Have you ever opened Instagram or Facebook on your phone just to “check something real quick,” only to look at the time and realize you’ve lost an hour to scrolling? You’re not alone. Technology and regulation can be challenging no matter your age. It’s easy to feel shame, guilt, or frustration about how much time you or your kids spend online. When determining how to monitor child’s online activity, especially the amount of time spent, it’s important to remember that while it’s easy to sit kids in front of a screen for hours, there’s power in learning to regulate your family’s screen time.
Monitoring children’s internet use, especially their daily screen time, can really be a struggle. A great way to help them is by utilizing apps for technology and regulation monitoring. But before we get into the Apps, it’s important to remember WHY you’re aiming to find apps to restrict social media or other website use for your kids. There can be a lot of different “whys,” but the most important thing for you and your kids to know is that time spent away from screens results in more time to build strong, healthy, and present relationships.
Now, onto the apps! The first shout out goes to Troomi KidSmart™ Apps which are designed to help monitor child’s online activity. Troomi KidSmart™ Apps are available on Troomi’s phone plans and empower your kids to safely learn and create on their device. This includes safe access and parental monitoring to apps like Google Maps, PBS Kids games, Libby and more! Troomi not for you? No worries! Here’s a few more of the best tech regulation apps to help monitor screen time for your entire family.
Cost: 7-day free trial, $6.99/month+
Best for: Those looking for a kid focused app with lots of features
Screen Time has been voted as one of the best child control apps on the market. It offers usage limits, aids in monitoring children’s internet use, location tracking, scheduling apps, and more. This app is designed specifically with kids in mind and has a fun interface that will keep both you and your kids on track. This app has all the bells and whistles when it comes to keeping track of your child’s time online.
Best for: Teenagers and adults looking to build healthier screen time habits
SPACE is focused on helping you not just spend less time on your phone, but change your habits for a healthier and happier life. This app helps you and your family set and achieve goals for your screen time, monitors where you’re spending the most time, and sets restrictions on apps where you need it most. With the creation of these healthy screen time habits, you’ll never have to Google “is there an app to restrict social media use?” ever again!
Cost: Free, contains optional in-app purchase
Best for: Families looking to spend more “off time” together
OFFTIME is another great app to help you schedule your “off time” and focus on being present! This app is great for Android users (the iOS version doesn’t have quite as many features). OFFTIME allows you to schedule and enjoy “off time” with other users. It gives you thorough usage insights so you can see exactly where you and your kids are using your screen time.
Cost: 7-day free trial, $2.42+/month
Best for: Families looking for simple screen time regulation across multiple devices
Freedom is an excellent solution for any parent looking for great technology and regulation features. This app can be set up for both web browsers on a computer as well as for your phone apps. You can sync the same restrictions across multiple devices. Restrictions include blocking specific websites during specific hours for maximum focus, time limits on overused websites/apps, and can even block the internet completely for ultimate focus during family time or school hours.
Cost: 7-day free trial, $4.08/month+
Best for: Those looking for a kid focused, slightly cheaper option
As another kids focused and kid friendly option, Bark gives great visibility into what your kids are doing on their phone, while giving parents complete control over how long kids can spend on their devices. Specific time limits can be put on specific apps making it a great option to monitor child’s online activity.
When looking at any of these apps as an option for your family, remember that time is the most valuable resource you have! When you and your kids all understand the effects of technology and regulation, you’ll find more time to be together and strengthen your relationships.