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!

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