In a 2014 study, it was found that 75% of children sleep with a wireless device in their bedroom. As technology becomes more and more meshed with our everyday productivity and entertainment, many parents are becoming more concerned about how much time their kids are spending on phones and tablets.
While there are many parental control apps that help parents keep an eye on their kids screen time, they don’t offer a lot of services to get the job done.
OurPact puts all of the things parents want and need in one app. With a more interactive interface and ease-of-use, it helps parents stay on top of when and how long kids can use their wireless devices. The best part – it’s absolutely free!
The easiest app a parent could use
After hearing about the app, I had to see exactly how it worked. Since I don’t have children of my own, I tried recruiting my sisters who each have kids who love to play games and watch videos on their tablets.
However, since this experiment was my idea, I got to be the parent for a few days. Through them, I got a firsthand account of what it was like to set parental controls. To be honest, it wasn’t the easiest thing at first.
Setup is simple
Setting up the app was as simple as one could be. It can be done on either a computer or through the OurPact app on the iPhone. You just fill out the simple sign-up form with the usual credentials – name, email, password.
Once your account is set up, then you take your child’s device and pair it with your account. On the device you want to use the controls on, go to pair.ourpact.com.
Once you’re on the site, sign into your account and download the software onto the child’s device.The software is tested and safe, so no worries there. Now you can set the controls remotely. What makes it even better is the ability to pair multiple devices on one account, which is great for parents with multiple children.
OurPact’s parental controls
The design of OurPact is also very straightforward, and the options are almost endless. Through the menus, you can block the internet and apps on the child’s device, schedule when the child can use their device, and other parental controls that can keep your kid away from the screen and focused on other activities.
You can block all apps, or you can pick and choose which ones to block by using the App Rules section on OurPact. As the website states, this “allows parents to block distracting apps, while leaving educational apps for learning.” You can also block any incoming or outgoing text messages for even more control.
Under the scheduling tab, you are able to set important things like bedtime, school, meal times, and more – all of which can be set on specific days and block your child’s distracting apps during the scheduled times. There’s no limit to how many schedules you can set, so go crazy (I did)!
While every parent’s (and child’s) experience is different, I can tell you mine started out like a living hell, but ended on a much better note. Looking back, it would have been smarter to try this out with only one kid, but for some reason I chose to try with four. Lesson learned.
After setting up the app and the devices, I set the schedules for each one and then we waited. The first time the apps were blocked, my small apartment became a circus. Once I explained how the parental controls work, and that it wasn’t the end of the world (which is a very hard thing to explain to four kids under the age of 10), things calmed down a bit.
We spent the restricted times outside playing soccer, going swimming, and being more active altogether. After about the fourth or fifth restricted schedule time, the kids weren’t even worried about their tablets any longer. Over time, they became more interested in what was happening in the real world, and not what was on a screen.
At the end of it all, and since I got to take on the brunt of it, my sisters decided to continue using the app at home on their own. In the end, they know the importance of making sure the kids are more active and learn more real life lessons rather than depending on a screen for entertainment or to keep them busy.
As my youngest sister said, “As a parent, we have to be more attentive to how long our kids are looking at their devices. It adds up, and I’d rather them spend that time outside or working on interpersonal relationships than becoming addicted to a screen.”