An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Managing Your Children's Internet Use


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Managing Your Children's Internet Use

It's common for young children to own their own phones and tablets. Here's how to keep your kids protected in a digital age.

This post is sponsored by OurPact. All opinions are my own.

My two older children, Henry and Otto, both have their own tablets. I'm fairly strict about their use - definitely more so than my husband is! During the week, they can have them for about a half hour a day; on the weekends it's up to an hour, sometimes even a little more if it's a rainy day or the twins happen to be taking a longer than usual nap and I need them to sit quietly. At Henry's school, everyone has an iPad and there's a SmartBoard in each classroom, so technology is solidly integrated into their classrooms and education. But just because it's pervasive in our culture doesn't mean I want my children having free access to not only the content of the internet, but also unlimited screen time! It's very important they learn how to interact face to face, learn how to build "real life" relationships, practice imaginative play and get outside often. That's why I was thrilled to learn about OurPact, and download the app to help me manage my children's device usage.

OurPact is an app that works across iOS and Android devices. It was so easy to download and install on my kids' tablets! Then I have the app on my iPhone that enables me to set controls for each child. I can set parameters around how much time the device is used, what sites they go to, establish geo-fences and I get alerts sent to me on each child's use. What I thought was really cool was that I can do different uses for each child, as they both have a profile and I can set up a schedule that repeats itself week after week or I can go in and manually make changes or adjustments. So, I can set up M-F usage and different usage levels for the weekend, or if someone has had their tablet privileges taken away, I can go in and block them out for the day.

Yup, my kids aren't angels. They've both been in tablet time out before... In fact, many times!

This has come in enormously handy lately. Henry's new "thing" is to get a stool, climb up to where I keep the tablets and take off and hide in his bunk bed with his eyes glued to a screen without me noticing. He'll do this if I'm preoccupied with the twins or busy cooking dinner. Sometimes he'll get a solid 30 minutes of extra screen time before I think, "wait a minute, it's been too quiet! He's not playing with Otto... There would have been a fight by now! Dangit, he grabbed his iPad again!"

With this, I can set his usage limit. I'll get notifications if he exceeds it. I don't have to wonder if he's snuck off to his room to sneak some YouTube videos of kids opening toys up and reviewing them in a foreign language. Please tell me he's not the only child that loves watching that stuff? What is with that, anyway?! Why is that so fascinating? Otto seems to stick to English games and Frozen videos but Henry ventures out to some weird stuff. I digress... OurPact helps me keep him in check, even when I'm busy working myself, managing 15 month old twins, or fixing one of the seemingly 953 meals a day I make for all four of my children.

Here's an embarrassing admission: I'm not exactly tech savvy. It's actually a tad pathetic, considering I'm a blogger and run my own website. I've learned a lot along the way, but my brain just isn't wired for high-tech stuff. I regularly text friends/family or Google how to do even rudimentary things.  That's the good news - OurPact is SO easy to use! You can download it for iOS here or here for Android, and you get an email that walks you through how to put it on your child's device. Then from your phone, you set everything up and it's all cut and dry. Click here to make it a weekly schedule, set said schedule by doing this, click save. It's literally that simple and easy to use. And if you do have a question or get confused, they have customer support seven days a week to help you out. 

Every generation of parents have had, and will continue to have, their unique challenges. For me and other current parents, it's managing our children's technology use and their online consumption. OurPact helps us all out with a great, easy to use app that controls your child's usage and online whereabouts. It's easy for us to use, easy to set up a schedule and easy to set up a "one time use" website block or time limit. If you're a parent who's child has a tablet, download OurPact so that you feel better about your child's online presence and have control over their screen time.

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