Parenting is a tough gig. Technology makes it harder. Everything we teach our children to steer clear of or try to hide from them can be accessed by simply tapping a screen.
We as parents are responsible for time management, content approval, safety guidelines, appropriate language, suggestive photos, flirting, scoping out bullying; and that's just when they're on their phones.
I wouldn't say my daughter is any different than your average thirteen-year-old when it comes to using her phone or social media. She may even be a bit below average in terms of daily use. Either way, I still feel like it's just too much.
It's too much time looking at a screen, watching someone else's life rather than living theirs. It's too many wrong messages that we don't want to be implanted in our children's minds. It's also not going anywhere anytime soon.
My husband and I recently installed OurPact onto our iPhones. OurPact is a simple family locator and parental control app that allows parents to locate family members and limit screen time by blocking internet and app access. The app allows us to set a daily limit on our daughter's phone. We can shut down any app, anytime from our iPhone, or grant her permission to use them if we are feeling extra nice.
The app shuts down everything from YouTube to texting to social media while allowing the phone to still be used for, brace yourself, actual phone calls.
There are plenty of apps to choose from depending on your needs. Some apps like Qustodio give you an activity timeline to show how long your child spent on each app and what they searched for. Other apps can mask profanity on non-restricted sites.
These type of apps are helpful tools in maintaining parental control over kid's devices. They can also be a comfort to parents who find the whole phone thing too difficult to manage.
Of course, nothing compares to open communication between you and your child. Be sure to speak to your child on a daily basis about proper phone usage. Then go check your app report to be certain your words are being heard.
We only just recently started using OurPact, but here's a more in depth review by Jean Dumais at her blog BeWebSmart.com