How to keep tabs on kids' TV time


March 07, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

If you're concerned about how much time your kids are spending watching television, on the computer or playing video games, you might consider the EyeTimer system.

EyeTimer lets parents regulate the amount of time their kids spend using electronic equipment. Once the EyeTimer software is installed on the home computer, which acts as the brain of the system, and EyeTimer switches are hooked up to TVs and video games, parents can set up "Time Budgets." When kids want to use the computer, TV or video games, they must sign in. Their time spent using the electronic equipment is then deducted from their budget. If they exceed their time allowance, EyeTimer turns off the device.

If kids have schoolwork to do on the computer, they can simply click on "Study Mode," which deducts no time. All activity is recorded in a "Study Mode" log for parents to view.

EyeTimer software costs $39.95, and an EyeTimer switch is $79.95. Various combinations are available. To order, visit or call 866-EYE-TIMER.

Around the world in 1,000 pictures

It really is a small world after all. Just take a look at the pictures in the book The Way We Live (Clarkson Potter, 2003, $75) by Stafford Cliff, with photographs by Gilles de Chabaneix.

The encyclopedic book features 480 pages filled with more than 1,000 color pictures and captioned descriptions of home interiors and exteriors, objects and ornaments, landscapes, marketplaces, people and more, from around the globe. While there are clear cultural contrasts, the similarities in architectural and decorating styles are sometimes striking, as well.

See lavish bathrooms, humble kitchens and ornate bedrooms from cities around the world. Catch a glimpse of a lush sitting room in Versailles and an unadorned one in Vietnam. View a modern London flat, an Indian palace, a modest Mexican dwelling and a beach house in Chile. And leaf through the section titled "Windows on the World," which showcases a myriad of windows, from Bombay to Provence.

The book is available at

Free help with window coverings

Whether you're looking to spruce up your home decor or to save a little money, or you have just settled into a new home or are a new parent, Hunter Douglas wants to help you select your window coverings. The company has just published four eight-page consumer guides with tips and ideas on "Special Windows: Solutions for Unusual Shapes," "Energy Efficiency for Your Home," "Moving In: Your New Home" and "Child Safety for Your Home."

Booklets are free and available by calling 800-937-STYLE, or can be downloaded at


* The exhibit Kenneth Martin: New Work at MICA, features wood sculptures by Martin, who teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art. It runs through March 16 at the school's Pinkard Gallery, 1401 Mount Royal Ave. Call 410-225-2300 for hours.

* See vases, bowls, pitchers and serving dishes on display as part of the exhibit Stoneware Pottery by Joe Vitek: Celebrating 35 Years of Craftsmanship in Clay, through March 29 at Clay Orbit, 10918 York Road, Cockeysville. Call 410-329-1440 for hours.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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