How to set screen time limits on iOS devices

Anne Livingston on Feb 18, 2016

Will time limit app help with focusing on homework?

When I was growing up, our family of five had one phone line and one television set. Today, my family of five each of us has their own personal smartphone or tablet. Our devices are not only restricted to the home but travel with us throughout our day.

With a computer in their pocket, kids can stay continually connected. They can text and message their friends 24 hours a day. They have access to an unlimited amount of media from YouTube videos to TV shows. The Kaiser Family Foundation found children and teens spend more time with media than they do any other activity except for sleeping. On average 8-18 year-olds spend 7 hours and 38 minutes each day on entertainment media including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

When kids spend a large amount of time in front of screen, they sacrifice other activities. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. They also encourage parents to help their child develop healthy habits by establishing reasonable but firm rules about devices and Internet use.

Setting Time Limits on iOS

To help families find a balance in their offline and online activities, Apple introduced Guided Access. Guided Access is available on iOS 8 and higher and allows parents to set screen time limits on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. With Guided Access, parents can choose to allow kids to use one chosen app for a set period. During this time, all other apps are off limits. At the end of the set time limit, the screen goes black and parents need to enter a passcode to reset the device.

With teens and schoolwork, Apple’s Guided Access may be too limiting. Teens use apps such as Facebook Messenger, to talk about assignments or work on group projects. As they hop from app to app, it is difficult to discern whether they are collaborating on a group geography project or chatting about Pretty Little Liars. Often, they are doing both. Given the range of uses, it is challenging to establish boundaries for these devices.

Screen Time Monitoring with Familoop's Parental Control

To keep them focused and in bed at a reasonable time, parents may want control their kids' screen time, to set some restrictions on time and access while doing homework. Many time limit apps are available on the App Store. Most of these parental controls are simple timers that only turn off the device after a set period.

Current version of Familoop's Parental Control keeps track of your child’s screen time and allows you to discipline your kids with Time-Out mode.

Parental control app for iOS time limits

Time-Out mode lets you temporarily block the following iOS features on all of your child’s devices including iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with one click:

  • All web activity
  • App Store
  • In-app purchases
  • All movies
  • All TV shows
  • iTunes
  • Safari
  • Siri
  • Camera
  • FaceTime
  • Screenshots
  • iCloud Photo Sharing

Note that being in Time-Out mode your child is still able to make and receive calls, send and get text messages, so that you could reach your child. When you manually end Time-Out mode, the parental control app returns your child’s devices to their original stage.

Upcoming version of Parental Control by Familoop will allow you to set screen time and game time limits for either week day or weekend. Besides, you will be able to set limits for school time and bedtime.

When it comes to homework and bedtime, parents need to check in and make sure kids are using their time wisely. Online activities can have positive effects both socially and academically when used thoughtfully. With Familoop Safeguard, parents can teach kids how to make wise media choices and develop healthy technology habits.

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