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Get your kids to leave their tablets with no tantrums

The GHI has some handy tips and tricks to reduce screen time and restrict children’s access to apps

One in ten parents will let children spend over three hours a day in front of tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices, adding up to a whopping 21 hours a week.

 Furthermore, More than half of parents admitted their kids will spend more time on devices than they did last year, despite that 40% saying they think they spend too much time using their tablet or smartphone already, research by security software firm Avast revealed.

Worryingly, more than half (56%) of parents are worried about what their children are looking at when they’re using tablets and smartphones and a third admit they don’t know how to monitor what their children are viewing or what apps and services they are accessing.

Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we agree that lettings kids uses tablets and smartphone is a great way of educating them and keeping them entertained on long car journeys. But making sure they don’t spend too long on the device can be a struggle and can lead to rows and tantrums. Fear not, we’ve got some great tips for making it easier to limit screen time and stop them accessing content they shouldn’t be looking at.

Restrict access to certain apps

Start by stopping kids accessing certain apps on the phone or tablet they are using, whether that’s games or video services like YouTube.  If you’ve got iPhone or iPad head to Settings, General, and Restrictions to set what your child is allowed to use., Those with Google Android smartphones can only restrict apps based on maturity level. To do this – head to the Google Play Store and select Settings. Scroll down to the User Control section and press Content Filtering, then select the maturity level and hit OK. Windows Phone has a dedicated area known as Kids Corner that will restrict which apps can be accessed.

Limit how long the device can be used

Some tablets and smartphones have parental controls, for example all Amazon Kindle Fire tablets including the Kindle Fire Kids edition have this function built-in to the operating system. However if your device doesn’t allow you to do this, there are still ways you can limit screen time.
On an iPhone or iPad you need a function called Guided Access, which can be switched on from the Settings menu. Head to General, accessibility and scroll down to  Guided access. Switch the slider to on.
Now open an app and triple-press the home button. From here you will be able to select areas you don’t want whoever is using the phone to access, so the button to buy lives in a game for example. Also press the Options key in the bottom left-hand corner to set a time limit. This means after that period of time has passed, the screen will go black and you’ll need to enter the Guided Access passcode to use it again.

 
There’s no way to limit screen time from Android directly, but this is where the Screentime app comes in. It’s easy to use and works well at restricting screen time. On a Windows Phone, you’ll need to create a Microsoft account for your child and then add them to your ‘Family’ and then you can set screen time limits. They will need to be signed in to a tablet or smartphone with this account to ensure the time limits work.
 

Install child-friendly apps

Both YouTube and Sky offer dedicated kids apps that have a time limit function, which after the allotted time has passed, won’t work. The YouTube Kids app is free to download for iPhones, iPads and Google Android devices, while the Sky Kids app  is free but you’ll need a Sky TV subscription to access the shows.
 

Monitoring

Knowing what apps and services your child is using is crucial for keeping them safe online. With younger children, it’s easy to keep a check on what they’re up to, especially if they are using your tablet or smartphone and they don’t have their own. But for older children that may be using the device when they’re a passenger in a car, or in their room, it’s much harder to monitor. This is where Mobicip parental controls app comes in. The app, which is available for iPhones, iPads, Google Android smartphones and tablets, and Windows devices, not only allows parents to see what sites their children are viewing and the apps they are using, but also lets you set time limits for usage and provides a safe browser so they can’t accidentally access inappropriate content.
 
 
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