The most beautiful sentence in the world to me is “Mom, can I have more time on my phone/tablet?” It’s all because of an awesome little app that I’m completely obsessed with. It’s called Screen Time, and it’s only available for Android devices. This app alone is the main reason you should get Android phones and tablets for your children. I’ve discussed this app at length with my boss, who’s kids have iOS tablets, and he’s completely jealous of the features of my app. There is nothing like it for iOS, and the reason for that is that iOS is too locked down to give an app this kind of control over the device. Here is why I love Screen Time so very much. Also, as a disclaimer, I was not paid, have never been paid, and have never even been contacted by this company. I pay for the service myself every month, cause it’s super fantastic fun time.
No Apps Without Approval – The first reason I love this app is that anytime an app is installed on any of my children’s devices, I get a notification on my phone. That means they can not install any application without me knowing about it. What’s even better is that Screen Time automatically disables the app until I manually approve it. There are so many apps that I would not approve my children to have on their devices, and this guarantees that it’s not going to get on there. When the DO install something that I don’t approve of, we sit down and I explain exactly why I will not be approving the app. I think that communication is so important to keep alive when discussing the rules for your children’s devices. They don’t just need a “no” they need you to talk with them and have open discussions about why things are against the rules.
Time Limits – The next awesome feature of this app is the time limit. My daughter’s phone and tablet are set to allow her 10 minutes of access every day. She can earn more time by doing various chores, homework, etc. There is even a really cool feature of the program where you can set specific tasks like “pick up your room” and assign it a time allotment such as 5 minutes. They can mark that they have done a task, and then you are notified through your phone that a task is waiting for you to approve. You can go check to make sure the room is picked up, and approve the task. The time is then automatically sent to your child’s device. You can also send extra time that isn’t tied to a task. We recently went on a trip to California, and before we got to the airport I sent a couple hours of time to the kids devices. You can also set various apps to not be part of the time limit, so if you want them to always have access to their music app or their reading app, you can exclude them from the daily time limit. Check out how the task approvals work…
Time Blockers – Aside from the time limit, you can set specific times to block various apps. So during bedtime hours I have allowed the use of the music player, and the reading app, and after a certain hour not even the reading app can be used. My kids do like music playing while they sleep, so I have that set to always allow. You can set up a school time blocker too, that will block the apps you don’t want them to use during school hours.
Hopefully the music of “can I have more time” will be sung in your house very soon. I really love the interaction it allows me with my kids. When they come to me asking for more time we can have a conversation on why they are requesting more time and how they can earn more time. It’s seriously my favorite.
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Sarah Kimmel has spent the last 16 years of her career as an IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com