In an age when we all have a tiny computer in our pockets, it’s important that we learn to limit screen time in favor of actual human interaction and productivity.
It’s even more essential that we limit media consumption for children, especially since they’re being exposed to things like phones and tablets at an increasingly younger age.
Those devices are part of kids’ lives earlier than ever, so it’s important to keep tabs on how often they use them or watch TV.
There are a number of reasons why you should do this as a parent, and, ironically, there’s also a range of tech available to help with the task.
But, there are ways to limit this exposure and ensure that your child gets up off their backside every once in a while. We show you a few easy ways to control the amount of time your kids spend with their screens.
FamiSafe screen time control feature helps parents to which blocks access to all third party apps including games and social media apps with one-click, set up screen time limit on hourly basis, and report how long your kid’s device has been used.
For Android phones, it is compatible, all major android phones and tablets from Android 4.4 and above. To monitor the screen time of your kids with Famisafe, the first and most important thing is to communicate with your kid first.
Both parents and kids should mutually understand the need of using FamiSafe parental control service. If your kid uses an android phone or tablet, you will need to allow several permission requests during the installation process so that FamiSafe could work properly.
2). Use a parental control app
Parental control software can give you quite a bit of control over the content that your little ones can access, track their locations, and also restrict the time they spend online. Qustodio is a great example, with plenty of granular settings that allow you to tailor your child’s app and web activities more appropriately to their ages.
With a free account you’ll be able to not only set the hours each day when the device will work, but also allocate particular durations to certain apps. This means if you don’t want them endlessly flicking through TikTok, but are happy to have them work with Duolingo, then you can set the individual time limits as you see fit.
There are plenty of other benefits to Qustodio though, with the aforementioned location tracker letting you know where your kids are at all times, plus a wealth of content filters, SMS and call monitoring, plus a panic button if your child should find themselves in trouble.
This free app has one version for the parents’ phone and another for their child. There are various settings available, such as requiring permission to download apps, hiding inappropriate ones from the Play Store, as well as managing in-app purchases.
4). Use a dedicated screen time app
There are a few different apps that can automatically limit the time children spend on their devices. These include Kidslox, Boomerang, Kids Place, and MM Guardian. Android itself also contains a variety of settings that can help keep your kids safe online and restrict their usage.
5). Use a dedicated tablet or phone
If you’re in the market for a new device, then it might be worth considering one with parental controls built-in. The most popular by far are the Amazon Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8 and Fire 7, not only because they offer excellent value for money, but mainly due to the Fire for Kids feature.
This allows parents to set up profiles for each of their kids, and specify how long they can use the device each day. There are also granular controls, so individual apps can be banned or have limited access, while reading apps can be given unlimited time.
6). Set real-world incentives and restrictions
If you don’t want to abrogate responsibility to software then there are still helpful ways to entice your progeny away from their devices.
We’ve seen some success with family device-free days, where everyone surrenders their technology and stares at each other in embarrassed silence for hours on end. These can be made a little easier by playing some great board games together.
Other methods that have worked for some parents are locking devices away every evening and then returning them once homework and chores have been completed, or creating reward charts that allocate screen time for real-world achievements and tasks such as making their bed or helping with the washing up.
It’s a more hands-on approach, that’s for sure, and not always easy, but that’s parenting in a nutshell really.
7). Set screen time limits
It’s helpful to have a family media plan that includes a screen-time limit for each child. Setting limits will help to set children’s expectations.
Research has shown that when parents set these limits, there is a significant reduction in their overall screen time. Of course, successful implementation requires consistency over time so children and adolescents develop a clear understanding of screen time rules.
8).Keep meals media-free
Meal time is the perfect time to connect with your children, learn about their day and share stories over food. Unplugging during meal time is helpful.
Research shows that children who watch television during meals end up with more screen time overall. A 2011 study showed that TV viewing during dinner was associated with an increase of 69 minutes per day on weekdays and 122 minutes on weekends.
Ditching devices while dining has the added bonus of improving dietary patterns. Research shows that children who use screens during meals consume less healthy food options such as fruits and vegetables, and more snack foods and sugar sweetened beverages.
9).Turn off so you can tune in
The degree to which parents use their own screen based device is associated with their children’s screen time. Avoiding screen use while engaging with your children is a great way to promote healthy behaviour.
10). Don’t use screens to control behaviour
It is tempting to use screen time as a means of controlling a child’s behaviour because it tends to result in an immediate response. However, this may cause an unintentional increase in screen use over the long term.
An example of this would be providing screen time as a reward for good behaviour or taking it away as a punishment for bad behaviour. This can cause children to put a high value on screen time, and desire more of it.
11). All devices should be barred from the bedroom.
Keep mobile devices and charging stations out of the bedrooms! Teenagers need between eight to 10 hours of sleep each night for proper growth and development, and to recharge themselves for another day.
Studies have shown that bedroom use of mobile phones and other devices have been displacing sleep time in the adolescent population.
This displacement of sleep time decreases self-esteem and coping skills among our adolescents, and reduces their ability to manage behavioural impulses Keeping devices out of bedrooms improves sleep quality and health among children and adolescents.
Parents play a strong role in guiding the media use of their children. Allowing children and teenagers opportunities to explore their natural environment away from screen-based devices promotes active play and creativity, and helps develop healthy behaviours now and in the future.
12). Use Instagram’s ‘Your Activity’ feature
Bet you didn’t know that Instagram has a feature to combat over-use among its users – but it does. If you click the hamburger icon located in the top right hand corner of the app, you’ll notice one of the options is ‘Your Activity’.
Click on this and you’ll be able to see how many minutes you spend on average scrolling through pictures and watching stories.
You can do all sorts with this information. Like work out that if you’re spending 47 minutes a day on the app , that equates to five-and-a-half hours a week, or 11 whole days each year scrolling through Instagram. I mean, I could do a lot more worthwhile stuff with that time.
13). Download the Digital Wellbeing app on Android
On Android phones, you can utilise the Digital Wellbeing app in Settings to control your kids screen time, which is similar in function to Apple’s Screen Time. The dashboard helps users understand how they’re using their phones, with a graphic of how frequently different apps are used, how many times the phone is unlocked, and how many notifications it receives.
There’s also an App Timers function, which lets you limit the time spent on them, and a Wind Down feature which puts your device into Do Not Disturb mode and fades the screen to grayscale to help you disconnect at night.
14). Download Flipd
If you can’t be trusted to enforce your own limits on screen time, download an app that’ll do it for you. Flipd lets you lock your phone for a set period of time – with no option to go back once you’ve done the deed – not even if you restart your phone.
Bravery required, but you’ll thank yourself for it. (Plus, it’s free if you want to use it at a basic level.)
15). Install Teeny Breaks in your browser
Teeny Breaks is an app built by an ex-Googler, which you install on your computer to remind you to get away from your computer screen, even if only for a short time.
The app reminds you to take breaks at work by offering tips backed by research – like ‘take a walk’ or ‘take a musical break’ – about how to distance yourself. New tips are added every week, and they’re accompanied by some pretty soothing photography, too.
If you utilise work breaks more often, you’ll find that when you do get back to your computer, your brain is refuelled, rested – and far more productive.
The follow solutions for monitoring screen time can be used to monitor the screen time activity on your child’s phone. Remember limiting screen time isn’t just cutting down on your child’s smart phone use – it can also be about getting the child to stay away from the phone more often.