Getting proper stimulation is very important for children who are still developing their cognitive behavior. Controlled stimulation is also very important for mental growth. Different time periods have had utilized different methods for developing children’s psychological foundation.
In the 21st century, an electronic device like a phone or a tablet seems to be the way to go for most parents. These devices with an active internet connection can open infinite new possibilities of learning for kids.
However, everything should be done in a controlled environment. It’s true for screen time as well. But if you’re a working parent or you don’t get a lot of time, in general, to manually monitor what your children are up to, it can be hard to regulate their screen time.
As an empathetic parent myself, I may have a few solutions for you. Let’s find out how you can limit screen time on your child’s phone or tablet!
Using Integrated Device Features
The majority of the world’s phones and tablets come with either iOS or Android operating systems. A small percentage uses Windows devices. All of these operating systems have come a long way in terms of safety and wellbeing protocols. The integrated screen time limiter option is one of those.
How to Limit Screen Time on Apple Devices
The included feature that lets you limit screen time on Apple devices is known as Family Sharing. You need to navigate to the menu and select ‘Screen Time’. From the menu, you can assign ‘Time Amount’ for different app categories like entertainment, games, social networking, and so on.
You can easily add or remove categories and edit the time limit whenever you want. The settings are the same for Mac, iPhones, and iPads. However, you’ll need to configure the settings from the device itself so it’s better to use passcodes to prevent your child from changing the settings.
Another option for Apple devices is Guided Access. You need to enable it from the Accessibility menu. It’s useful for setting time limits on specific apps before you hand the device to your kids.
To use Guided Access, you need to enable it first. Then open the app your child is willing to use and click on the side button/home button three times. A new window will pop up where you will be able to assign the time limit in minutes.
How to Limit Screen Time on Android Devices
Google has a similar feature to the Family Sharing we’ve just discussed. It’s known as Google Family Link. When you set up your kid’s Android smartphone or tablet, you can set the screen times. It also works on Chromebooks!
A good thing about Family Link is that it allows you to tweak the settings remotely. You need to log in to the device’s account and set screen times, app controls, and so on very easily. You can even lock the devices remotely if you want to!
How to Limit Screen Time for Windows Devices
The user base might be smaller when compared to Android or iOS, but we cannot discard the Windows phones and tabs.
Microsoft has introduced an app named Family safety. Using your Microsoft account, you get to control how long any specific app can run on Windows devices and even Xbox.
Family Safety also works in two-way mode. It means your kids can request a time extension from their device. If you think it’s okay to give them some extra minutes, you can simply approve the request remotely.
Using Parental Control Apps for Screen Time
The integrated features of the operating systems are usually intended for light users. They might be convenient but they usually lack in terms of efficiency and flexibility.
That’s where parental control apps come in. These apps are specifically designed to allow parents to control their kid’s devices extensively, including limiting their screen time.
There are hundreds of parental control apps in circulation now. But not all of them are competent options. In this section, I’ll discuss a few apps that I’ve found to be the most effective.
Qustodio is a very cost-effective and useful parental control app. Along with time management, you get plenty of other features like web filtering, application rules, activity log, communication monitoring, and so on.
As for time management, you’re able to schedule the time for a device that your kids use by the week. You get access to a graph with hours on the X-axis and days of the week on the Y-axis to assign usage limits by the hour! You won’t get this level of flexibility on any other software.
MSpy is on the expensive side of the parental control apps. However, it’s well worth it if you’re planning to monitor your children's online activity meticulously.
Along with limiting screen time, you can configure the apps to send you alerts according to the location of the device, keywords trigger, call logs, app usage, browsing history, and so on!
Your app dashboard will have access to all the devices that has MSpy installed on them. From there, you can tweak the settings to assign usage limits on each device as you see fit.
Bark is another economical yet very effective parental control app. You get to monitor your kid’s online activities 24/7. You can block and filter web content, monitor social media activities, and schedule usage!
Although you can’t assign time limits down to the apps, you can control each device’s limits individually. You can assign daily limits from your dashboard. You can even assign flexible time limits by the day. For example, less time for weekdays and school nights while more time allocation for weekends!
Controlled device usage is very important for everyone. It’s especially true for kids because excessive screen time can result in both mental and physical disorders. So, I’ve shared my experience on both integrated software from the operating systems and third-party parental control apps.
If you’re not too worried about monitoring their children’s online activity but concerned about excessive screen time, you can simply use Family Link, Family Safety, or Family Sharing options.
But if you want extensive monitoring and controlling features on top of screen time limiters, I recommend you try out a parental control app. My personal recommendation would be Qustodio for its flexible time management feature.
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