May 4, 2009 Any parent who has spent time trying to prise their kids from the xBox or PlayStation to do homework or household chores is likely to welcome the GameDr Video Game Timer. Its tamper-proof controls allow you to set and enforce time limits to game playing, simply by plugging the games unit into the timer.

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 65 percent of US households play computer or video games. Eighty percent of parents impose time limits on their children’s game-playing, but of course it’s not always easy to regulate. “Just 10 minutes more” and “when I’ve got to the next level…” are familiar refrains, often causing friction and arguments.

The GameDr Video Game Timer aims to eliminate such conflicts – simply set the built-in clock and plug the power cord of the game console into the GameDr Video Game Timer. Tabs lock over the console power plug to prevent it being pulled out and a four digit code stops the timer being adjusted.

The timer alerts players when gaming time is nearly up, with a 10-minute and one minute warning, then switches off the game when the time limit is reached. Blocks of time can be set to limit game playing over a 24-hour period and the GameDr timer stores these settings, avoiding the need to reprogram it every day. It can also be set for continuous play.

A handy pause function allows players to suspend the game and resume it later, without losing the remaining time.

According to Digital Innovations, the makers of the GameDr Video Game Timer, found that more than 50 percent of parents were concerned about the amount of time their children spend playing video games. A restriction timer was the most desired feature in helping address this.

Many parents are looking for new ways to help their children avoid too much time on video consoles or computer games. In a recent article, Kimberly Young, director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, advises parents to find ways to limit video game play without blaming or criticizing. According to Young, "it is better to set and enforce time restrictions. Games should never be a child's main focus."

Digital Innovations says this is just what its video game timer does. "Our timer device enables parents to establish responsible guidelines that are flexible, so parents can modify them as situations change. This also helps children learn to become more responsible for their behavior,” says Gary Masching, CEO of Digital Innovations. “Both parents and their children win because GameDr Video Game Timer eliminates stress and removes the cause of duress that often jeopardizes a peaceful home environment.”

The ESA study also stated that that 49 percent of those playing games are aged between 18 and 49 years of age and 26 percent are over 50, which suggests that the game timer may also work just as well on partners and spouses. With 40 percent of today's gamers being female, it's just as likely to be girlfriends and wives.

The GameDr Video Game Timer will cost USD$29.99, but you’ll need to be patient. It is not available until July 2010.

Karen Sprey