Are your kids always on their mobile phones, tablets or devices? Screen Time is a big word for any parent and we need to be actively helping our kids to develop healthy media habits. We live in an era where we need to limit screen time for children, as we all need to nurture healthy disciplines to grow into balanced individuals.
In my family, we actively limit screen time for our children. It takes such predominance, as even Daddy finds the internet an issue. Have you ever wanted to just google an article or watch one YouTube video and due to the numerous suggestions, the 5 mins became an hour and ultimately 5 hours. Yes! I see you nodding your head in agreement! 🙂
Which Media Screens do you limit?
When talking about screens, many like to discuss the issue of mobiles or tablets first. However, the first screen that we would like the tackle is the TV.
The television set is not just a great source of entertainment for our kids, but it has also entertained me while growing up. Needless to say, I have been glued to my TV set for many hours and I have watched many episodes of Bugs Bunny and the Mickey Mouse Club while growing up.
Therefore, if you don’t know … the Television Set in my home is Password Protected … and the only people that have the password, are the adults. This has therefore ensured that the kids can only watch TV with permission from an adult.
Screen Time for Mobiles and Tablets
As a family, we have chosen to give the mobile phone to our kids only when they pass the age of 12, therefore we have only talked about effective parental controls in the last 2 years. As an android user. we are always looking for cost-effective applications to help us parent.
Parental Control Applications
Our favorite Android and Apple companion application for parental control is Qustodio.
Qustodio allows us to see how our child has been using his/her mobile device, set healthy time limits, as to how long and when they can use their mobile device. For stricter control, one can even monitor messages, track a child’s location and block websites (Conditions do apply for free and paid versions).
The reviews are mixed and we have had some syncing problems with the App and some random days of instability. However, it does serve its purpose to manage mobile usage and it is one of the top apps that Singtel pushes. Therefore, I believe that there many users who have had a good experience with this app.
As cost-effective parents, we only use the FREE Version. Limitations therefore exist, where only Mummy gets to control our child’s mobile device and when more of the kids get on the device, we might need to eventually subscribe.
Hopefully by then, there will be more FREE programs around and we can get around this monetary issue.
Parental Control for Apple Users
Recently, I checked out the Ipad mini 5 and I noticed parental controls as part of their IOS framework. Hmm… My Android tablets do not offer the same convenience as Apple, as a lot of these basic parental controls are already available for Free.
Screen Time gives reports on how much time I spend on my devices, breaks it down by categories and more importantly allows me the luxury to set time limits on my device.
Just like any parental control device like Qustodio, the Parent can determine how much time, the kids can use on their device. One can also very importantly prevent “accidental” purchases on iTunes, install or delete apps and of course impose internet search restrictions.
Apple also allows the creation of family accounts. With a family account, I can determine the time limits of each child. With my no.2 getting a mobile phone by the end of the year, I like the fact that Daddy and Mummy can monitor and control the “screen times” of both our kids for FREE (Do note that I will need to pay for that service with Qustodio or other applications). Therefore, the perk of getting all the kids on the apple ecosystem is certainly a worthy proposition to explore.
Screen Time Control Strategy
Screen Time limitation and Internet filters are definitely key instruments in the age of technological parenting. As a tech-savvy parent, we don’t keep our children in a bubble and hide technology from them. After all, if we are always on our devices, how can we preach a message of abstinence.
We prefer the strategy of Screen Time limitation where Parental Controls play an important role in our family. When we gave our eldest daughter the mobile phone, part of the contract was that she is not able to delete or add applications into the phone without our permission. Our Parental Controls are therefore always kept intact.
We also carefully curate the hours where she can use her mobile device, where the freedom of a 2 hour bloc at various times on the mobile is more than enough to live a successful teenage social life. At the end of the day, we want to nurture a well-balanced teen and balance is truly the key of life.