Tools and Apps to Enforce Screen Time Limits

Has your kid ever said, “Just another minute,” or “I need to beat this level before I quit,” but is still playing his video game an hour later? Or have you ever found yourself saying, “ I want you to do something besides play video games all day?” The truth is that it is difficult to set limits on your kids’ screen time, partly because they enjoy video games but also because the games are so engaging. It can also be due to it being hard for you to know exactly how much time your child is spending on a particular game, and you don’t want to disrupt the peace when your child is content. Parents might often avoid setting limits because it causes conflict and can be difficult to enforce consistently. But what would you do if you had some good tools and apps to enforce screen time limits?

The good news is that there are many of these tools and apps. Some of these can reduce conflicts at home by helping children have a better balance between digital play and other activities. These tools and apps not only serve to restrict the amount of time children can play on electronic devices but also often limit the type of content they are able to access. Some of the tools simply provide children with their own browser, with curated material appropriate to their ages and interests. Other apps allow children to access only certain activities, while restricting them from going elsewhere on a device.

I encourage parents to use these tools and apps as one part of a broader approach to monitoring children’s screen time. Even with these tools and apps to enforce screen time limits, strategies such as maintaining a healthy play diet, modeling appropriate screen time, and encouraging a variety of non-tech activities remain the key to children having the right balance of technology and traditional play.

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Here are some selected tools and apps to enforce screen time limits:

Access Restrictions:

http://www.famigo.com/  An excellent tool that curates materials, so that kid can play safe selected games and apps.

http://www.ianswerguy.com/limit-internet-access-using-router-settings/ – Teaches parents how  to use the wireless router in your home to cut off access to specfic areas of the internet.

http://www.brighthub.com/computing/smb-security/articles/42138.aspx – 5 free internet filtering software programs.

http://www.ikidapps.com/2010/09/parental-controls-for-iphone-ipod-touch-ipad.html -Older article with instructions on how to set parental controls on iphones

http://www.bewebsmart.com/ipod-ipad-iphone/limit-your-child-to-one-app-with-guided-access/ Tool for limiting child to one app using guided access, so they cannot go to many areas on your phone or device.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304  Tools to set limits on iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones.

http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/2014/04/how-to-set-parental-controls-on-kindle-fire-hd/ How to set up parental controls on Kindle Fire.

Time Restrictions:

http://www.kidscreentime.com/ Helps you to set daily or weekly limits on many devices.

http://www.ekoob.com/time-limit-apps-for-android-13470/ –  Describes 6 time limit apps for kids. parents can create profiles for different children.

http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/security/xbox-live-parental-control – How to set time restrictions and other settings on x-box 360.

http://www.hopscotchtechnology.com/ – A device called BOB that allows parents to put in time limits for TV and video games.
http://www.esrb.org/about/settingcontrols.jsp  Excellent tips for for activating controls on consoles such as Play Station and Wii as well as with Windows-based computers.

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One thought on “Tools and Apps to Enforce Screen Time Limits

  1. We had major problems with our kids spending hours in front of their computers. A few days ago I found a program called TimeBreak (think it was on download.com), this has really transformed our family. We set time limits in the program, and the program enforces the limits for us. A lot less fighting than before, and we see the kids a lot more too (and not just the backs of their heads…).

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