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Screen Time - The Perfect App for Family Day

This Family Day, we encourage you to think about your family’s screen/online usage and consider whether it’s excessive and/or preventing you from spending quality time together.

Science has proven that too much time spent looking at a screen, whether it be a on computer, smartphone or television, is bad for children’s development.  Excessive screen time also negatively impacts our health at all ages.  It can contribute to obesity, sleep disorders, eye strain, repetitive stress injuries, poor social skills and even premature death!

In the modern age, being on a computer, tablet or smartphone for hours a day is often necessary for work or school.  But there are things parents can do to ensure that their family is not spending undue unproductive and entertainment-based time on electronic devices.  Blocking access to certain websites or setting a countdown timer when “fun” screen time begins is a good start.  There are also sophisticated apps available that make reducing unhealthy screen time super easy to track and enforce.

A 2019 National Parenting Product Awards winner, Screen Time is an app that promises to arm parents with the information they need to monitor and/or manage their kids’ screen time and app usage.  It is compatible with Apple, Android and Amazon devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Knowing how your family is spending their on-screen time is the first step towards setting boundaries and modifying behaviour.  Thus, in the basic version of the app, the software will:

  • track app usage,
  • provide web and search histories (android devices only), and
  • compile daily usage reports

for one device.

Then if you wish to impose actual control over device usage, the premium version of Screen Time also allows parents to:

  • place instant pauses on a device’s use,
  • set daily time limits,
  • approve or block newly downloaded apps (android devices only),
  • lists tasks and chores that reward additional screen time when completed,
  • schedule black-out times for study or sleep,
  • temporarily override settings without loosing them,
  • receive daily email summaries, and
  • access 24/7 customer support

for up to five devices per account.

The basic version is free forever, while the premium version is available for a low monthly fee.  Families who want to trial the paid version may do so for free, without entering payment information, for up to two weeks.

Once loaded, Screen Time requires a secure password in order to be uninstalled.  Access to settings can also be blocked so they cannot be circumvented by tech-savvy kids.  On the other side, multiple parents and/or caregivers can be granted access to view and manage the app.

 

No matter what strategy/app you choose, don’t forget to include yourself in the analysis and solution!  While many device usage apps, including Screen Time, are geared towards parents controlling their children’s screen time, kids learn by example.  Furthermore, adults are often just as bad, if not worse, at allowing their electronics to dominate their time.  So this Family Day, let’s all make an effort to do better and spend more non-electronic, face-to-face time with the ones we love.

Happy Family Day from our Simply Computing family to yours!



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