Want to take control of your and your kids’ screen time? Check out this list of 10 of the best apps to monitor screen time for kids and adults.
It’s summer, which makes it the perfect time to get outside and have some non-screen fun. We’re not saying to delete your map app, which can come in handy if you’re hiking or camping. But do you really need to check Twitter every 15 minutes when the great outdoors calls?
Ditch screens for some fresh air this summer. How much screen time is too much? That’s up to you and your family, but researchers recommend unplugging from screens at least 3 to 4 hours a day, “Time” reports.
Currently, the average kid ages 8 to 18 spends 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For adults, the number rises to more than 11 hours per day, Nielsen reports.
Excessive screen time at any age can cause problems. Research in “Frontiers in Human Dynamics” shows too much screen time can lead to:
Summer vacations give your family plenty of time to de-screen and experience real life. You can use screen time app options like those below to monitor your screen time and limit screen time for kids, as well as block certain apps so you’re not tempted to mindlessly scroll.
AppDetox is an Android-specific app that helps users set mobile app usage limits according to their own custom rules. For example, you can block an app after you’ve launched it a number of times, limit an app based on how long you’ve used it, or block an app at specific times on specific days.
Don’t let the name fool you – this app can actually make you more social, in real life, that is. The Android app AntiSocial has a two-week challenge that tracks your phone usage and number of unlocks, as well as the amount of time you spend in each app. You can compare your usage with users around the world to understand where you stack up and see if you need to unplug more often. Then, you can set up daily limits and block times accordingly in the app.
The Canopy app helps take out the guesswork of what you should block and automatically scans any website your kid visits to block explicit content. If there’s both unsafe and safe content on a site or app, like TikTok, Canopy blocks the inappropriate content and lets the safe stuff stay. You can also set screen time limits, check your kid’s device location, and customize which entire websites are blocked. The app’s anti-tamper features mean the app stays in use, unless a parent disables or deletes it.
The Freedom app syncs across all devices and browsers to block the exact websites and apps you want, at the exact times you want. You can banish Facebook during work hours, for example, or block Instagram during study time. Or, block the entire internet for times you really need to focus. The app also has preset block lists for both kids and adults that saves time when you're considering what might be block-worthy. Bonus features include ambient noise to foster focus, session annotation so you can take notes on your progress, and browser extensions that show you how much time you spend on certain sites.
The popular Net Nanny app for parental internet monitoring recently released some new features in time for summer. These include inappropriate content blocking on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok, YouTube search monitoring and protection, and geofencing features that include departure and arrival alerts. Parents can block specific websites, set screen time hours and limits, get automatic web filtering for inappropriate content, and get alerts for kids’ online activity.
Get a clearer view of your children’s internet usage with Norton Family. This service shows parents their children’s search terms, viewed videos, and other internet history. It also enables parents to set screen time limits and locate a child’s mobile device.
Qustodio is a parental control app that monitors children’s screen time, enables parents to set daily limits, and provides a “family locator” feature so parents can see where their children are based on their phone’s location. The app enables entire category blocking (like gambling, for example), as well as has filtered content features, call tracking, and activity monitoring.
Screen Time is an app geared toward parents who want to monitor their children’s screen and app usage. Parents can set daily time limits for screens, approve apps for download, look at web history, see which apps kids use most often, and even block devices when they need kids to put their phones down. Every day, the app produces a daily summary showing which websites and apps the child or teen used and for how long.
The Space app helps you become more aware of your screen usage, with features like the ability to set screen goals and track daily progress so you can create better screen habits. One of the cool things about this app is you can use it with friends, like many fitness tracker apps let you do. This way, you can compare your behavior with others and motivate your loved ones to stay accountable.
Zen Screen’s mission is to help its users establish a “balanced digital diet”. The app features a digital assistant that provides advice on how to improve screen habits. It also features analytics to show app usage lengths and what kind of app categories you use most frequently. You can also use the app to remind you to take screen breaks and tell you when you should shut off apps to improve your sleep quality.
Another way to limit screen time this summer and all-year-round? Take a look at these fun things to do instead of screens for kids. Check out your Save mailer to get coupons on art supplies for DIY projects, ingredients for home chef recipes, and more.