The Gaming Krib

Bud Hunt posted in Twitter about The Gaming Krib. Here’s the basic premise of the service this company’s trying to sell:

  1. It has the ability to shut off families’ electronic media (television, computer, cell phone, etc.). [I’m not clear how it does this]
  2. Parents sign up for the service for their wayward children who’d rather play than do schoolwork.
  3. If a kid tries to play a game or watch TV, he is told "Sorry, you cannot run game, go online, turn on TV, or use phone until math questions are answered."
  4. Kid does math problems and earns time credits for use of electronic media.
  5. Both parent and child happy.

Check it out, particularly the endorsements (Daniel Pink saying “good luck” is an endorsement?). Also be sure to see the hilarious pictures for Steps 1–3 on the home page.

I like the idea… but for adults. Sorry, Mom or Dad. Too bad that you had a tough day at the office today. You can earn 10–minute allotments of time to watch TV or use the phone, though. You just have to first do the dishes, scrub the toilet, clean out the garage, run your errands, wax the floor, fold the laundry…

23 Responses to “The Gaming Krib”

  1. I thought every house came equipped with the hardware version of this…you walk down to the electrical service panel and flip all of the breakers to the OFF position…then you wait for the batteries in all of the hand held devices to die…

  2. I would add “spend time with your children” to that list of things parents would have to do as well.

    I loved that ending. What a thought-provoking argument to consider.

  3. I stayed on the site for about 5 minutes looking for the punchline or some other indication that it was a joke.

    I’m especially disappointed that they evidently “borrowed” some of their images from iStockPhoto and they’re still watermarked meaning they may have “forgotten” to pay for them…

    Steps 1, 2, and 3 are, in a word: priceless.

  4. These people are not really evolved are they? Not so much Web 2.0 as Web No point Oh no! I run the weekly ‘meat try’ raffle at my local, do you think Jeff and Dan would indorse?

    ‘ . . . I wish you all the best with your pork loin and rolled roast’

    Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Web shopping guru and meat eater

    ‘Buy a raffle ticket on Fridays at the Dog and Duck. Both sides of your brain need protein’

    Dan Pinker, author, public speaker and also meat eater.

    If this is for real then it is yet another example of the scare mongering of the Control and Command set. If GamingCrib web design is any indication of their code-work then I’d give your average prenager the time it take to make a PBJ sandwich to hack it.

    Or if they have no tech skills just go over to their friends house where the media runs free – as the parents who might purchase GamingCrib are physically and/or mentally just not home!

    I wonder if they are even aware of the contemporary meaning of ‘Crib’ I’d like to think they are that clever but I’m not certain. You’d hardly be “hanging in your (Gaming) crib with your bros!”

    Please tell me it is a wind-up

  5. Its Krib, not crib..
    Site is test, not live as it clearly states.
    It reads endorsements and well wishers, again clearly stated.
    It would seem you all needed our software and hardware solution when you were younger since your comprehension skills remain very poor (Yes Bud, it all can be done – but then they couldnt read your self important blogs!).

    But again, it seems, after reading your posts, you all feel there is no problem with our youth, education and extreme video/tv use and abuse.

    What world are you from?

    Mike |CEO|

  6. Yep, I was too involved in sports when young, never learned how to write correctly. 😉

  7. While it might appear fun to throw rocks at someone else’s house, I think we might be missing an important point.

    I just spoke with a parent group about children and online behavior. I try to give an objective look at what sorts of activities younger children are (in general) participating in. No value judgment, no right or wrong, but just trying to make sure parents have some understanding of the world “out there”.

    One parent turned to me and asked, “How do I get my kid off the computer?” I tried to answer as best I could.

    The more I thought about the question, the more it concerned me on many levels. The most troubling part of the question was the parent’s perception of helplessness. I’m hugely afraid that as the gap of understanding grows between what parents know about their kid’s activities, the capacity of parents to help children develop limits will diminish. I’m afraid that when mom or dad does not understand what children do online, they will turn to fear, authoritarian rules or zero tolerance mentalities. None of which work well.

    I’m certainly not advocating for technologically limiting their access, as that places the locus of control on an external entity. I’d much rather help children develop that locus of control in themselves (and for them to desire balance in their lives). However, this is not an easy task for parents, and one which seems to be out of reach for many (too many).

    One final comment, I am not holding my breath that we will ever return to what it was like to be a kid when I was younger. That will not happen…. ever. It can not be wished for, and cannot be forced technologically. My kids will say the same about their kids; how they cannot believe the amount of time their kids spend doing x, y, or z. I do think the need for balance between x, y, and z will endure (and I certainly hope we don’t lose that idea of balance).

  8. Well said..we are trying to come up with ways to enhance their online experience through games, “earning” networks, edu and some other neat new tech stuff we have up our sleeves. Education online is a tough sell, so much out their. We reallly plan on presenting in a differnt way. Although our target is parents, we have a diverse Board bringing in alot of differnt topics including Broadway, Marshall Brain founder of “How it Works”, Leon Botstien, parenting experts giving “advise” and “gifts” for the kids from major vendors to motivate the unmotivated (we are creating a online game). Yes, I counseled many parents while a Social Worker, the biggest struggle was “he/she wont do his homework!” Hopefullly our tools will help. And if anyone cares to join our design, we are in a google group, email me…mike

  9. Michael, I appreciate your willingness to dive into the dialogue about your company. Clearly you feel very passionately about what you are working on, while many of my readers are quite appalled. It strikes me that you and I might have an interesting conversation about the perceived problem that your products are trying to address and the solutions that you are bringing to bear. I wonder if you would be willing to do an interview with me that I could record and post as a podcast. I promise an even-handed interview: no softball questions but no attempts to trap or trick you either. You game?

  10. Sounds fun…two way though…read this as I asked Ken Auletta to: before I did an interview with The New Yorker on edu. Be prepared to answer my questions as well, in regards to accountabilty of educators, like yourself. Why in the digital age, with all new tools, has reading decreased, drop out rates increased among other indicators? When Steve Jobs was asked recently what he thought of Amazon’s new digital reading device he said its technical virtues or vices didn’t matter because it would fail. Why? Because, he said, one half of Americans read no more than one book per year. Do you agree with Steve? If so, how can the digital age change these appalling stats?
    Other than having “poor” endorsemens and my spelling errors on our test site, I really would like to know, do your bloggers live on this planet?

  11. I don’t appreciate the kneejerk insults directed at me in the comments above, Michael, particularly since I learned about your site via a comment that you left on my “self-important” blog. I find your product, sir, if it’s a real one, to be a really bad idea. Convince me otherwise, and you’ll have my support. If not my respect.

  12. I like that idea of metering parents. I can think of a few other groups as well. You are correct. The idea of delegating automated processes to monitor and control children is one that I don’t think can succeed. Any time you’re so out of touch – whether it’s with kids, employees or customers, that you have to resort to mindless metering or draconian controls, you’re in big trouble.

    The Gaming Krib isn’t intended for that purpose, and, in fact its authors realize that “locks are for honest people”, that meters can be rigged and controls be bypassed. It is not intended to replace parental – or child – responsibility, but rather to define a contract and assist in keeping the contractees compliant. And in the process, to try and facilitate the learning process.

    It’s not all stick and it’s not all carrot, and if the participants don’t wish to play nicely, it can’t work at all. Which is probably its weakest point, as you’ve pointed out. The concept is experimental, and it may not succeed. But similar social contracts have been tried and worked well (for some, if not all). The addition of the technological aspect is just a sign of the times.

    Don’t dismiss it out of hand – it might just work.

  13. FYI, in the interest of transparency, Tim is VP of Engineering for The Gaming Krib. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Tim!

  14. Bud,
    My post was a question on your blog not a comment, sent to your blog by Frank Dance, an active Board member at one time, and I believe Co-Worker at CSU.
    “Join or Build?” does not mean character assassinate a web page in design, scope and depth when we only present to a few select individuals who we believe that would contribute and add to direction in a diverse way. We are new, unpaid, around thirty five people invloved trying to enhance and maximise the full potential learning experience for children via the internet. I’am sorry I have offended your skills as a writer.

  15. Hey Mike….

    Quick question from another self-important edublogger:

    Why so combative with an audience that might just be your biggest sounding boards?

    Like most of the teachers who are actively blogging, I’ve given hundreds of hours worth of free consulting hours to companies that seek to work their way into the education market because they’re willing to listen and open to the idea that educators might just have a clue about how to improve their final product.

    In those conversations, none have been as offensive as you were early in this comment strand.

    I take it your work really isn’t about education, then? If you spurn educators, this must be all about the bottom dollar, huh?

    You’ve lost me—and I haven’t even explored your product.

    Bill Ferriter

  16. Hi All

    According to a Kaiser Foundation Study, children
    between 8 and 14 spend an average of over 4 hours
    per day watching TV and/or videos.

    That’s a huge amount of passive viewing.

    I’m not a member or employee of Gaming Krib, but
    I do support their goal of providing another way for
    parents to limit how much TV their kids watch.
    Gaming Krib obviously is not the only TV limiting
    product out there, but the more choice the better.

    Also, a common piece of advice put out by *educators*
    is that parents should supervise their kids internet
    activity. Cyber-bullying is not uncommon, so it is
    important for parents the make sure their kids don’t
    become victims or perpetrators of cyber-bullying.

    In a perfect world there would be numberous inexpensive
    and or free after-school programs (like the Boys and
    Girls Club) to keep kids busy after school, or one parent
    would be home when the kids get home after school. But
    the reality is a large number of kids are home alone
    after school until their parents get home from work.
    And even after the parents get home, many kids are
    still glued to the screen.

    A product like Gaming Krib that helps control TV viewing,
    internet usage, and video game playing sounds like a
    very good idea to me.

    And, other than pretty trivial criticisms, I don’t really
    understand the reason for the hostility and contempt…

  17. Correction: According to a Kaiser Foundation Study, children
    between 8 and 14 years old, spend an average of over 4 hours
    per day watching TV and/or videos.

  18. Terry, thanks for bringing this back from the dead. I didn’t respond the first time due to the hostility.

    Lots of time people knock education for working on those “frills” like athletics, clubs, etc. It seems that these are the things that should be replacing TV time. Not that doing homework isn’t important, but involvement with peers teaches a lot of the “soft skills” that employers and society actually appreciate having around.

  19. I’m an educator and consultant who’s spent about 15 years teaching both adults and children (public middle and high schools), developed curricula for the NYCDOE and CONYSCS (both for students and teachers; my area of expertise was introducing computer-assisted education into Special Education classrooms and developing curricula for teaching technology skills to faculty).

    I was contacted personally by Mike Vitelli and asked to join the development group at Gamingkrib; Mike’s description of the technical aspect of the project was intriguing, and I thought (and still think) it has enormous potential. They were looking for a VP of Education, and after being granted access to the group, participating in the development forum, and being asked to give my opinion on the wireframes and VLS, I was suddenly and mysteriously dropped from the dev group, no explanation, not even a thank you for my time and trouble. Not very professional or business-like. Mike still hasn’t returned my call or emails.

    Perhaps the site isn’t intended to really educate kids, but rather to cash-in on the current mania for technological, internet-based solutions to the admittedly enormous problems of our bureaucratic, monopolistic system of public education.

    I’d like to see games that do more than entertain children with mindless, pandering, simplistic objectives… it’s interesting that the Harry Potter series of movies has probably done more to encourage kids to read than Small Worlds, Swat Assault, Minesweeper, Solitaire, or Hannah Montana Trivia. I learned more watching Sesame Street, the Electric Company, and Zoom.

    I still think it’s a great concept but perhaps needs someone at the helm more willing to consider viewpoints and ideas from educators; perhaps someone less combative and arrogant, with more vision.

    I’d like to see Gamingkrib succeed in educating kids and make a buck.

  20. Michael Vitelli is trying to make himself millionaire using professionals for free. at least you must pay a salary to the people, because they will not live of promises.

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