Ho Ho Ho, Christmas Day is near! Your children may have already written a wish list to Santa, and at the top of nearly every child’s Christmas list is some form of gaming device. Below are a list of methods for controlling your children’s screen time throughout the holidays.
Children look up to their parents therefore it’s very important to lead by example when it comes to screen time. Next time you’re thinking of binge watching a series, remember to think about how your children are following by example. Children are quite observant – everything you do will appear to be okay for them to mirror.
Most kids know more about technology than adults do. This can be worrying because they can take advantage of that power to have full control of their devices. So educating yourself on devices purchased for your children will help you take control of monitoring screen time.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good old board game. Putting time aside for your family is important. Consider a digital detox, set time for the whole family at dinner or even an hour before bed away from all devices.
We all know how much children love games, so why don’t you make a game of it. Have a system in place where they’re able to earn rewards for little jobs around the house which they can cash in for screen time. This method will also teach the child that nothing in life is free.
Being aware of what parental controls are available is important for monitoring the child’s use of the device. Below are a list of popular consoles with directions on how to monitor your child’s screen time.
You need to be logged in as the Master account.
On your PS4 system, go to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management and select the child account you would like to set Play Time controls for.
Set a Time Zone then select Play Time Settings. Once you have set your restrictions, select Save to apply the changes.
If the user tries to access their account outside of the timeframe they will not be able to access the console.
The family management screen allows you to see how long an account has used the console for. The user is warned before time is up so they can Save their game before time runs out.
Play time can be extended on console or through the app.
Xbox One/Windows 10
To set screen time limits for your child on Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, go to https://account.microsoft.com/family and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then:
Find your child’s name and select Screen time.
If you want to use the same schedule for all devices, switch Use one screen time schedule from Off to On. If you’d rather have separate schedules, scroll down and switch on screen time for PC and Xbox One individually.
Set how much time your child is allowed to spend with their devices each day, and when they can use them. If you want to give them the full amount of time you’ve scheduled, select Max scheduled. (Example: If you’ve allowed screen time from 8 am to 8 pm, they could use their devices that entire time.)
Tip: Give your kids a heads up on Xbox when their screen time is running out:
On your Xbox, press the Xbox button on the controller.
Select System > Settings > Preferences > Notifications > Xbox Notifications > System and make sure System notifications on is selected. Screen time counts down when a child is signed in, so if they’re not actively using their console, have them sign out.
Download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app > Sign up to app
Set amount of play time and system will let the child know when time is up (play time only applies to the system not individual players)
If child constantly plays past time you can suspend software completely turning game play into sleep mode
Set time for every day of the week
Get reports on what games they are playing
Go to Settings > Screen Time > App Limits
Choose a category of apps you want to limit and tap on it. If you want to limit a specific app, tap on the graph on the main Screen Time Screen, then find the app you want to block in the Most Used section. In this section you can also limit the amount of time the user can spend on a specific webpage.
Choose how much time the user can spend in the app. This resets at midnight local time.
If you want to allow more time on specific days, like the weekend, tap on Customize Days and change the time allowed for those days.
Click on the Apple Icon > System Preferences from the dropdown menu.
Click on Parental Controls > Lock in the bottom left of the Parental Controls window.
Enter the Administrator username and password for your Mac then click Unlock.
Select an account that has parental controls enabled. Click on the Time tab at the top of the Parental Controls window.
Press the box for Limit weekday use to > to set up how many hours per day during the week your child can access his or her account.
Press the box for Limit weekend use to > to set up how many hours on each weekend day your child can access his or her account.
Press the box for School nights to prevent access to a parental controlled account on weeknights.
Press the box for Weekends to prevent access to a parental controlled account on the weekend.
Click the lock in the bottom left of the Parental Controls window before closing it to prevent further changes.
What stops the kids from going in and changing the settings?
Parents should always own the master account on their children’s devices and keep the credentials hidden.