This post is brought to you by OurPact, a technology management app for your mobile devices that can schedule internet and app use on your child’s mobile device based on their schedule. Set the number of hours your children can access their mobile apps, Block the internet and apps at a touch, or block all apps as you see fit.
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We live in a mobile world, the technology available at our finger tips, didn’t even exist a few years ago! It really is amazing, but at the same time overwhelming.
I mean, iPads and iPhones didn’t even really exist when I have my first child eight years ago. But, now ask just about any kid around, and they can tell you what a smart phone and tablet is, and they can probably show you just how to use and operate it.
It really is a different world from when I was growing up!
Here are a few crazy facts for you. The average children spends more than 50 hours per week in front of a screen. And, that is counting only out of school time. What? That is just insane! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day, max!
Everywhere you go, whether it is the grocery store, a restaurant, a park, while people are on walks outside, you see children (and lets face it, adults too) glued to a mobile device. I wish I could say I wasn’t guilty, but I’m just as bad as the next. I am on my phone a lot!
I will say, that my husband and I over the years, have really tried to limit our children from their exposure to mobile devices. Believe it or not, neither of us have any children’s games on our smartphones, we never have. Our children aren’t allowed to play with our phones, it’s always been the rule in our house, and that’s just the norm over here. We do have a few educational apps on our iPad that we downloaded a few years ago for our children for a long plane flight. But, other than that we do try to keep them off of mobile devices as much as we can. I believe strongly that children’s brains are developing constantly in these formative years, and too much screen time has always worried me for my young children. Now we just need to get grandma on board our plan. Wink.
Although we really make a big effort to keep our children off of mobile devices, (don’t get me started on their TV watching) we aren’t naive to the fact, that our children will be using mobile devices more and more as they get older. They will need it soon for their school work, or the convenience for us to get a hold of them. They also will need to learn how to balance their use of technology, and know that while there is so much good from technology, there can also be a lot of bad.
As a parent of young children, and aunt to teenagers, I always try to stay up to date on what apps are out there, and what the kids are using these days. I think it is always important to stay informed of what is out there, and have a game plan on how to deal with it. My kids may not have social media accounts or devices today. But, they will one day. And, we have to be prepared to teach them how to be responsible with all that they have at their fingertips. And, after many discussions with other moms with little ones. It is a constant worry among all of us that our children need to learn responsibility when it comes to technology, and some children (and adults) are just down right addicted, and that’s not good for anybody.
I think my kids would live on the iPad if we let them. It isn’t all bad. In fact, some of the apps are great for educational purposes. My kids love going over their letters, doing math problems, and learning to read.
But, then it quickly turns into, “hey, they had more time than me.” “Give me the ipad!” And, usually some kind of a melt down occurs, and usually some fighting between siblings.
As I played around with the OurPact app, I was surprised how quick and easy it was to set up. All you have to do is download the app onto your Iphone (coming out on Android in a few months). Then head to a link on the mobile device that you would like to set up with your device to control the app and internet use. I was able to block access to internet and apps from my phone for our ipad with just the touch of a button, make a schedule to time that I allow my children to use the apps, and I could grant access at any time as well from my phone. My kids thought it was magic when the apps would disappear, then show up again. Wink.
The nice thing is you can set up a profile for each one of your kids, and their devices and run it from your device. You can allow more screen time as they earn it, or take it away. The thing I like about this app is that it is great for teenagers, little children, as well as adults. If you feel like your spending a little too much time glued to your phone. Maybe you can set yourself some limitations, and set up times where you won’t be tempted to check your social media and schedule times to shut off your apps, and spend that time with your family instead giving them your full attention. You can set a certain time of the day to be mobile device free, and if you are really looking to detox or be held accountable, you could give your spouse the access to block or grant you access to your apps and set the schedule so you can’t cheat. That might be a little intense, but we all know that phone addiction is real. For old, and young!
And, as a little push to help you, and me, manage our screen time. I came up with ..
14 fun ideas / activities to do with your children instead of sitting around on your mobile devices:
1) Go for a bike ride.
2) Visit a local farm.
3) Go for a hike.
4) Grab your lunch, and take it on a picnic.
5) Explore your city.
6) Do some hands-on crafts.
7) Build a snowman (winter is always the hardest time for us to stay off electronics), getting outside can help!
8) Pick up an outside Hobby like skiing when the weather is freezing outside, and inside boredom hits.
10) Go to your nearest lake or body of water, and let the kids throw in rocks or play in the sand.
11) Fly a kite.
12) Hit your local splash pad park.
13) Do some scientific experiments. We put some whipping cream in a jar, and shook it until it turned into butter!
14) Explore a magical place.
In this technology driven world, it is easy to start creating an online world, when the real world is out there too. It is just up to us to find and maintain that balance and use technology in a way that we are controlling it, not it is controlling us. And, hopefully teach our children to do the same. I know I could always use the reminder. 😉
Happy Parenting 🙂