Did you take the plunge and give your kids a smartphone or tablet for Christmas? If so, you’ve joined a massive and fast growing club of 21st century parents. It’s a club that’s a little conflicted. On the one hand there are a lot of good reasons for giving them that device, from educational content, to social inclusion. On the other hand, it seems to be the source of endless family conflicts. They spend all their time on it and the media is full of stories about how bad excessive media use is.
The fast pace of change
We created Kidslox to help resolve this problem by keeping parents in control of the content their kids use and the times that they use it. It works a treat, but as with any problem involving people, there are as many different variations on the problem as there are people who have it. To keep up with all the different ways that people want to use screens with their families, parental control apps need to offer a wide range of different solutions.
Basic parental controls
The original Kidslox core function allowed parents to remotely lock down or enable a device. This quickly ends a lot of otherwise drawn out arguments. It gets the kids downstairs and putting their shoes on and makes it easy to give screen time as a reward.
Got you covered
There are lots of times though when you’re not available to personally switch their device from one mode to another. At those times the addition of manual parental controls would be just one more thing to worry about. That’s why we developed the option to set schedules. Parents use them to set regular device use and lockdown times for their children. This scheduling function is ideal for families wanting to ensure they have #DeviceFreeDinners. It can also help make sure that bedtime isn’t just ‘iPad under the covers time’. Any regularly occurring device free time, whether it’s at school or at home, can be added to the lockdown schedule.
Advancing with the times
Sometimes though, even those two functions are still not flexible enough for today’s needs. For many years the AAP advised parents to allow children 2 hours of screen time a day. Today their new recommendations are even more flexible. They suggest taking into account the quality of content our children use and the way that they interact with it.
Many breathed a sigh of relief at these new guidelines. They seem much more realistic and in line with the way many families already approach screen time. They still leave plenty of opportunity for children to overstep what’s appropriate though. Regulating such a nuanced system is surprisingly difficult.
That’s one of the reasons we’ve developed the new ‘Daily Limits’ feature for Kidslox. It allows for a whole other parenting approach with regard to screens. Now instead of setting specific times when your children can and can’t use screens, you can set them a specific amount of screen time that they can use at their own discretion and their own pace. If they use the whole allowance at the beginning of the day, Lockdown mode kicks in and they have to find something else to do with their time for the rest of the day.
On Android devices you can set limits for individual apps and categories of app too. So for example you could allow your child 6 hours of potential screen time in the day, but specify that only one hour of that is allowed for games and one hour max for social networks.
Mix and match your digital parenting strategy
The question of screen time always requires a solution designed specifically for your family’s needs. To make sure that you have an answer that’s right for you, you need a wide range of options at your disposal. Kidslox now has three core ways it can be used: Timer, Schedules and Daily Limits. On top of these, the range of customisable restrictions you can put in place during each make for an impressive range of alternatives. Simple to understand, but thorough in their application.
Now you just need to get an account, put the app on your devices and start trying out those features! It doesn’t usually take long to work out what the right approach for your family is.