Almost all new parents may or may not admit it, but chances are, their beloved little one most likely transforms into a crazed “zombie” once they get their hands on a smartphone or tablet. If you have ever experienced having to bargain, bribe, beg, or even pry the gadget off of their hands just to get them to turn it over or shut it off, then it might be high time for you to start shifting your strategy. As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” Several apps are already readily and freely available for you to use as a way of curbing and controlling your kid’s screen time.
1. UnGlue Kids
UnGlue Kids runs on the concept that parents and kids should reach a compromise when it comes to screen time. Does your kid like to bargain for just a few more minutes that turn into even longer periods? Introduce the Time Bank feature which lets them “save” unused time for tomorrow. They will then decide whether they really want to watch that “Let It Go” video one more time, for the nth time.
UnGlue Kids is available for both IOS and Android users.
Screen time limiters can bring out the worst in your kid as their patience tends to get tested, but with the Screen Limit app, they at least get a visual countdown until their screen time goes back on. If you also have a hard time getting them to unglue their eyes from the screen for dinner, this app lets you send a direct message to your kids’ gadget (and even your husband) to let them know the food’s going to get cold if they don’t hurry up. This works on smartphones, gadgets, and even laptops through the iOS, Android, Amazon, and Windows platforms.
3. Kid’s Place
The Android app allows parents to pre-select apps that they want their kids to gain access to. By simply clicking on the app before handing the device to your kid, you instantly get to moderate their gadget activities. This also blocks them from making in-app purchases! Your credit card bill will thank you for that.
OurPact’s “block” feature is a surefire way to get your kid off his or her gadget, but it may also cause them to freak out a bit. Without them knowing why or how, their gadget screen will freeze, and no amount of frustrated hard tapping will give them back their precious access. Why? Because OurPact syncs mom’s phone with their device, and you simply have to press block, and decide on the longevity with a minimum of 15 minutes–or you can even pick the shrewdly worded option “Until I Say So”.
5. Moment Family
Moment allows you to set a “time budget” for the day for the entire family, and whenever someone goes over limit, the app will force them to simply put their phone down. While Moment works as a screen time limiter for your kids, this allows for a “two-way street” action as it also gives your children the right to block you from using your phone. If the entire family is supposed to be bonding over dinner and your kid catches you on your phone, she can also activate the “dinner time” option and you will also be momentarily blocked from phone use.
6. The Oldie But Goodie: Clock!
All these downloadable apps are good, but don’t discount the good ol’ Clock feature on your phone. Just simply set a timer for how many minutes you plan on allowing your kid to watch his or her favorite videos and play games, and when the alarm sounds, ask your child to turn the phone over to you. This is a good way to teach your kid discipline and honesty. At the end of the day, more lessons are learned this way!