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18 Aug, Thursday
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Montreal Families

How to get kids off the Internet

Darcy Poncsak was having trouble getting his kids to the dinner table and it wasn’t because they weren’t hungry or that the menu wasn’t to their liking. The Montreal father of four was competing for their time and attention with a true Goliath: the Internet. Poncsak knew he had to devise a way to turn off the Wi-Fi in the family’s Mile End cottage in a way that wasn’t as rude and abrupt as unplugging the router.

Enter iCMD, an app that sends a custom message to devices on the network warning them that the Wi-Fi is going to be turned off – and then turns it off. The person controlling the app can also decide which devices can stay connected. Poncsak said it could be used for anything like gathering the family for dinner or not tempting kids to go online when they’re doing homework.

“I’m an electronics engineer,” he said. “I know about telecommunications. So I figured out how to create an iPhone app.”

The app is a constant work in progress. Poncsak solicits ideas from users who tweet or email him tips on what they want to see in the app’s next updates. Someone wrote in asking him if he could incorporate a feature into the app that would allow users to turn off their routers overnight or when it’s not being used, for energy-saving purposes. He hasn’t found a simple way of doing this but it is on his to-do list.

It is available at the App store for $1.99.

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