Pause your kids in an instant!

by Screen Time Team on 06/07/2017

What’s this?!

It’s a button that allows you to instantly pause your kid’s device from your own. Just like you would press a button on your remote to pause a film or a TV show. Tap a button on your device and your kid’s phone or tablet will just…stop. Done. No Minecraft. No Snapchat. ‘Can I just take a quick selfie?’ they’ll say.


Cool! But is it fiddly getting their phone up and running again?

Absolutely not. Just press the Play button on your handset and the kids’ devices are back in business, just as they were before.

Wow! Sounds great. But what happens to the original Play/Pause feature?

We love hearing your suggestions about how to improve our Screen Time app. The original ‘Play/Pause’ feature has been a huge hit with our subscribers. But some of you have suggested that a more simplified version would make the feature even better. We agree.

Picture the scene: You’re running late for school, you need to get everyone out of the door, but the kids’ are lying flat on the sofa, heavily engrossed in their phones or tablets. As is always the case in such scenarios, their ears stop working entirely, despite your best efforts to get their attention. Rather than waste your breath, just whip out your phone, open up the Screen Time app and tap the ‘Pause’ button that appears by their profile pics.

And away you all go. It really is as simple as that. No faffing with setting timings while in panic mode. No school detentions for being late.

In other news…

We bring you Free Play mode.

Oh?! Tell me more!

Maybe your in-laws are coming to stay and you need extra time to prepare. Maybe you’re about to attempt a long, hot car journey with the whole family for summer vacation. Or maybe you simply need a longer-than-normal break from your kids and want to put your feet up for a change!

Free Play mode allows your kids to use their device freely, without impacting any of the Time Limits you would normally have in place. The beauty of this new and improved Free Play mode is that when you are ready to switch it off, your normal Screen Time settings are resumed. So if ever your kids are treated to a screen-athon, you can quickly get a handle on their screen time once again with a simple tap.

So there you have it. You spoke. We listened. And we can’t wait to hear what you think! Give it a try and do let us know your thoughts in the comments below or contact us via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.





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  • Jim - 03/06/2018 reply

    Today I paused my son’s samsung j3 Prime…but when I unpaused…his phone still showed paused… could not reboot phone unless battery out…still paused…had to uninstall…what’s up?

    Oliver - 12/06/2018 reply

    Hey Jim, we are sorry to hear that you had some issues with the pause – can you email us at [email protected] so we can help you with this? Thank you!

  • Pathy - 03/04/2018 reply

    Is the Pause feature does not work on a trial mode? since I am trying to pause my kid’s device Nexus 7 but could not do so. I wanted to try few features before the subscription. I really love the concepts

  • Mika Rinta-Suksi - 30/03/2018 reply

    My children’s pause button or picture doesn’t appear on my admin app screen. All I get is spinning wheel. I have deleted all the data and app and reinstalled it, but still same. Also when they install new apps they aren’t included to the time limit even they should be?

    Oliver - 02/04/2018 reply

    Hey Mika, I’m sorry we can’t help very well without being able to look at your account information, and we need your email address to do that. So can you email [email protected] so we can help with those problems please?

  • Tammy Gallahan - 08/10/2017 reply

    Any chance there is a way to pause everything except one app, i.e. the kindle reader app?

    Oli - 08/10/2017 reply

    Hey Tammy, not at the moment but we will have something similar to that kind of thing soon. You’ll be able to set up as many blocking periods as you want instead of being restricted to just School and Bed time.

    So you could set up one that blocks all apps apart from one, and then turn it on when you want to pause the device. We’ll send you a message when this feature is going to be ready to use, which is looking like it will be in the next 6 – 8 weeks.

  • Sami Salmi - 07/08/2017 reply

    Can I pause for a set amount of time? It was nice to pause for 20 mins and call them out to dinner. Then they could resume playing without the need for me to intervene.

    Oli - 08/08/2017 reply

    Hey Sami, I’m sorry we have recently changed the Pause feature to make it quicker for parents to pause their kids devices. This was something that a-lot of parents wanted, unfortunately to do that we needed to change the way that the pause works and we removed the ability to pause for a set amount of time.

    We realise that some parents who use this part of the Pause will miss out and we’re really sorry about that, it’s a hard decision that we had to make that would benefit most of the parents that were using Screen Time. I hope you understand.

    Sami Salmi - 08/08/2017 reply

    Thanks for your quick reply Oli!
    Indeed I am sorry to see the timing option go, even if I felt the old version required too many taps. I was even going to suggest a delay mechanism added to it: “Kids, lunch in 10 minutes, brace yourselves for shutdown!”. Maybe some future version will offer us best of both worlds: a quick panic button and a “program your kids’ day”-menu for us computer geeks 🙂
    The problem with the quick button is that it seems to be still on the next morning if I forget to turn it off. So I could be at work and kids complain about “malfunction” to grandma.

    Oli - 08/08/2017 reply

    I understand Sami, we don’t want to make Screen Time too complicated so we try not to include every feature, instead we focus on what would be best for most parents. So I’m afraid I don’t think we’ll be bringing the timed pause back.

    However we will be adding some features in the future (the next 3 – 4 months) that might make things easier for you. These features will let you create a schedule of blocks per week, like you can with bedtime and school time but you won’t be restricted to just two blocking times.

    Sami Salmi - 08/08/2017

    I understand the need for simplicity and approachability for most users. I bet I can make good use of any well made (future) schedule feature to get what I need out of it. Thanks!

  • David - 29/07/2017 reply

    I used the pause feature and now I am not able to unpause my kid’s phone. I tried several things, including uninstalling the app on my kid’s phone which I could not do because the app disabled the keyboard. What should I do now? Thanks for your all you can do.

    Oli - 29/07/2017 reply

    Sorry to hear that David, can you please try cancelling the Pause from the Screen TIme app on your child’s device please? You can use the steps on the page below to do that:

    If that’s doesn’t work then can you contact our support team using [email protected]?

  • David - 29/07/2017 reply

    Hi I used the pause feature and know I cannot unpause my kids phone. I tried everything from turning the app off to trying to uninstall the app in my kids phone which did not work because the keyboard is disabled through the app. What can I do?

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