Are your kids staying up half the night playing online games and chatting with strangers? Are they driving you nuts because they just won't get off the Internet even though you've told them a thousand times to do so?
Wouldn't it be great if you could just somehow press a magic button from anywhere in the house and their Internet connections would be instantly severed?
It's the ultimate in parental power and control - and available in a new product called Best NetGuard.
There are all kinds of monitoring software that will show you where your kids are surfing, when they're going there and what they're doing once they've landed. And they can help regulate the amount of time as well as restrict the places to which your kids can go. But you have to first install them and then set them up, all of which takes quite a bit of effort.
Best NetGuard is an elegantly simple, direct approach. It's easy to install, gives you complete control, is inexpensive and, when used judiciously, can be very effective in helping to curtail too much Internet use.
Basically, the mantra of Best NetGuard is "Disconnect and Protect." It lets you instantly sever the Internet connection of one or all of your computers from anywhere in the house. Consisting of a tiny remote control that easily fits on any keychain, Best NetGuard looks a lot like one of those remotes you use to lock and unlock your car.
The other part of the Best NetGuard system is the tamper-proof locking clip that's affixed to a short Ethernet cable assembly. This works by first cutting off the little plastic locking tab you would normally depress to remove the Ethernet plug from a socket into which it plugs. Then you slide the provided MOD-LOC clip into the jack on top of the modular plug until it snaps in place. Once that's done, the only way to remove the Ethernet plug would be to cut the MOD-LOC tab and, of course, any parent would be able to see that immediately with only a cursory inspection.
Once installed, operation couldn't be more simple. There are just two buttons on the little remote control. Press the red ON button to activate the device and the OFF button to stop it. The Best NetGuard has a range of around 75 feet, which should be more than ample for most households.
So when you want your kids offline, just reach into your pocket and press the little red button. The wails of anguish emanating from their rooms will most certainly confirm that your Best NetGuard is fully operational.
Best NetGuard sells for $49.95 and is available at www.bestnetguard.com/calp.html
Craig Crossman is a national newspaper columnist writing about computers and technology.