Trying to monitor my kids use of TV

Unfortunately my TV doesn’t have a parental control lock.

So I see two easy ways to monitor my kids using the TV. (1) Put a sensor on the remote control holder. This is problematic for many reasons, partly because I think my crafty kid will evade it and partly because my wife or I may forget to put the remotes back in the holder. Also I can’t even find a good device to do this – unless we bought a drawer-type remote holder. (2) Some sort of outlet that monitors use (although I wouldn’t want to actually turn the outlet on or off – just get notifications when the power was on – outlet would always be set to “on”).

Any other ideas? A motion sensor for the area is a bad idea because the kids play near the tv a lot.

I would find a smart plug with Energy Monitor. Modify the device handler to:

a. Send notice to Google Spreadsheet (via ifttt) when power exceeds 10 watts (tbd) which would indicate tv has been turned on.
b. Send another notice to Google Spreadsheet (via ifttt) when power subsequently falls below 10 watts.

There are other ways to send messages. So many more options (including text message to your phone).

You would put only the TV on the plug. You could also monitor and be notified if the plug is off-line.

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I haven’t even seen a SmartThings capable smart plug that has that feature.

I use an older version of this one to monitor my power usage and you can have smartthings turn it off after a certain amount of time or power use. You can buy it on Amazon too.

All you need is a smartthings – compatible plug which has energy monitoring. There are many of these in different protocols.

Once you get one that has energy monitoring, there are many different ways to set up rules to either log the usage or turn the device off when a power allowance has been exceeded.

Depending on the age of your kids, you will probably also need a plastic lock box to go over the outlet or they can just unplug the TV from the smart plug and plug it back into the regular socket.

So it depends on whether you want to:

A: just log the usage to review it later or

B: log the usage and receive a notification on your phone if a specific value is exceeded or

C: have the plug turn itself off after a certain amount of time

That would then determine what automation you would use.



I’ve written a smartapp for monitoring kids’ TV usage. You can create schedules to turn on/off the switch linked to your TV. You can even control the switch based on the outdoor temperature.


  • TV or Game Console hooked up to a ST-connected switch so that the smartapp can send the on/off commands to it.
  • ST connected WeatherStation