4 Ways to Effectively Control Screen Time in Your Home

(photo credit: www.pixabay.com)

Google Wifi’s new feature called Scheduled Pause, as well as these other tried and true parental control methods, can get your kids off of screens and onto something else, at home.

Trying to steer kids off of devices can be difficult. Every parent fears the power battle that can ensue when it’s time to end that game, video or online chat, but it’s possible to do.

Struggling? Here are 4 ways you can limit screen time for your kids:

1) Use Passcodes and Passwords

(photo credit: www.pixabay.com)

This is one of the simplest ways to effect parental tech control. Tablets, phones and computers can all be set up to only open with a passcode, and if the user doesn’t know it, they can get at what’s inside.

If you’re implementing this as a new tactic in your house, you’re bound to hear some backlash but after a couple of days (or weeks), it will die down: truth. And they will survive. Reality will set in and other ways of finding entertainment will certainly be discovered.

The ultimate rules? Have passwords on every device your kid wants to use, change them often, don’t make them easily guessable (kids are great hackers), and never share them. Exactly as the bank suggests.

 2) Use Parental Controls and Guided Access

Many devices come with the option of setting up and using parental controls, within the device. This can limit what sites your child can access online, and how much time they can spend on the device.

Guided access limits can control which parts of the screen the user can access when using a certain app, website or online game.

If you’re not sure how to access these features on your child’s device, a Google search with the name of your device and ‘parental controls guided access’ will likely get you the results you need.

If not, contact the manufacturer for suggestions and tips on parental control- most often, they will be able to walk you through the steps.

 3) Limit Your Entire Home’s Wifi

This post was inspired by the fact that Google Wifi now has a featured called Scheduled Pause.

Google describes the feature as a tech tool that “lets you automatically pause the internet for everyday events”. Google suggests pausing wifi access at bedtime, or around times that kids (or others) need to focus, like when doing homework or at tax time, for adults.

(Google didn’t specifically suggest turning off the internet to get your taxes done, but it would definitely be helpful around here).

4) Get an Extra Router Just for the Kids

If you don’t have Google Wifi and you think that pausing internet access would be helpful, go an alternative route and get a different router for your kids.

The kids can use one on their own computers and devices, allowing you to restrict their use and time, if you wish. You can often restrict the content a user can access and the times they can access it through the router itself.

Get one like the KoalaSafe Family Friendly Wireless Router, and set time limits, block websites and apps, and also review a weekly usage report to see what your kids are doing online.

You can control it all through your smartphone, and press the internet stop button, if necessary.

Yes, it all sounds like you’re playing prison guard with your kids, but you’re actually freeing them to explore the real world, right? Things like playing soccer, climbing trees and gazing at the sky. I’ll take a Scheduled Pause for clouds, any day.

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