I am not ready to get rid of the game console completely (that's the final step) because I can see that the games are fun and do allow for some social interaction when his friends come over. For now I just need a means to control the time he can play without me having to resort to shouting and threats to get him to stop.
I checked the manuals of some of the popular game consoles- they all have parental controls for game ratings, internet access, etc., but nothing to limit playing time. After pondering the situation for a little while I realized that since the video game console makers won't make the simple programming changes to allow parents to limit game playing time, I have to take matters into my own hands.
This instructable will show you what I did to give my son his life back and to reduce stress levels in my home by automatically limiting his video game playing time. Construction is very simple and takes about an hour.
Step 1: How does it work?
Are there weaknesses? Sure, but I won't point them out in case my son sees this instructable. You can figure them out for yourself easily enough. If my son has the wherewithal to develop counter-measures I will simply come up with some counter-counter-measures. I think an ever-upward spiraling war of technology wouldn't be such a bad thing- at least it would get him thinking about how to solve a problem that means something to him and THAT would be a welcome change from mindlessly twitching his thumbs at images on a TV screen.