Limit your Child’s Screen Time with Parental Controls for Android

by Marcela on 21/10/2019

Raising children during the Age of Technology has its fair share of challenges. Ensuring that your kids don’t spend too much time in front of an illuminated blue screen is just one of them.

If you’re an Android-friendly family, you already have a few key monitoring tools at your disposal. Keep reading to learn more about how you can manage your child’s screen time with parental controls for Android.

Signing up for parental controls is easy on any Android device. You simply need to create an account for the service from your phone or tablet’s browser, using your email address or select social media information. Follow the prompts to provide the correct personal information.

Once you’ve created your Screen Time account, you’ll need to connect your child’s device. You can easily complete this process by following these instructions:

  1. Visit screentime.link from the browser on your child’s phone. 
  2. Download and open the Screen Time app from the Play Store. 
  3. Click Get Started, and repeat the process you completed from your own device.

To ensure optimal functionality, make sure Screen Time has all necessary permissions to monitor the device and block or activate apps.

If you want to make changes to any of these commands, go into the app’s settings page. There, you can edit accessibility services, device pairing, active blocks, app activation, and the device administrator.

Oversee Content and Usage

There is a ton of information online, and a major portion of that is likely content that you don’t want your kids to see.

Not only can kids use their devices to access inappropriate content, but they could also be targeted by online predators and cybercriminals.

Even if your children only use age-appropriate apps and programs, they could still be at risk.

Parental controls give you the ability to screen what your kids are watching or reading beforehand.

You can also set more rigorous controls based on a variety of different criteria, including:

  • URL blocking
  • Keyword filters
  • Time limits
  • Geo-fencing
  • App usage

Additionally, you can view incoming and outgoing messages to ensure that your children are safely and responsibly communicating with others online.

Set Time Caps

How your children access the internet is incredibly important, but so is the amount of time they spend online.

Too much screen time can impair a child’s ability to focus and make sound decisions. It can also impede their performance at school, as well as their behavioral patterns and mood.

Young children typically spend at least two hours each day in front of some type of screen, with nearly half of their time being spent on mobile devices.

Children who have smartphones spend even more time plugged in. On average, these kids spend 7.5 hours per day on their mobile phones.

When it comes to the habit-forming nature of mobile technology, the results are even more shocking. A staggering 50 percent of children admit to being addicted to their mobile devices.

You can greatly reduce this risk by using parental controls to monitor your child’s usage. You can set time limits, view activity, or block device use entirely just from the tap of your own screen.

This can help you to establish healthy routines, while also helping you to learn more about your kids’ online habits.

parental controls android

Monitor All Channels

If you use an Android-powered smartphone or tablet, you have access to other forms of media including TV, music, movies, and books.

Webpages are the primary risk for young mobile users, but they could also access inappropriate or unsafe content through these channels.

Android’s built-in parental controls allow you to control what TV or movie ratings your kids are allowed to watch. You can also set filters that prevent children from listening to explicit music.

To ensure that your kids’ devices are fully protected, take some time to see everything they have access to.

Set Clear Parameters

Establishing rules without explaining what they mean could defeat the purpose. A lack of transparency can make your children reluctant to adopt new habits.

Discuss screen time with your kids, what it means, and why it’s important to manage. This is a great opportunity to educate them about the internet, as well as what content is appropriate or restricted.

Even with parental controls in place, keeping an open dialogue is the key to strengthening your child’s judgement when it comes to how they use their Android devices.

Technology may be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t question why, when, or how your children use their mobile devices. Setting parental controls on your children’s Android phones or tablets will protect them while also helping them to develop good habits regarding screen time and online activity.

read more

How to Set Parental Controls on Your Child’s Phone

by Marcela on 07/10/2019

Pew Internet Research reports that nearly all teens today use a smartphone (95 percent of teens, in fact!). Unfortunately, the prevalence of smartphones has led to the constant need for them and many teens admit to being cell phone addicts.

What might have started as a seemingly innocent communications device has evolved into a 24/7 link to a teen’s social existence that seems to serve as a constant tool for self-validation. 

Likes, shares, messages, compliments all boost happy feelings. As the friends list explodes, so, too, might feelings of popularity and acceptance.

Understandably, going without that phone and those messages might make teens feel anxious. This fear of missing out (or FOMO for short) also could lead to a more heightened fear—nomophobia (or no mobile-phone phobia).

Teens and younger kids could simply find themselves unwilling to tear themselves away from other apps on their phones. Maybe online games have sucked them into another world, and cries of “just one more level!” may leave fingers tapping away at that screen for hours.

Smartphones hold many hidden sticky treasures that entice young users to keep the screen close. Parents may find themselves at a loss on how to control time spent staring at that screen. For parents who are at their wit’s end with the digital world, it might be time to establish tech boundaries that keep screentime to a healthy limit.

Here’s how to set parental controls on your child’s phone.

The Do Not Disturb option on iOS lets users disable the phone during drive time

iPhones

Does your child have an iPhone? Controls can be established by parents that require app downloads to be verified using an Apple ID password. This means parents can have the final say in what apps their kids use…to some extent, at least.

Parents who may be concerned that their teen is using the phone while driving can insist on teens utilizing the Do Not Disturb While Driving function. While teens can activate this function themselves, Apple notes that parents can set it up on their child’s phone, too, and this gives parents a bit more control.

More options can be accessed by using an Apple ID—like turning off in-app purchases. According to the site iMore, parents also can restrict content like mature web sites and location information by setting up a passcode.

Apple’s own site notes that parents can opt for their kids to not have access to the Game Center, and parents can set restrictions for adding friends, playing with multiple people and any recording functions. Parents can set time limits, too https://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/features/ios-12-screen-time-usage-reports-app-limits-downtime-children-restrictions-1917997

Android Parental Controls

Android devices also feature parental control options. Parents can control what games and apps kids download via Google Play; download Family Link, which allows parents to have control over Google Play.

Parents can set age limits for content so kids/teens can’t download apps, movies and music that is too mature or explicit.

Other Parental Control Options

Before parents install any new parental control software, we recommend that they discuss it with kids first. Don’t use software to spy, as this can erode trust and damage relationships.

There are many types of software that parents can utilize, and each app or software has its own unique benefits and functions. Some monitor messages in social media, allow parents to view pictures and screengrabs, set time limits, pause the phone while driving and more.  Really, parents need to decide what they need from the software.

Screen Time Labs focuses on time control and location monitoring, and this software is ideal for parents who want to limit screen time and want peace of mind via GPS alerts.

How do parents set additional controls with monitoring software? With Screen Time, parents can set limitations for when teens/kids can use the phone. This provides direct parameters for when screen time is acceptable and when it is not.

Many parents choose to limit time for homework, outside activities, family time and, of course, dinner time. The parental controls essentially deactivate the phone.

Parents can establish controls that encourage teens/kids to make better choices and prioritize school and other healthy activities. Create task lists that show younger users what needs to be done, while also rewarding them with more fun screen time.

Built-in scheduling provides parents with an option to block out time for prioritized activities. This function is different than time limitation restrictions, which set the screen limit for the entire day.

Kids who absolutely will not get off the phone can be encouraged with a more direct approach—pausing the screen! Parents can use their own phone to freeze their child’s phone screen as a not-so-subtle reminder to come to the table, do chores or disengage from that screen!

Many parents also worry about their teen getting to and from a location safely. Geo-fencing provides alerts when a teen/child has left or arrived at a particular destination. This also alerts parents of a teen being at a location that wasn’t on the agenda (maybe a friend’s house!).

What else can parents control with parental controls via Screen Time?

  • App usage (see what apps they use and for how long)
  • Web history (sites your teen/child visits…this could indicate something not so appropriate)
  • Web filtering (block sites that are too mature)
  • Geo-Trips (this function shows the path your child takes to their destination)

What can’t you see via Screen Time?

  • Text messages
  • Photos
  • Screen grabs
  • Social media content/messaging
  • Contacts

As nearly every teen wields a smartphone, parents need to be diligent about how the phone is being used…and for how long. Teens can spend hours texting, gaming or surfing on their phones, and sometimes they might find it difficult to put it down and take a break.

Parents can utilize parental control software to set boundaries for screen time and help teens/kids set healthy priorities. Control what apps teens download, how long they can use the phone, block out times for homework and other activities and freeze the screen when they just aren’t taking the hint to unplug.

However, one of the biggest advantages of software like Screen Time is for parents to be alerted of their teen’s location. See when they arrive or leave a destination and the route they travel.

Peace of mind is everything, and the best parental controls should help kids safe. Just be sure to have a conversation with kids about how the software is being used.

How to Set Parental Controls on Your Child’s Phone
read more

A Parent’s Guide to Fortnite

by Marcela on 23/09/2019

Have your kids jumped on the Battle Bus? Fortnite is one of the most popular games among middle-schoolers and tweens. Ranker lists it as the third most popular video game—behind Minecraft (#1) and Grand Theft Auto V (#2).

Kids’ online safety advocate site, Common Sense Media, notes a few problems with the game, however. While the game helps kids learn how to work as a team, the violence of Fortnite might be a problem.

Just how violent is Fortnite? The object of the game is survival, and players have to kill other players. The kills involve a variety of weapons, including shotguns, assault rifles, pistols and SMGs. The winner of the battle is the victor and players can select a celebratory dance after the battle.

Some parents are lenient when it comes to violence in game play, but others don’t want their kids (or teens) engaging in violence in any form.

Choosing whether or not your child can play Fortnite is a family decision. If you’re on the fence about Fortnite, check out our quick Parents’ Guide to Fortnite.

A teen plays Fortnite on his computer; illustration of the game’s T for Teen rating

Who Should Play?


The game holds a T for Teen rating because of the violence of the game. This means that the game is recommended for teens.

Fortnite is incredibly popular with middle school kids, and many of them likely haven’t hit their teens. Allowing younger kids to play Fortnite is entirely up to parents. Again, though, the rating deems Fortnite most appropriate for teens.

Who’s on My Child’s Team?


There are many ways to play Fortnite. Players can team up with a friend and play “Duos.” They can team up with multiple friends and create a larger team, or they can be paired with other random players.

Parents are typically most comfortable when kids game with friends. With Fortnite, though, if friends aren’t online, kids may be teamed up with random players. This gets a little scary, because players communicate in the game.

Some players may use inappropriate language, and they may be much older or more mature than your child. Parents need to be extremely careful about in-game communication.

Like most games, Fortnite allows for players to report misconduct by other players. However, parents need to be diligent when younger kids play Fortnite with unknown team members.

The best advice is to ensure that your child’s friends are online when they want to play. For safety purposes, create family rules related to Fortnite that stipulate that the game can only be played with friends.

A computer screen shows a Fortnite map

Choose to Get Creative


Parents may wish for their child not to battle at all. In that case, the creative side of Fortnite may be an option.

Creative lets kids build their own Fortnite island. Some players can land their new world on the Fortnite map, according to Epic Games’ site.  Be aware, though, that players can still grab guns in their own world. Creative doesn’t eliminate all the violence.

The Creative side of Fortnite, though, is a great option for kids who want an outlet to imagine a new world. Plus, the reward to possibly be featured allows them to have ownership of their creation.

Fortnite Parental Controls


Parents who are really anxious about Fortnite can choose to utilize parental controls on the game. Per Epic Games, parents need to set up a PIN to enable parental controls.

Epic Games allows parents to control multiple aspects of the game. According to Epic Games, parents can hide certain players from view (“Hide non-squad members”), make their child’s name only visible to “squad members,” block inappropriate language, turn off friend requests and even turn off in-game communications.

Epic Games also lets parents have the option to see a report about weekly game play. This can help parents see just how much time their child has spent devoted to Fortnite.

Utilizing Epic’s parental controls helps parents take some of the worry out of their child gaming on Fortnite. The controls, though, don’t do anything to alter the actual game…or make the game less violent. Again, parents need to set those parameters.

Other Parental Controls


Not a fan of Fortnite? Parents can choose to block the app via parental control software. Apple’s app store can be set up to require a password for all downloads, and parents can control game downloads via this function.

For more control, though, parents can use Screentime Labs to control app downloads or to monitor communications kids have with friends. Screentime Labs also lets parents control how long their kids spend online and on games. Set time limits and set priorities for homework, dinner or bedtime. An instant pause button lets parents cut off the action and encourage kids to stop playing.

Before parents install any software on a child’s device, though, they need to have a conversation about the importance of parental control software. We recommend telling your kids before installing the software. Always be open and honest with kids about why the software is being installed and how it will be used.

Parental control software shouldn’t be a spy-cam type device for parents; the software is meant to keep kids safe online.

Should Your Child Play Fortnite?


So should your child play Fortnite?

That’s an individual decision that parents need to decide for themselves. Epic Games includes parental controls for Fortnite that give parents a bit of control over what their child can do or see in the game. However, the parental control features won’t tone down the violence of Fortnite.

Ultimately, though, whether or not a child can play Fortnite depends on your parenting style and your child’s maturity. The game is rated T for Teen and some parents may find the violence to be a bit too gruesome for their kids. Remember, the game is all about survival and players kill other players.

The games you choose to allow your child to download and play should be based on your family’s own rules and preferences. Playing a game should not be about popularity. Content—not fandom or fads—should be the deciding factor on whether or not a game is a good choice for your child.

read more

Complete Parent’s Guide to Roblox

by Marcela on 26/08/2019

Apps and online game trends come and go, but one of the most popular mobile games has stayed in the top spot for kids and tweens for several years. Roblox has taken its place in pop culture as one of the most popular games for elementary school and middle school kids. But is Roblox safe?

Roblox isn’t just one game. When kids (or you!) download Roblox, you open up a world of millions of games. Roblox brands itself as “the largest user-generated gaming platform.”

The platform has become so popular with kids that Roblox Corporation posted a parent guide created by ConnectSafely specifically to address concerns, questions and potential privacy issues. So what do parents need to know?

A child playing Roblox on the computer


Parental Control: Safety First


Kids can connect with other users via the platform, and, for parents, this raises safety red flags. The ConnectSafely parent guide notes that the games can become “virtual play dates” between peers but that these interactions can be supervised by parents by utilizing privacy features.

ConnectSafely’s guide doesn’t take a firm stance on whether or not a user should game with individuals that s/he doesn’t know, because, really, this is a parenting call. Some parents are lenient with interactions (especially if a gamer is an older teen), but others might want more control.

Parents should make it very clear to kids what the rules are regarding online interactions. If you prefer that your child only interacts and plays with peers, then utilize privacy settings and make sure kids fully understand online boundaries. Parents also may want to set consequences for breaking family-guided online rules.

MeepCity is one of millions of games found on Roblox


Parental Control: What Games Should Your Child Play?


Roblox has—per the company—15 million games. That gives kids lots of choices. ConnectSafely’s guide recommends that parents get in on the fun and actually experience Roblox with their child.

This recommendation relates to parents seeing how kids can interact with other players. Plus, gaming with your child allows you to see the different games your child likes.

Understanding a gaming platform may give parents the best insight into how it works and what the potential issues may be for their child. Immersing in the experience allows you to see the intricacies of the platform, and, as the saying goes: knowledge is power.

Since kids often have more tech knowledge than their parents, this advice is even more important to help parents stay on top of trends and the ever-evolving gaming worlds.


Parental Control: Block the Trolls


One of the best tips on the Roblox guide is all about ‘blocking’. The online world is filled with trolls and bullies (and, unfortunately, predators). Parents need to know how to block problem users and how to report bad (or even dangerous) behaviors.

No child should be bullied online. Parents can take steps to protect their child by learning how to block and report problem users that could pose a threat to their child. To “Report Abuse,” the guide notes that parents need to fill out a form about the issue.

A young girl under the covers looking at a tablet screen


Parental Control: How Much Playing Should Be Allowed?


Every parent has different preferences and rules regarding screen time. Maybe during the summer months that time limit is expanded  they can play longer hours…or maybe there is no limit.

Parenting is unique for every family. However, there are medical guidelines to how long a child should spend staring at that screen.

According to recommendations issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and included in the online guide: “For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.”

Roblox and screen time should not become such a preoccupation that real life gets kicked to the curb. Parents should set time limits and make sure kids balance the screen with other experiences. 

For kids who own a smartphone, time spent on digital activities can quickly become out of control. Cell phone addiction is becoming a problem among teens, and parents should be cognizant of how often kids are using that device.


Other Tips/Tricks


ConnectSafely also makes it clear in the guide that passwords should remain private—but this should be well understood by parents.  Don’t ever let kids share personal information with anyone online. Ever.

So what is personal? Real names, where they live, birthdays, their school and other info that could let a predator or hacker gain access. Kids should never share that parents aren’t home or when they are going on vacation.

Online smarts should start at home. Parents need to go over public and private info and what should NEVER be shared online.

Online etiquette is important for kids to learn at an early age. Bullying is never acceptable, and kids should never use foul language, incite violence, insult, degrade or say/do anything that makes another user to become fearful or feel threatened in any way.

Teach kindness and make sure kids abide by the rule of Thumper’s mom: “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

And whatever a user shares online could be forever. Choose words wisely and carefully.


What if You Don’t Have Time to Play?


Some parents may want to check out Roblox and play with their kids, but they just might not have time. How do time-constrained parents keep their kids safe, too?

Parental software programs can limit what kids see online, what games they play and how much time they actually spend gaming. ScreenTime helps parents keep track of what kids download and how long they spend looking at those screens, among many other features.

Parents who can’t play in the virtual Roblox world can have peace of mind that their kids are staying safe and playing smart. As with any parental control software, though, parents should never use ScreenTime to snoop on kids. Before you implement this or any monitoring software, let kids know you’re using it and why. An honest conversation helps kids understand the importance of their safety.


Is Roblox Safe for Your Child?


So is it safe to play Roblox? Yes, but parents need to be involved in the experience…especially when younger users are signing up. Play Roblox with your child so you understand the games on the platform and you may help your child learn to navigate this unique community.

When playing with your children, help them understand how to interact appropriately and how to be safe online. For elementary school and middle school kids, Roblox can be a great way to hang out with friends in a virtual environment. In many ways, the online experience becomes an extension of a child’s social world, and, as long as they understand how to be safe and smart, Roblox can be a fun online ‘playdate’ with friends.

Some parents, though, may decide that they don’t like the idea of their child interacting online. Others might not have time to game with kids. Parental control software like ScreenTime can help parents understand how long kids play Roblox and what else they’re downloading. 

Again, every parent needs to choose what’s right for their family and their child. While Roblox offers millions of games, the idea of these online interactions makes some parents feel unsafe and vulnerable.

If your child is already playing Roblox and you haven’t experienced the platform, head online and check it out. Set boundaries with your young player and always make sure they know the basic rules of online safety and etiquette. Parents should make use of the parental controls functions on the game if they want to limit online interactions. Happy gaming!

read more

Back to School: Screen Time Limits for Kids

by Marcela on 15/08/2019

For many kids across countries, August or September means back to school. The transition from lazy summer days to studious school routines might be a tough adjustment for kids—especially those who favored screens over other forms of entertainment.

Gone are the days and nights of gaming, chatting and watching videos online. School days signal schedules, perhaps firmer bed times and a shifted focus on reading, homework and extracurricular activities. Adjusting back to school screen time limits for kids (and teens), though, might be a little more complicated than parents realize.

Today’s teens (and tweens) never really part with those screens. Devices and technology are portals into social realms, they are constant communication, but they also are academic resources.

Smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks often are wired seamlessly into a student’s day and, in many school districts, the curriculum as well. One-to-one computing means that school districts are the ones enforcing the need for these devices that are now tucked away in backpacks alongside folders, notebooks and binders.

According to a 2017 study,  “more than 50 percent of teachers now have a one-to-one student-to-device ratio….” For many students, the screen is an integral part of the learning experience.

At home, however, parents may have other ideas about setting back to school screen time limits for teens and children. While every family’s rules and restrictions differ, limiting screen time or setting screen time boundaries could be a smart move for parents, especially as kids adjust back to school hours and routines.


Parental Control: School First!


Those school computers are typically controlled by the school; this means that limits and restrictions should (hopefully!) have been set. At home, parents need to take the reins on back to school screen time limits.

There are many scenarios that could influence screen time habits during that first week of school:

  • Kids receive a laid-back workload (no homework), and this could lead them to log on and log out of better habits like reading
  • Young bodies might not have adjusted to the schedule change, and kids may be awake later than normal. Night time wakefulness could lead them to grabbing a device.
  • Friends are so excited to be back that the chat/texting habits significantly increases.
  • Older kids might begin to have homework assignments that keep them on the devices longer than parents prefer.


Parental Control: Enforce Limitations Even if the Workload is Light


No homework? That’s great! As a parent, though, you need to decide what the rules are regarding how your child spends time during the off hours. Most schools encourage students to read 20 to 30 minutes each night.

If your school doesn’t push for nightly reading, you can! Before you let your child zone out on the screen, insist on reading time. You can set limits for how long, but make sure they grab a book.

A young girl plays on a smartphone at bed during the night


Parental Control: Schedule Lights Out, Screen Off


A more rigid school schedule can be a tough adjustment, especially for kids who are night owls. Growing kids need a healthy dose of sleep, though. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that kids between the ages of 6 to 13 should clock anywhere from nine to 11 hours each night, whereas teens can get away with eight to 10 hours.

If your kiddo is turning out the lights at 10 o’clock and waking up at 6 a.m., you may need to make adjustments. Enforce a lights out policy for the family. To discourage late-night chats or texts, keep phones out of the bedroom.


Parental Control Software: When Texts Blow Up the Phone


Those first few days of back to school are exciting. Maybe kids are meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Their social lives may begin to explode again, and their phone might be dinging, pinging and ringing all afternoon.

While a robust social life is healthy, sometimes all those chats and texts might be distracting. Limitations may help ensure that kids stay on track with other aspects of their lives—school and other activities. If texting and other screen activities are too much, though, parental control software can help kids and  teens maintain better boundaries.

A parental control software, like Screen Time, allows parents to set time limits for phone or tablet use. This helps kids avoid dinging distractions during dinner and family time or during homework hours.

Before installing the software, talk to kids about why and how you will use it. Don’t be stealthy and install it secretly. Kids need to trust their parents, and spying or sneakiness erodes trust.

Have an open and honest conversation. Tell kids about their limitations and let them ask questions. If, during the school year, you feel like they are making smart choices and placing priorities on school, then you may want to loosen the restrictions.

A teen works on his laptop to complete a school assignment


Parental Control Software: Homework is Increasing Screen Time


What if a teen or child is spending hours staring at a screen for school? Can you control it? Remember, any district issued device is typically controlled by the district. Do NOT install any new software including parental control software on a school-issued device.

You cannot always control school assignments and how long kids take to complete those assignments. However, parents can insist kids take breaks to give their eyes a rest from the screen.


Parental Control Software: Other Limitations


Parents may discover that kids are being introduced to new apps or social networks at school. Technology evolves constantly, and there always seems to be a new app or game that becomes instantly popular.

Before you allow kids to download any app, research it first. Some may not be appropriate for younger kids, and others could be associated with an increased risk of bullying. Parents can use parental control software to limit apps that kids download. When you discover a problematic app, you can choose to restrict it.


Parental Control Software: Teaching Accountability


Texting, taking selfies and posting to social media has become the social norm for kids and teens. Parents, though, might want to have insight as to what is being sent from accounts and devices.

Use parental control software to see what kids are sending and being sent. Again, make sure kids know and understand what you’re able to view. Ensure them that monitoring is to make sure they remain accountable.

Teens don’t always make the most informed decisions, and the reason could be related to incomplete maturation of the brain. According to research: “The development and maturation of the prefrontal cortex occurs primarily during adolescence and is fully accomplished at the age of 25 years.”

While teens or kids might think they know how to behave responsibly, one wrong decision on social media could have negative ramifications for the rest of their lives.


Parental Control Software: Help Kids Stay on Task


While parental control software like Screen Time is often used to monitor activity, the software can help keep kids on task. Parents can create tasks for kids to complete before they get to use their phone or device for fun.

Include daily tasks like homework, reading, chores, or sports/dance practice. Once kids check off their daily tasks, parents can reward them with screen time.

Screen Time software also lets parents pause their kids’ screen. Not showing up at the dinner table? Pause their screen! Not taking the dog for a walk? Time to freeze the screen! Sometimes kids need a bit of a more direct reminder.


Parental Control Software: School Days and Beyond


How long will kids take to adjust to the school schedule again? Each kid is different. Some kids and teens might have maintained the school schedule during the summer. Others might have had such a relaxed summer that a routine was non-existent.

Day one of the school year, though, is the ideal time to readjust that summer slide fueled by excessive screen time. Parents can set time limitations, block problematic apps and monitor activity to ensure kids are staying on track.

Software like Screen Time allows parents to create tasks for kids. Once they check off their daily to-do list, then screen time (for fun) can begin. Pausing the screen gives parents additional control for when kids are so engrossed in their devices that they aren’t making good choices—like showing up to the dinner table!

When it comes to school devices, though, parents don’t have much control. One to one computing means that kids often use school issued computers to complete assignments and turn them into the teacher.

Older kids may spend hours on their school computer after school, depending on their course load and homework. Parents can (and should) encourage kids to take screen breaks, though, if the homework screen time has become excessive. Staring at a screen for too long can cause eye fatigue, and it’s always a good idea to stretch and recharge a bit.

Every family is unique and that means that the rules of the house and device are unique, too. Set limitations that are in line with your parenting values and that ensure kids focus attention on important priorities (like school). 

If you choose to install parental control software, though, be sure to talk to your kids first. Explain why and how it will be used and go over boundaries and limitations.

While back to school can be an adjustment, in a few weeks kids will be back to the old routine…and the sun will rise on the next summer vacation before you know it!

screen time for kids
read more

Monitor Your Kids with Cell Phone Tracking

by Marcela on 12/08/2019

Today, the average child receives their first cellphone when they are 10 years old. If you aren’t monitoring your child’s cell phone usage, you could be leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks and other unwanted activity.

Nowadays, most cell phone providers give customers the option to set certain permissions on their mobile devices. But, harmful information could still make its way into your children’s phones.

Cell phone surveillance might seem extreme, but it sounds scarier than it actually is. Cell phone tracking allows you to keep your children safe without being too intrusive or invading their privacy.

Parental control software is a secure way to protect your kids from digital assailants, inappropriate websites, age-sensitive information, or other online risks.

Cell Phone Tracking

How does it work?


Cell phone tracking software is affordable, convenient, and easy to install.

You simply choose the subscription package that fits your needs. Then, you can get started in a few minutes just by downloading a mobile app.

With parental monitoring software, you can discreetly and automatically oversee and control your kids’ online activity.

Cell phone tracking eliminates your need to worry about what websites your kids are visiting, who they’re communicating with, or how long they’re spending online.

Use monitoring software to establish, and enforce, boundaries without the hassle.

Cell Phone Tracking

How can you use monitoring software?


Parental control software is more than a security platform. It can also help you with regulating screen time, homework completion, and even content monitoring.

If you’re planning on getting your child a mobile device but you aren’t sure if they’re ready, monitoring software can help create a smoother transition.

Ensure that your children use their devices appropriately and responsibly. Control how much time they spend online with duration limits and web history monitoring.

Cell phone tracking software can be a lifesaver for busy families.

Remotely set and track your childrens’ schedules, including outstanding tasks such as homework or chores.

If you need your kids to get off of their devices immediately, you can also pause their usage with just a tap of your own screen.

If you need to grab their attention in a pinch, you can also suspend or restart your settings at any time.


Is it Invasive?


One of the primary reasons why parental cell phone tracking is controversial is the potential impact it could have on your children.

While most kids would likely prefer to have free use of their devices, they might not be aware of the risks they could face. 

Allowing your children to use the web without limits could unknowingly expose them to viruses, malicious attackers, and illegal content. 

By utilizing a cell phone monitoring program, you’re adding an extra layer of defense. You also have more control over what your kids watch, read, or share.

Being transparent about your reasons for using cell phone monitoring software can help your kids understand why it’s important. The last thing you want is for your kids to assume that you are using the program just to spy on them.

Giving your kids a cell phone that’s equipped with monitoring software will help them establish healthy guidelines from the very beginning

Kids won’t have to be concerned about dangerous websites that they won’t be able to access.

And, they will be used to the fact that their online actions could be viewed by their parents at any time. This will discourage negative behaviors, while giving everyone in the family peace of mind.

Privacy is crucial, but that goes both ways. Keep your kids’ sensitive information in the right hands could save them from identity theft, online attacks, and other dangers.

Cell Phone Tracking

How can cell phone use affect your kids?


Your kids might use their cell phones for entertainment and communication, but there are other factors to consider.

Prolonged screen time could affect your children’s other tasks, such as school work and extracurricular activities.

Regulating mobile device usage can help your children adhere to their schedule without negatively impacting their day to day lives.

When used properly, your kids have a pocket-sized tool that lets them access unlimited information.

Mobile devices are useful for learning research, planning, problem solving, and other skills that are key to your kids’ development.

However, intentionally or unintentionally, your children could use those same tools to access the more dangerous parts of the internet.

Even something as seemingly insignificant as allowing an app use of the phone’s photo album, or saving payment information after a purchase, could put everyone at risk. 

As parents, it’s difficult to see everything that passes through your children’s screens. 

Rather than take a chance on your kids’ online activity, build a secure and practical barrier with cell phone tracking.

Cyber bullying, inappropriate content, and malware-ridden websites have the potential to cause lasting damage. Reduce the risk that your child will be affected by using monitoring software for their devices.

read more

Is Your Family Suffering from Phone Addiction? Consider Trying a Limit Screen Time App

by Marcela on 22/07/2019

As we roll towards 2020, the amount of time spent on mobile devices is staggering. Smart device usage needs reducing, or at least knowledgeable control of the situation. For this reason, more and more choose to use a limit screen time app for their devices and/or those of family members.

The time spent on phones or tablets is starting to exceed that of TV usage. Moreover, even when watching TV, a considerable amount of viewers check out their smartphones.  This means that many people (both young and old) are using their smart devices for quite a few hours per day. 

Many teens and tweens are using online media for as much as 8 hours a day. That’s quite literally a fulltime job, or at least it’s the same amount of hours, just without pay and often without productivity. The article by Positive Discipline really highlights the need of more time away from screens.

Transitioning to using your phone or tablet less can be a shock to the system, and so we have put together some useful tips to reduce screen time.


Tips for Limiting Screen time and Introducing Parental Control
Software


Limiting screen time is a big move for any family, but it can introduce some really positive life changes. Here we look at the best ways for using parental control software in order to limit screen time with tweens and teens.

  • It’s Not Only for Kids – Although parental control software is meant for parents to restrict children, it can also be an effective tool to reduce adult mobile device usage as well.
  • Ban the Bedroom Time – Don’t worry, this isn’t as bad as it sounds. However, applying a family rule not to use phones, tablets, or even a TV in the bedroom can help dramatically.
  • Lead by Example – Your child will likely mimic your behaviour. If you are constantly glued to your phone or TV, or both, then they may start to view this as being ‘normal acceptable behaviour’. 
limit screen time app
  • Be Smart – Kids are growing up with electronics, and learn new things quickly. This means that parents need to be smarter, or find ways to out smart kids when it comes to parental control of device usage.
  • Family Time – Just banning the use of phones and tablets isn’t enough. Most children nowadays don’t learn how to ‘entertain themselves’ offline and will need to learn these skills. Enjoying new activities, family time, and experiencing the outside world together can help to prevent boredom that will inevitably trigger tantrums and arguments.
  • Use Parental Control Apps and Settings – Apps, like ScreenTime cover far more than simply allowing you to limit screen time, Parents can also use other kinds of device settings such as pin codes for TVs, or restricting access to streaming apps, etc.
  • Set Timezones – Assign times when devices can be used and when they can’t. Some flexibility may be needed at times, but having set times helps to introduce a workable routine.
  • Introduce Offline Hobbies – Sports, reading, or just about anything fun and not depending on a screen can help children forget that they can’t use devices. If things go well, they’ll even look forward to these activities more than playing on their mobile phones.
  • Rewards/Penalties – By setting some rewards, and if needed some penalties, the off screen time can become a game and on screen time can also become more educational and/or productive.

While to some degree, children need to learn online and mobile device skills for their future, there also needs to be some balance between the real world and the online world. More time offline can lead to creative activities, skill development, exercise and more.


How to Introduce a Limit Screen Time App without Tantrums


If your children have grown up watching TV and playing on phones, tablets, and consoles, removing these from their life can be challenging at the start. However, when your children are still young, changing their routine will be easier and may accept the new normal quite quickly.

Either way, the key is to openly discuss the reasons behind these changes, along with some rewards for not being in front of a screen. This could be from treats, to paying for a course or hobby that they would like to get more involved in.

However, bribery won’t always work and sometimes a firm but fair stance is needed. A family meeting, some negotiation, and then holding the agreed terms (excluding when needed for education) will become a new norm for them within a fairly short period of time.

Whichever strategy you decide to take, the key is to get the children involved in the plan and if possible make it a positive thing. After all, they are getting the freedom of having their own phone/device, access to the internet, and likely some extra rewards for tasks.

For all of this, they just need to accept the agreed terms and adhere to a schedule. The time with family, friends, and getting some exercise is also far more fun and beneficial than just sitting in front of a screen for hours and hours every day.

So, although on first impression it can seem daunting, actually the end benefits make using a limit screen time app worthwhile and will certainly have a positive impact on family life in the long term. Just remember though, you should lead by example and reduce your daily screen time. If the kids see you are doing it too, they really don’t have as much of an argument against it.

read more

Considering Parental Control Software Doesn’t Make You a Bad Parent

by Marcela on 08/07/2019

Every parent faces a difficult balancing act when it comes to allowing freedom and decision making, while also being rightly concerned about their child’s safety. It is difficult not to become that stereotypical overbearing parent. This is where parental control software can help mediate.

We all want our children to grow into responsible adults, able to make judgements and to assess situations on their own. To accomplish this, a certain level of freedom needs to be granted in order to allow them to learn from mistakes … with some advice and preassigned rules of course.

However, with the increasingly early access to the internet and everything it contains, the innocence of children needs protecting. It isn’t just that feeling of needing to be in control as a parent, but more of a necessity to protect innocent minds (or at least relatively innocent) from what the web contains and connects with.

As children start to know more about mobile technology than parents, they also learn the ‘not so good’ approaches from their friends and online. Processes such as bypassing the school firewall, or installing games and applications that were blocked by the app store (for their content, malware, or other reasons).

This is why parents need to take back some control.


What are the Benefits of Parental Control Software?


Parental control is a big decision that parents need to make nowadays. So, let’s take a look at an overview of the benefits:

  1. Internet Access Restrictions – Allowing parents to prevent or limit access to the sites that they deem inappropriate.
  2. Monitor Usage – See exactly what is used, including getting reports on websites browsed, frequent apps and more.
  3. Block Apps – Allowing parents to block the use of or installation of certain apps.
  4. Tracking for Safety – Although your child might not like this one, most parents LOVE the idea of being able to track the location of their little bundle of joy. 
  5. Screen Time Restrictions – Let’s be honest, most adults could also do with some screen time limits. However, for kids, it is vital for their overall development.
  6. Set Tasks – Such as using educational software for a period of time, family and childhood activities, chores, or  time to perform homework duties. These tasks can be combined with rewards to make them more fun.

After reading the above, you are likely feeling a lot better about choosing this approach to giving your child their own mobile, but with some control retained. However, let’s go over some of these points in more detail, as there certainly is more to consider.

parental control software

Internet Usage Monitoring


The idea of restricting access to the internet and recording activities could feel quite intrusive to both the parent and the child. However, the internet can be a dangerous place. It is also easy to end up in ‘not so nice’ places without intentionally wanting to go there.

Sometimes curiosity or the recommendations of friends lead children to finding websites that their parents would be horrified to know about. It can also happen by accidentally clicking adverts or links (not all websites are mobile friendly).

Determining that it was an accident, rather than an intentional visit can lead to a whole different conversation and open communication about the internet and its dangers. Of course, filtering access in the first place can completely prevent accidental access and awkward conversations.

This is just the content side, it doesn’t even touch on internet predators that hang out in chat apps and forums, trying to persuade young people to go to certain sites, send photos, or even meet up in person.

parental control software

Blocking and Usage Monitoring – Applications


Quality parental control software will allow parents to see the applications that are being used, and by how much they are being used.

If application installation is restricted, then it can sometimes seem that there isn’t much need to monitor which apps are used and for how long. However, this simply isn’t the case, as many ‘child safe’ rated applications can appear to be completely innocent to parents.

An example of this is that YOLO recently had a child level rating of 12+ (now adjusted to 17+). It didn’t appear to be malicious in any way, but did in fact contain quite adult content and had other serious issues.

Without knowing the usage of applications, it would be difficult to discover problems like this. Sudden changes in app usage should also be looked for, as this can be caused by reasons such as bullying, a new online ‘friends’, and even addiction.


Is Tracking a bit too much ‘Big Brother’?


People often only see the negative side of being tracked. Yes, to some degree it can be an invasion of privacy. However, it can also be a very effective form of protection and act as a preventative measure.

Being watched often makes behavior improve. Acting differently when monitored is a common human trait. Look at examinations, the temptation to cheat a little would be high without observation and consequences.

When monitored by parental control software, children will seriously consider things before going ahead with negative actions. Bunking off school to go to the beach seems fun, but would they still do it if they knew that your mum and dad are watching?

Lying about where they are going, or going to less favorable destinations, are all normally prevented simply from the knowledge that there is a parent watching. Of course, if they get into trouble, go somewhere bad, or heaven forbid actually become a victim of someone less savoury, knowing their location can literally be a life saver.


Screen Time Control – We all need this


Most adults in the USA use a mobile for almost 4 hours a day. In many cases, that’s even more than they watch TV. That’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen.

Younger children were spending between 2 – 3.5 hours per day on mobile devices, according to the mobile screen time report from CNN, and this has continued to increase since that report.

Having parental control software allows to set time limits, set blocked periods (to do homework or sleep), pause the device and in general control your kid’s screen time and help reduce those hours.


Is Parental Control Software Worth it?


Although there can be feelings of lacking trust or being over controlling, if parents take the time to openly discuss their reasons for applying restrictions to phone usage, children can understand and even support it.

By making it fun with tasks and rewards, the experience can become an enjoyable routine change.

Restricting time on the device can help to get children to be more social, complete their studies, and get outside more.

The benefits far outweigh the negatives, especially when properly explained and introduced at a young age in a positive way.
Our parental control software has been designed to keep children safe and to help create a happier family environment.

read more