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5 ways to help manage your children’s tech time over the school holidays.
Screen time tips for school holidays

Screen time tips for school holidays

It’s school holiday time across Australia shortly, and with it comes a lot of fun, a lot of activity, and some inevitable fighting… these days usually over technology. Both what our kids are watching or playing, as well as how long they’re doing it for are the concerns of parents, paediatricians, and teachers worldwide. So how do we combat this seeming inevitability of monitoring the content our children are consuming and wrestling devices from their hands during the warmer weather?

Parental Controls:

This is absolutely step one. Each device that you own will have an option to restrict the content that your children are able to access via their device. In particular, Apple devices are able to restrict children from downloading any App without permission from an adult via family sharing. YouTube has inbuilt functions to restrict content, and there’s always the option of using YouTube for Kids instead of allowing younger children access to the regular version. Even Netflix now has inbuilt controls that will restrict the shows that your children can watch, and you can even now prevent it from auto-playing the next episode – effectively discouraging binge watching.

Bark Content Tracker:

If you’re concerned about cyberbullying, messaging apps, social media accounts, and email as well as monitoring what your child is viewing content-wise, then Bark is the app for you.

Bark monitors text messaging, YouTube, and social media platforms and apps (their website claims 4 x more than any other child monitoring app), and sends automatic alerts to signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators, adult content, and more. Rather than parents needing to monitor every text message or email or content view, Bark was developed in collaboration with child psychologists, law enforcement, and digital experts and uses an inbuilt algorithm to scan the content for you. Data security is one of the app’s highest priorities and all data is kept secure with SSL encryption.

Available: www.bark.us

Our Pact Parental Control and Kid Tracker:

If you want to combine family tracking, web filtering, turn messaging on or off, set screen time allowance, and allow or deny any app located on your child’s phone or device, remotely… Our Pact is for you.

This multi-functional app is available in free, plus, and premium versions, with the free version allowing one device with a screen time scheduler as well as a manual block or allow access to the internet and apps on that device. The Plus version allows the free features on up to 10 devices, and the Premium version allows all the features outlined in the above paragraph. All this is achievable remotely from the parent’s device.

Overall, the ability to monitor your child’s screen time over multiple devices is great for keeping the screen time issue in check. Once the allotted time is used it stops access on all the linked devices.

Available: www.ourpact.com

Schedule in tech-free time:

We all know that children work best on a schedule, no matter how much they claim to hate it. Having a schedule of when screen time and devices are allowed, as well as where they’re allowed will cut back markedly on how many arguments occur throughout the holidays.  A great article for tips on scheduling tech and tech-free time is available here.

Be Consistent:

This is probably both the simplest and yet the hardest part of parenting screen and tech time. Just like scheduling in tech and tech-free time, being consistent with the rules around what’s allowed will negate a lot of the arguing that occurs. Kids, especially as they get older, will look for loopholes and attempt to negotiate additional time. The moment that the negotiating starts is the moment you’re bound to experience it repeatedly throughout the holidays (or any other time, at that). An in-depth article on parent-tested methods for limiting screen time is available here.

Need to understand how streaming affects your data usage? Click here for a handy guide.