App Name: Screen Time – Media Time Manager
Mom’s Rating: 4/5
Kids’ Rating: NA
Recommended Grades/Ages: Mom, or independent use from grade 2 up
Skills Developed: Time Management, Chores
Available On/Price: iPhone/iPod/iPad was $1.99, currently on sale – $0.99
A free lite version is also available that will let you set up one child.
Reviewed on: iPod and iPad
Screen Time allows you to set up customized profiles for each of your children (complete with photograph from your camera roll), and to track the time they spend in front of a ‘screen’ – such as a video game, iPod, television etc. The timer is built into the app itself, so you just press go and it starts counting up. Credit for screen time can be doled out as a daily allowance that can be rolled over if not used or reset daily. You can even leave the daily allowance blank and require your child to earn screen time strictly through chores (read more on that below). A selection of pre-defined screens that your child can spend their time on is available that you can easily customize or add to.
There is also a feature in this app that lets you award screen time for the completion of tasks – whether for completed chores or behavioral awards. A pre-defined list is available that you can easily edit or add to. You can pick the task, change the amount of time each is worth, and generally change this however you wish. You can also set up awards other than screen time that your child can trade their screen minutes in for. So, instead of spending all their screen time in front of a screen, they could save it up for a new book (the pre-defined sample suggests an hour of screen time for this, but again – this is YOUR app to customize!)
I didn’t ask my children to rate this app; I don’t give them that option when it comes to mom tools that result in them doing more chores. They do like the option to earn more time on the iPod though – that always gets them going on housework!
This is technically a universal app, but it is only really optimized for the iPhone/iPod. It is fairly blurry in 2x mode on the iPad.
What We Liked:
Our family adores our iDevices, but we (the adults) know that life doesn’t revolve around a screen. There are family members to take care of, meals to make, chores to be done, books to be read, homeschooling to be completed, games to play outside, the list goes on and on! Young children don’t always seem to realize this though.
I love that Screen Time helps parents to set clear boundaries and guidelines for screen usage in their homes that their children can look to for a consistent policy on the amount of time they can watch television, play with the iPod, etc. for. It can be all too easy as parents just to snap when the kids have had ‘too much iPod! Screen Time can help everyone be on the same page.
I really appreciate that you can time multiple children at the same time, so if you have one child on the iPod and another on the iPad – no problem. They can each have their separate timers ticking away.
And who can dislike the fact that you can even encourage children to do more around the house to earn more time on the iPad! You have to love that.
What We Didn’t Like:
Some of the small round buttons were very hard to tap on. They have a very small touchable area and it’s tricky to get the touch JUST right. I’d love to see the tappable space enlarged.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you manage your children’s screen time and guide them into maintaining a healthy balance of activities with a minimum of fuss, Screen Time can help. In fact, it might become a vitally important app in your collection of family management tools.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!