Our daughter is a fighter, a fierce advocate for her own needs and preferences, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But of course this means that when Kia and I impose screen time limits, we get pushback. Sometimes the battles are epic.
A few weeks ago we got so tired of the constant debating and arguing that we took away all her screen time privileges for a full week. She was pretty grumpy about it, but Kia and I thought the week went great. Was this the solution? It didn’t seem fair to just eliminate screen time altogether, permanently.
So we had a family meeting and hashed out a set of guidelines that we all felt reasonably happy with. And the week after that went pretty well. But inevitably, the arguments started up again. How much had she already watched? Had she finished her homework first, as agreed?
Ultimately the nine-year-old came up with a good solution herself. She suggested we use the ScreenTime app (for Android and iOS), which a friend of hers uses. The app automatically tracks usage time and shuts down some or all apps after that time is done.
It took me about twenty minutes to sign up and configure. You can black out bed/sleep time, as well as school hours. I found the interface to be simple and intuitive, even though the options are as detailed (different rules for weekdays vs. weekends, for example).
I’m still in the trial period, but I’m happy to pay what they’re asking ($4/month or $40/year).
What I like best about this solution is that my daughter suggested it. She still complains a little when she gets shut off, but it doesn’t feel arbitrary or unfair. As a parent, I’ve realized she wasn’t spending as much time on her device as I thought she was (she’s pretty busy, with school, activities, playdates, and regular visits from family members).
So, two thumbs up for ScreenTime.