Top apps to help limit screen time for your kids

Tech Talk Tuesday #74: Top apps to help limit screen time for your kids

We've all lost track of time when using our phones. So many parents, myself included, want to make sure the screen time limits we've set are being followed by ourselves and our children. And we'd like the limits to be respected without saying "time's up" all the time. Luckily for us, there are several apps out there designed to manage screen time limits so we don't always have to. 
 
I've used OurPact with Tessa in the past. I could set the app to make all of the other apps disappear from her phone every night at 9 pm. OurPact would then repopulate the apps onto her phone at whatever time I programmed it to bring them back. This was especially helpful to help Tessa get in the habit of putting her phone away at bedtime. 
 
It can be hard to have open conversations with our kids about the importance of setting and enforcing these time limits, but success comes from involving them in the discussion.  I encourage you to talk with your family about what limits you should all set for yourselves and how much control you should each have. 
 
Remember Andrew from the film. He was the teenager who struggled with video game addiction. He recently told me that his Dad would install blockers and time limits without telling him or talking to him about it. He says he wished his father would have been more open about his concerns and reasons for setting limits. Andrew says if he was included in the time-limit discussion and truly understood his father's reasons, he probably wouldn't have tried so hard to get around the limits or disable the blockers. 
 
For this week's TTT, let's talk about ways to limit screen time: 

  • How much time do you think you spend on your favorite app each day?
  • How much time do you think is ideal?
  • Do you think it would be helpful to automatically have this app disappear at certain times?

A roundup of time-control tech and apps for phones and devices:

We have compiled a list of some popular apps that manage and set screen time limits for yourself and your family. All of the apps have at least a three-star review and have been reviewed by 50 or more users.

unGlue (Cost: Free version or premium for $9.99 per month) -

  • Set limits on screen time
  • Set a recurring device schedule
  • Get usage reports
  • Remotely turn off the internet to an individual device or to all devices

Circle with Disney WiFi router (Cost: $99) - 

  • Set daily limits for each device
  • Set a bedtime and an awake time for when devices will disconnect from the Wifi then reconnect
  • Set filters for each family member or use Circle’s 4 preset age levels
  • Pause internet access
  • See usage reports

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

Moment (Cost: Free version or Pro for $3.99 per month) - 

  • Tracks how much you use your phone during the day
  • Sets screen time limits
  • Gives usage reports

Pocket Points (Cost: Free) -

  • A great app for students
  • Gain points by keeping your phone locked when you’re on campus
  • Use 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

OurPact (Cost: Free version or premium for $4.99 per month) -

  • The control phone can block other phones for any period of time and unblock at any time
  • Set a recurring device schedule
  • Block specific apps

Protect Your Kid

  • Block access to apps
  • Organize apps into groups and set rules
  • Set time limits
  • Set recurring device schedule
  • Block content

Screen Time Parental Control (Cost: Free version or Premium for $4.99 per month) -

  • Set time limits for enrolled devices
  • Set bedtime and school time restrictions for specific apps
  • Pause a device or give Bonus time
  • Block all apps at lights out

Torch WiFi router (Cost: $249.99 plus $9.99 per month) - 

  • Pause the internet by profile, or for all
  • Set customizable recurring device schedules
  • See amount of screen time
  • Create a unique profile for each device