Digital Parenting: Managing Your Kid’s Screen Time
With technology all around us, our children are learning to use mobile devices at increasingly younger ages. If your child has a mobile device, one of the biggest challenges can be setting limits on how and when they use it.
Thankfully, technology also provides solutions to the challenge of managing your child’s screen time:
Restrictions (iOS devices)
Apple devices have a built-in system to disable certain functions, allowing you to restrict what your child can access.
You can find this system under Settings > General > Restrictions. Tap “Enable Restrictions.” You will have to create a unique passcode for these settings so that your child can’t just go and undo whatever you put in place.
Once you’ve got a passcode, simply choose the apps and features you want to disable on the device – anything from specific apps to Siri, camera functions and in-app purchases.
Restricted profiles (Android devices)
On recent versions of Android (Samsung Galaxy S7) you can create a “Restricted Profile” which limits the actions that a specific user can perform.
To do this, go into Settings, then Users and click “Add user or profile.” Here you’ll have the option to create a Restricted profile. If you do not have a screen lock on your device, you will have to create one here. Next, give your profile a name. Then select which apps you wish to allow on your child’s profile (they will all be off by default).
Now, when your child turns on the device, the primary (unrestricted) profile will be locked, but their restricted profile will be open for them to access. You can use this on your child’s device or on your device if your child also uses it.
The built-in restrictions on iOS and Android allow you to block certain apps and functions, but what if you only want to disable something before bed, during mealtimes or when your child should be doing homework?=
Many third-party apps allow you to customize when and how your child can use a device, setting schedules and allowing remote access from your phone or Tablet.
Screen Time is perhaps the most full-featured app, allowing you to not only view and control what your child does on their device but also to set up reward systems, allowing them additional screen time for completing specified tasks. Screen Time works across iOS and Android and charges a small monthly subscription fee.
Other apps including Net Nanny and Kaspersky Safe Kids offer more advanced web filters for your child’s internet searches, but have less support for iOS and lack the task/reward system of Screen Time. Both are available for an annual subscription fee.
Managing your child’s screen time can be a challenge, but by using the right apps you can make sure that your children comply with the amount of daily “screen time” you wish.
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