Life as a parent is scary nowadays. Used to be, we roamed free as kids; “come home when the street lights come on.” I remember riding my bike to my heart’s content and sneaking to watch MTV (my father was so strict about what we watched). Now, I have to worry about them accidentally clicking on “Momo” or porn while on my couch.
I have 3 kids, each of them have a device. And while I truthfully think it’s not too different from when I was a kid, we just hear about the bad things more, I constantly worry about what they can access online. I mean, c’mon y’all, I have a thirteen year old SON ! I am petrified of what he might “stumble” upon one of these days. Thank God he hasn’t been searching yet (that I know of)
All this worry led me to an app called OurPact. I tried a couple of different monitoring apps and this is the one I landed on. I use it for Apple and Android devices. My favorite feature is that I can shut down their devices with the click of a button. Since we homeschool and apparently their phones are too tempting to leave alone during school hours, I set a schedule for them. They can’t access any apps or the internet (except for texting) while it’s “Blocked”. It’s been marvelous for their productivity. Also, a great feature for when they won’t behave. Mama just shuts off the phones and all of the sudden they’re happy to listen to me. I love that they can still text because if I need to run out, they can still get in touch with me without the temptation. Another good thing about the schedule function is that you can make one for each day. For example, I don’t have bedtime scheduled on weekends, because I’m a cool mom like that.
It also, has a feature that you can connect the phones individually to a computer and then manually allow certain apps when it’s blocked and things like that, really personalize the features and uses. I haven’t done this yet because I’m not super tech savvy and I’m waiting on Tim to help me. But once I’ve figured that out I’ll keep y’all updated.
OurPact also makes it really easy to block websites/apps. There’s just some things out there that I don’t want the kids using and this service is great about letting me filter things.
There’s a free version that works fine, but to get all the extra customization I pay $4.99 a month (total, not per device). It’s worth every penny. There are other apps out there which I’m sure do that trick, this is just the one I feel gives me the most bang for my buck and I personally recommend.
I truly believe technology and social media isn’t bad (heck, I’m trying to make a living off it) but I do think we need to be careful. I don’t want to ban my kids from everything, so I’m very vigilant about being open and honest with them about my expectations of their device usage and why I have the rules that I have. I find that’s the best way to navigate all this with my kiddos.
What do you use to keep an eye out? Or do you not use anything at all? What do you think about raising kids with the world available at the push of a button? Leave me a comment and we can discuss it.
All the love,