With so many talks about parental control on limiting kids’ screen time, I realized, I as a parent, spend a lot time on smartphone and tablet. Screen time becomes an integral part of my life, such as getting directions to places; keeping connected with family and friends; taking photos whenever and wherever. Many times it is hard to get off the phone. Every time I told myself to just do ONE thing, but ended up several things. I meant just to check one email that I was waiting for, then I saw a Facebook update from a friend, and then a funny video in my Facebook feed, then remembered I need send a friend happy birthday message, then needed to check out the place the friend went for her birthday, … Before I knew it, it’d been over an hour, and it was meant to be just a quick check of one email.
Do you have similar experience with the screen time? It is becoming a syndrome, Smartphone Addiction. It is not that we want to spend endless time on the screen, but why do we still do? What is an effective way to stop this Smartphone Addiction so we don’t spend so much time on screen?
A friend of mine told me he uses a timer for himself and for kids. But you still have to start the timer, which not necessarily happens every time when we start using the phone. It will be a great help if some thing is right there and reminds us every time when we spend a set amount time on the screen. I did some search and found these smartphone addiction apps that can help monitor and control screen time.
Best Apps for Screen Time Restriction – Android and iOS
Net Nanny is a Parental Control program works on both Android and iOS, as well as computers. It definitely has time limit features. In addition, it also has features to filter out inappropriate content for kids. It is subscription based. You pay each year, and the amount is based on the number of devices you want it on.
OurPact is similar to Net Nanny. It works on mobile devices only. In addition to control screen time, it can also set restrictions on apps and texts. There are 3 price tiers, only the premium package has time limit feature, but it is still pretty reasonable at $5 per month.
ScreenTime is another parental control app that works on both Android and iOS. For $4 a month, you can set time limit on each device, and monitor web and search history.
BreakFree works for both iOS and Android. Like the other apps mentioned above, it monitors the time on screen or on one particular app, and when the time is over the limit, it sends warnings. You can also set downtime to have no internet connections, auto text reply, etc. It is also a good tool for parental control for kids devices.
unGlue is a relatively new program in the market. It has similar functions as those mentioned above. The nice thing about unGlue is you don’t need download the program on each device, and you can set individualized time limit for each child’d device. It is available for both iOS and Android.
Best Apps for Screen Time Restriction – Android
Flipd is an Android app that lets you turn off your phone while the app will send out auto-replies to people who contact you during the off time. As parents, you can remotely turn off your child’s phone, but you need set it up first.
App Detox is an Android app that help you limit the usage of particular apps, say one game app. It will send warning messages when you spend more time than the limit you set for yourself.
Offtime is an Android app allowing you to block selected text or calls, and restrict your access to internet and apps.
Best Apps for Screen Time Restriction – iOS
Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks how much you and your family use iPhone and iPad each day. You can set daily screen time limits for each member in the family, you can also set a screen free time like dinner time.
Dinner Mode is similar to Flipd, but it is for iOS. You set the phone off and don’t have to worry about missing anything. Although it is called dinner mode, you can set the time for anytime of the day.
bSocial is an interesting app that offers screen time based on the time you spend off screen.
How do you control screen time? Any tips?
Looking for parental control apps to monitor kids screen time? There is a simple setting option in iPhone and iPad to control screen time.
You may also like 10 Ways to Get Kids Off Screen Without Complaining
Great list!! Our family personally uses 2 apps – ‘KidsPlace’ – which allows us to limit which apps he can access and ‘Toddler Lock Timer’ which automatically shuts down the phone once the timer is over (he doesn’t even know that we have a timer :)). Found those both the simplest to use this far – and free!
Thanks for the sharing the info. I will take a look at these two. Glad you find something helpful and free!
There is also Kidslox. Our family is satisfied with it. Our son can use his mobile for two hours per day only and also he has several schedules set on his phone not to bypass the family rules. He always tries to play games when it is time to go to bed. Now he does not have the way out ))), his mobile is blocked during the bedtime.
That is good to know. I will have to check it out.
Ourpact is not easy to install. In order to get time limits, it requires 3 separate app installs for a single device (ourpact, ourpact jr, and finally ourpact utilty- the latter requires that you sync your device thru iTunes). It was time consuming and I quit the process. I do not recommend this service to anyone.
Thanks for the update. At the time I looked at it, it was mobile only, looks like they are expanding to more devices. Hope they find better ways to sync soon.
We needed this list! Thank you!
Our son is sneaking screen time after bedtime and losing precious sleep. Hopefully one of these can help us out.
A lot kids do that now. Hope one of the apps can help you.
You really must be the parent and take away the phone!
That said here’s what I know… most every app uses a set daily limit then starts blocking. Sounds nice but isn’t. Give you child(or yourself) 30min a day with youtube say? Of course they spent it all at once…so basically every one of these apps end up being how long can a teenager use one app once a day…thats just silly and teaches nothing either…this frusterated me tons for helping to quell my own addiction….I was pretty close to just trying my hand at a new app but I don’t have time for another side project (developer). 2 Apps worked for me for Android only. I won’t support a company that lobbies congress to make their users FCC felony violators or sues ppl for posting pictures of Mac motherboards…apple of course…But if you use Android then see below 😀
That said (Offtime) is by far best for android as its lightweight and will prevent uninstall optionally with good stats and individual app blocking. Plus the little messages it sends are kinda encouraging. It’s well regarded so should not sell your info hopefully. Also, for adults it allows a full 1 min or 15min countdown time if you need to stop blocking or strict mode.
NOW, for better utility…”App Off Timer” for android will time each app you choose and force it off the screen for a set time limit!!! I’ve tried 17 apps and this was the only to do that! Probs bc it takes more wakelocks and triggers but the benefit OMG is Great! At work I might check my pof profile then start replying and next thing 20min passed…these apps are as addictive as pornography and as damaging they feed stimulation which kills sleep patterns and productivity.
WHAT ACTUALLY HELPS:
Gimme 5 Min to use a fun app then force it to the background for x minutes then I can use it again bc it’s the addiction that I’m fighting that sucks me into the vortex of Facebook, snapchat, WSJ, Pocket, slickdeals etc etc etc. 5-10min limits work for me then a forced break so I can get back to work. Even my email…15min Max!
So Far “App Off Timer” is the only one that let’s me used without being used by my smartphone ya know….
If you know another one that will do forced ‘breaks’ please reply!
There is also getScreen
It will manage all devices the family uses, from phones, tablets, computers, chromebooks to the TV and all that connects to it.
thanks for letting us know.