“The worst parenting mistake I have ever made!” YIKES!!
These were my friend’s words. She had bought smart phones for her kids and regretted it ever since. Most parents, including myself, are frustrated that phones have become something to deal with 24/7. I have a lot to say about this topic (surprise!) – but this post is about Our Pact – a parental control app that I promised to share with a friend, so I’m typing it here to share with other friends as well.
Our family rule had been that the kids could have a hand-me-down smartphone when they went to college. (After a year they have to buy their own and pay for their own plan.) However, we moved and our new high school has teachers that “require” them – we held out for a year before handing-down our old ones to David and Kimberly. In a school of over 2,000 students, only two of them still carried “dumb” phones. I think it built character…
Thankfully, Stacey C. told me about Our Pact.
From my phone I have remote access to their phones. For example, I can:
- Block the internet and apps
- Set a recurring schedule for certain activities by day
- Set screen time allowance- their apps are scheduled to be available for several hours during the day, but they actually only have as many hours as I give them.
- At any time I can give them access (or block access) as needed.
- There is also a family locator to track down their device.
A few other things that we do:
- Phones are to be kept in the kitchen during the day. Sometimes they are in the family room for short periods of time, but I don’t like to see them when we are together.
- Phones charge in my room at night. The kids bring them in before bed and they can pick them up after their seminary class the next day.
- Several times we have all put our phones away early in the evening – suddenly our evening is full of possibilities!! Last Sunday all four of us kept our phones put away (Mom and Dad had limited access). It was GREAT!
- The only time phones can be in bedrooms is if they simply MUST have music while they clean… but with OurPact I just block messaging, etc.
- The app store is blocked and the apple ID is unknown to the user – only the parents have access. The phone also recognizes the parents’ fingerprints.
- No phones on family vacations! My children have great friends, but they don’t need to be on vacation with us! With this new app we can have a little more leniency… but why??
They’ll thank us later….
There are other parental control apps out there. I recall one called “TeenSafe” or something like that. The only feature I remember is that there was a “pause” button which turns off everything except the actual phone – like it can only make calls. I like that one!
I should add that my children are accustomed to rules – but they complained a bit at first. Oh well – fortunately I’m not trying to be their friend, just their parent. I also pay a small monthly subscription to be able to control multiple phones, block messaging and have all the flexibility we need. So worth it!!
Click OurPact to see their website.