Screens, Screens and more screens. Parents want their kids to put away their iPads, turn off the video games and switch off their phones. Our pediatricians warn us of the dangers of too much screen time and we read or hear about the consequences of prolonged screen time in the news almost on a daily basis. As if there weren’t enough things to worry about as a parent already!
Chances are, if we asked most parents they’d admit that it is difficult to manage their child’s screen time, unless we are parents of very young children. Even then, it is easy to let them watch one more Daniel Tiger episode for twenty more minutes of uninterrupted adult time. But, Daniel Tiger aside, it often becomes an argument when we address the topic of managing screen time with a family member. Or, our children become sneaky. Snatching iPads when we aren’t looking or hooking back up to WiFi when they know we are too busy to notice.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if we put the time management tool into the hands of the young person and let them monitor their screen time on their own? Like almost everything else on the planet, there’s an app for that.
We’ve compiled a short list of apps you might find useful in your home for your tween or teen to help them manage their own screen time:
1. iPhone Settings (Cost: Free) –
iPhone users can see the time they spend on apps by going to Settings>Battery, then click the clock in the upper right hand corner of the menu. You can see how many hours are spent on what apps in the last 24 hours or the last 7 days.
2. Moment (Cost: Free version or Pro for $3.99 per month)
Set limits on screen time. Tracks how much you use your phone during the day. According to their website,”you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit.”
3. Pocket Points (Cost: Free) –
This is a great app for students. You gain points by keeping your phone locked when you’re on campus. Then, you can use the points to get discounts and coupons to businesses near you. Pocket Points is popular among college students and is trying to grow their high school presence. You can request a high school or university on the app.
4. unGlue (Free if you have a networked desktop computer, otherwise $30 for a piece of hardware that connects to router) -unGlue puts more responsibility onto the kids’ themselves in managing their own screen time. It works on smartphones, tablets and computers and allows you to set time parameters on each device, Internet schedules and lets you see how much time you’re allowing for social media, gaming, videos, etc. Parents can be the overall time keepers but kids then decide how they want to spend that.
These four are just a small sample of many time management apps available. Project B3 chose to feature these because they are a great selection for a wide range of ages; unGlue can be used from a very young age and Pocket Points is great for college aged kids (soon to be more high schoolers). It may surprise your tween or teen to see how much time they are spending on a certain site or app and they may want to change that behavior on their own. The goal is to put the power, motivation and desire to change into their hands.