your child is staying on task. Real time updates to their login allow you to kick them off altogether if you see them abusing the computer privilege.
My child already has a computer. Do you have a program or hardware I can simply install on their computer?
No. Software or hardware attachments can too easily be removed. Changing the child’s computer sends a powerful message that the “game is over”. No more cat and mouse attempts at parental control. You will see your child experience less struggle in adjusting to the change. While you may have attempted to regulate your child’s gaming excesses in the past, this will tell your child that this time it is really different.
Do you offer a laptop computer?
No, the current models are high performance gaming desktop computer systems. For various reasons we do not recommend laptop systems for those struggling with excess video gaming.
Do you offer this product for XBOX or Playstation consoles?
No but the Sentinel Gaming System itself can be used with your XBOX One or Playstation 4 console to extend the usage limit features of the Sentinel to these consoles. You simply place the console system in a locked area with direct Ethernet internet access or place it in a specially designed, locked case (click here). By launching a program on the Sentinel, you can now run the console games on the Sentinel using your existing controllers. For more information, click on the appropriate link for XBOX or Playstation.
If I limit the gaming on the Sentinel I am afraid that my child will just spend more time gaming on his smartphone or portable gaming devices. Then what should I do?
For younger children, other gaming devices can be challenging to monitor and may need to be removed. For older individuals, warn them that excess or late night use of these devices will result in these devices being removed from them. If problems persist you can ask they turn in their smart phone to you each afternoon in exchange for computer gaming time. If this is not effective, you may need to remove it from them and replace their phone service with a low cost flip phone (you may already have one). You will need to remove the smartphone even if you switch phone service as they will still be able to use it using WIFI. Also warn them that bringing in other devices into the home will result in their confiscation.
While new parental control options are being implemented by cell phone carriers, this can start another cat and mouse game. In the absence of strong parental controls for smartphones, tablets and portable gaming systems, removal is the best option.
Any other questions?
Contact us if you have any other questions.