News / Science & Technology

Apps Let Parents Control Children's Usage of Electronic Devices

FILE - Frankie Thevenot, 3, plays with an iPad in his bedroom at his home in Metairie, La.
FILE - Frankie Thevenot, 3, plays with an iPad in his bedroom at his home in Metairie, La.
Reuters
Parents struggling to get their children away from smartphones and tablets for meals, homework, exercise and other activities can arm themselves with new apps to remotely block access to the devices.
 
Usage of smartphones and tablets among children has tripled since 2011, according to Common Sense Media, a San Francisco based non-profit that studies the effects of media and technology on young users.
 
A new app called DinnerTime Parental Control, for iPhone or Android smartphones, enables parents to restrict when children can use their smartphones and tablets.
 
“The price of entry level smartphones and tablets have come down a lot, and as a result, more and more kids have their own individual devices,” said Richard Sah, co-founder of DinnerTime, based in San Mateo, California.
 
With the free app, parents can pause activity on a child's Android smartphone or tablet so that they can focus on things like homework, exercise and family time. Once a device has been paused, all functions on their device are blocked, including the ability to text and play with apps.
 
To use the app, parents install it on the child's device and enter in their phone number to link the two devices. Parents can then set specific break times, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, when the device will be locked. A countdown screen displayed on the child's device shows when they can use it again.
 
Sah said he was inspired to develop the app by the tradition of family dinners, which he thinks is being lost in the age of technology.
 
“Dinner time brings families together for quality time and to have lots of different conversations. We want people to come together for engaging conversations, rather than be distracted by a tablet,” he said.
 
DinnerTime Plus, another free app from the company, lets parents manage the apps their children use and to views the apps they are using in real time.
 
Parents can also purchase detailed reporting, which outlines how much time kids spend on certain apps, and how often they used them.
 
With another app called ScreenTime, parents can push a button on their phones to block usage on their children's devices. They can also set daily time limits for particular apps. The app, for Android, requires a subscription of $3.99 a month.
 
Kimberly Young, a psychologist who focuses on Internet addiction, believes parents need to control how much time their children spend on their devices. But she added an app might not be the best way to do it.
 
“I do not agree that any app is better than good old-fashioned parenting in terms of treating Internet addiction,” said Young, who added that she has seen children as young as 3 years old using mobile devices.
 
“The larger issue is how young is too young,” said Young.
 
Sah is also concerned about usage of devices by young children.
 
“Most kids can use smartphones before learning to write their names or tie their shoes,” he said.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid