The concept of regulated screen time is starting to look like a thing of the past.
With students across the country spending hours on the computer each day to receive distance instruction, parents concerned with how much exposure their children are getting to the internet or digital screens may feel helpless.
If you feel that way, you’re not alone, but your anxiety might not be all that necessary. We are living in strange times, but it’s not a permanent situation. Giving your kids a little more free-range online or in front of a television is not going to harm them forever, because this situation won’t last forever.
Still, if you are growing concerned that your kids have become addicted to staring at a screen and you want to have a better window into what they’re looking at for hours on-end, there are plenty of resources to assist you. Keep reading for three of the best apps to help you monitor your kids’ screen time, even if you’re sheltered in place.
This app is ideal for parents who want more control over which sites or apps their children have access to. Using AI to block questionable websites, Net Nanny can also lock kids out of specific sites that their parents don’t want them accessing. (Say you don’t want you kids to watch Netflix unless you’re in the room. Net Nanny can help you block access.) It also gives parents access to their children’s internet history and sends alerts if their kids have navigated to inappropriate content. Net Nanny has a $40/year plan for one Mac computer, a $55/year plan for up to 5 devices of any brand including mobile devices, and a $90/year plan that covers up to 20 devices.
Bark is a good choice if you have preteen or teenage kids, as it monitors texts and emails, as well as YouTube, Instagram, and over two dozen other social media outlets for questionable content your child might be searching or viewing. Bark detects signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators, and adult content, and sends parents alerts of such activity. It also gives parents flexibility as to which sites they monitor, so they can grant their children a little privacy. Bark has a 7-day free trial and then costs $14/month per family with iOS and Android devices.
This app helps parents monitor screen time on iOS and Android devices for free! The app lets parents limit access to certain apps, filter websites, enable GPS monitoring and schedule screen time and recurring activities like bedtime. Premium features include use of the app on up to 20 devices, and ability to label certain apps as either Always Blocked, Per Schedule, or Always Allowed.
The Premium version also enables a spendable screen time allowance, the family locator feature, a geo-fence creator for alerts, text blocking and web filters. And while Premium typically costs $7/month, in light of coronavirus isolation measures, OurPact says its offering three months access to these features for free.