Are children nowadays spending too much time in front of a screen? Or is the idea of excessive screen time being detrimental to a child’s development simply a myth? It seems like every other article tells you something different. With every study saying screen time has a negative impact on mental health or on school performance, there’s also another one telling you it’s simply not true. So, in light of the fact that there are so many contradictory studies and that, as of yet, there is no school of thought on how much screen time is too much, you’ll just have to trust your own instincts with your child.
There’s plenty of software to help you limit your child’s screen time, both Apple and Google provide their own free solutions although they’re not as all-encompassing as the specialist products.
Apple’s Screen Time, introduced with iOS 12, gives Apple users more power over their apps and functionality. Of course, the clue is in the name as to what Screen Time can do but it also allows you to track app usage, set downtime, and restrict content. However, although there are plenty of useful functions for parents, Apple Screen Time feels like a tool more designed for productivity rather than for children. Similarly, Google’s own Family Link is also able to restrict screen time, and allows parents to view their child’s activity, manage apps, as well as enable GPS to track a child’s location. Again, like Screen Time we miss more of the extensive features that can be found elsewhere.
Apple and Google have put in valiant efforts but the best way to limit children’s screen time is with some specialist software. Famous parental control systems like Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family Premier, and Qustodio are all designed exactly for this purpose and, naturally, they have plenty of other features that are useful for parents. On top of that, since parental control apps are compatible with a variety of different platforms you can limit screen time across the board, instead of having to go through the laborious process of setting up time limits individually on every device.
Of course, the best way to use screen time controls effectively is in agreement with your children, collaborating on a set schedule or hourly usage. This is a great way to make limiting screen time feel more inclusive rather than restrictive, while also encouraging other activities away from the constant glow of a screen.