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Little boy with tablet limiting screen time

7 Apps That Help Control Screen Time

trusted apps designed to help you set time limits, protect your kids online and prevent your brains from turning to mush

Oh screen time, you are society’s ultimate frenemy. You help us get work done, keep our kids in check when they’re having a meltdown and provide an escape when we need to decompress.

On the other hand, sometimes it feels like you’re too much—ike you’re smothering us and turning our brains and our kids’ brains to mush. Because of you, we have to remind ourselves to have actual interactions and conversations. It’s the ultimate love-hate relationship.

So what do we do? Do we just shrug and say, “Oh well”? Of course not! We find solutions. And it just so happens that our little devices have ways to help us. Below are seven apps that can help you limit and take control of your kid’s screen time.

Qustodio // iOS, Android, Kindle, Desktop
With Qustodio, you can take steps to manage and limit your kid’s screen time by device as well as monitor their activity on social networks, block inappropriate content, limit games and apps and more.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: 1-year subscription is $54.99 for 5 devices, and options for more devices

FamiSafe // iOS, Android
On FamiSafe, parents can control screen time by setting schedules based on locations, reward kids with additional time and check usage of specific apps. You can also block other apps during study hours or bedtime, track real-time location and detect inappropriate content on kids’ devices and much more. Even better, you can protect up to 30 devices, depending on which plan you purchase.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: $9.99 for 1-month subscription; $19.99 for 3 months; $59.99 for 1 year

OurPact // iOS, Android
This app allows you to set and schedule screen time and app access, so the kids will have dedicated time to study or relax before bed. The app also allows parents to block or grant internet access at any time, and set rules to keep tabs on the apps that your kids use. For example, one app can be labeled as “Always Blocked,” another can be on a schedule and one can be “Always Allowed.” With a premium membership, you can manage up to 20 devices.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: Try free for 1 week. Subscriptions start at $1.99 for OurPact Plus and from $6.99 for OurPact Premium.

Freedom // iOS, Android, Desktop
This apps blocks certain apps and websites that can be distracting during the day, such as social media, shopping or news. You can block them anytime or set a schedule in advance.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: Free trial; $6.99 for monthly subscription; $29.99 for annual premium subscription

Screen Time // iOS, Android, Kindle
According to the website, this app has over 2 million downloads and was the winner of the 2019 National Product Awards. With ScreenTime, you can set time limits, give kids tasks and reward them with additional screen time when completed, set schedules, instantly pause your kid’s device and much more.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: Monthly, 6-month or annual subscriptions available, ranging from 99 cents to $51.99

Norton Family Parental Control // iOS, Android and Windows
From the same company behind LifeLock and Norton 360 comes an app that allows parents to see their child’s search terms and viewed videos, monitor age-appropriate content, set screen time limits, and lots more. Get alerts when your child attempts to visit a blocked site so that you can start a conversation about appropriate content. The Norton Family School Time feature is especially helpful for parents keeping their homeschoolers free from online distractions during class time.
Age: 4 years and older
The cost: $30-day trial; 49.99 annually; or included with the purchase of Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 with LifeLock plans

Bark // iOS, Android, Amazon
Call off the dogs, this app alerts parents only when anything suspicious occurs online. Bark monitors for texts, email, YouTube, social media platforms, and even other apps for red flags related to cyberbullying, sexual predators, suicidal ideation. So tweens and teens have some sense of privacy, but you’ll be notified if something goes awry.
Age: 12 years and older
The cost: $14.99 monthly, $99.99 annually for Bark; $5.99 monthly, $49.99 annually for Bark Jr.

Do you have another app or method of limiting your kid’s screen time? Tell us at editorial@dfwchild.com.

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Article originally published in May 2020

Image: iStock