Do you have a son or daughter that lives on their mobile device? I do, and what’s more they chew up all my download limits. Not only don’t I ever see their face, but I can’t even youtube… at least until I found Screentime. I was frustrated beyond sensible limits and my child had no control over how much time they spent watching their favorite anime shows or playing Android games till midnight. So, I went looking for something to bring it all back. Does this sound like you? Read on.
What does the App claim it can do?
Screen time authors promise that you can “manage the time your kids spend on their tablets and phones”. They say that you can block apps, limit what they use at school, make sure that they won’t be on their devices at night. They also say that you can reward them for doing chores, homework or just being nice to their siblings.
Apparently the app is non-invasive in the sense that the device behaves just like an android device, at least until they hit the wall that you set. Whether the wall is bed time, School time, game time is up or it’s an app that you specifically block.
Once installed the app can’t be uninstalled without the parental password and it can send emails the parent when any other app is installed or the daily limit is reached.
Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?
I can honestly say that the app is all that it claims to be. It’s so good that my child has made it a goal to prove to me that they have the control in themselves so that I can remove the app. It’s so good that once in a while I hear a groan through the walls of the bedroom when the wall has been hit and the game is over. I will honestly say that the frustration levels are down on my part, and up on the part of my child. I excuse myself by coming to the understanding that I’m teaching self control.
This app is however not a substitute for self control, so while I have the power to shut it down, I always give the opportunity for self control. Instead of blocking apps that are causing problems, I first draw to attention proper use of the device, only when control is lost do I step in and block the apps that need to be shut down.
OK, I believe that I’ve given this app a huge wrap but there’s one more thing, something I didn’t expect. I get daily messages via email letting me know what apps my child has used and how much time they spent on which app. I also get an email when the daily usage has been reached.
When a subscription is paid I can use the app to manage the limits and rewards on my children’s use without laying a hand on the device and potentially invading privacy in that way.
What do I like most about the App?
I like that my frustration is down and peace is restored. This sounds a bit over the top, but it’s the truth. Sure there’s other devices like the Nintendo 3DS but at least I don’t have to worry about Android. However, this is not a directly app related feature.
The best thing about the app itself is the level of control, it’s quite comprehensive. I can be as granular as individual apps or I can do wide spread control. I can really tell that parents have developed this app because it has almost everything I could want to provide sensible boundaries for my child’s use of their device, including a reward system…. which works.
What’s not to like about it?
Well, the child probably won’t like it, and you might get some tantrums (fortunately my child knows that tanties don’t work). Apart from this I don’t think there’s anything major that I don’t like.
What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?
The interface is not the easiest to negotiate but it’s clean enough. Perhaps the one thing I’d like is the ability to block apps in windows of time. There’s the option to limit apps during school time, but let’s just say homework is done in the evening, you can’t define a homework time.
Why did I decide to keep/remove it?
I’m definately keeping this app (not on my device obviously), at least until my child pays for the internet themselves or becomes 18.
Would my wife use it?
No need, but if she needed to put it on a device I’m pretty sure that she could work it out. It’s not difficult to navigate.