Kids are being introduced to technology at a much younger age than ever before. It's fairly common to see a toddler at the airport or restaurant playing a game or messing around with a smartphone or tablet these days.
While this might keep youngsters occupied and help pass the time without them throwing a fit, some medical professionals say too much screen time could hinder their development.
So, how do parents keep track of their children's screen time and shut those gadgets down when it's become too much? Keep reading and we'll tell you about an app that can do all the work for you.
Tracking screen time has never been easier
Google is a big proponent of empowering parents with the tools they need to make sure they know exactly what their kids are doing online, and the company's Family Link app just got a useful update.
You may have already been using Google's Family Link, but the brand new features the app brings along with it makes it an even more useful option to control what your kids are doing online — and to manage their screen time, or what they're actually doing when they're spending time on their phones. We can't always be looking over their shoulders, after all.
To begin, Family Link will now come preinstalled on Android devices that ship with Android 10 and up. It even works for Apple gadgets so you can download it via Google Play or Apple's App Store.
Right now, you can set a variety of important times and other options for children on the account — bedtimes, overall activity tracking, daily usage limits, and even GPS location. For instance, you can locate your child's device on a map and track it to get an idea of where the child is.
These new features are more focused on figuring out and managing how your kids actually spend time on their phones and devices. That's why Family Link has new app limits you can set up.
Setting blanket app limits may not make sense because there are plenty of useful programs kids should be able to access. Perhaps you want them to spend time in educational apps, but they're unable to do so since you set specific limits. Now, you can limit how long kids play around with apps like YouTube or on various games.
The additional time spent setting up individual app limits can take a bit of time to tweak to your liking, but it's extremely useful for anyone who's been wishing they could have more control over what apps their children use.
Another new feature is kids will get repeated warnings that they're running out of time beginning with 15 minutes left, 5 minutes, and 1 minute. You can use the Bonus Time option to grant additional time in isolated situations and this will give kids a bit more time to play around with.
You can download the free Family Link app for both iOS or Android. It may not be the most complete suite of parental controls, but it's certainly a simple and comprehensive enough set of ways to tinker with the way your kids access the internet.
A screen time agreement for cell phones and other devices
Setting boundaries is such an important part of being a parent, especially now in the digital age. To help, Kim created a technology contract that acts as an agreement between you and your children, so you'll always be in-the-know about their activities to keep them safe.
Technology isn't what it used to be, even 5 years ago. There's no shortage of options available, from smartphones and computers to smart TVs and gaming systems. This contract would set ground rules for when your kids are allowed to use those devices — especially their phones — and at what times they're not supposed to, such as during dinner or before their chores are complete.
Best way for parents to control their kids' online activity
It's a big world out there, with an even bigger internet. There are a million and a half different things you could worry about at any given moment. It's just what every parent does.