SlouchPotato - A health-data driven parental control framework

What if I could easily restrict access to games on my ipad and iphone based on the actual health data goals we set for and with our children?

I have two boys, aged 4 & 2. They love playing on the ipad and iphone. My 4 year old is an absolute whizz and It’s great for them.

But, everything in moderation. He’d easily sit there all day playing it if he could.

Then we argue about how long is appropriate, all the while, my wife and I figuring out how to apply acceptable rules of engagement (yes, it becomes a military exercise).

I had an idea which I tried on my 4 year old. What if I told him that, this game, has a rule that if you don’t spend enough time outside, riding your bike, the game would be locked. It’s not me. It’s the game.

Everything changed. Suddenly, there was no tantrum. It was a challenge.

Rudi: “So I have to ride my bike really fast?”

Me: “Yep, until this number goes up and then you unlock the game”

And so it went. You wont believe me, but everynight before bed-time for weeks, Rudi would actually ask me to go and work on the idea as a condition of him going quietly and passively to sleep!

So at the Hackbmth gathering I decided to actually make a version of this idea and plug it into an iOS game. Unfortunately I was only there for about 2 hours before I had to leave, so it had to be quick. Fortunately, thanks to the Nuwe platform and the iOS SDK and UI Library, it was!

I wrote part 1 of a post explaining how I got started to hook up:

  • A back end, powered by Nuwe
  • Access to health data through Nuwe
  • Connecting to wearables, through Nuwe iOS SDK

Here’s the landing page I created for the concept:

Part 2 will follow shortly where I’ll show you how I setup:

  • Framework settings, where I can set Health Goals, using Nuwe NUScore system, targeting Activity, Nutrition and Biometric goals
  • Set an override PIN, so that I can be bribed or blackmailed and unlock the game

It’s just a bit of fun, but honestly has worked a treat with Rudi for the game I plugged it into .

The next steps I think would be:

Petition: This seems like a great campaign to petition game developers to include this as a parental control option in games. It’s not in their commercial interests (or maybe it is, if being responsible and good is, as I believe it to be, good for business).

Framework: extract this iOS library as a framework that makes it very easy for game developers or even Apple to include into Game Center, for that matter!