A common complaint of parents these days is how much screen time their kids spend on their mobile devices. Parents, unfortunately, are reluctant to take possession of the devices, for various reasons. But here’s a free app that does the dirty work for you: OurPact. Have you heard about it?
You sync it with your kids’ device and it basically allows you to turn off some or all apps — it can even block Internet access altogether. I caution parents to resist the temptation to use this as a punishment, but instead use it as part of a positive reinforcement plan.
It’s too late for my kid (he’s 19 and doesn’t live under my roof anymore), but gosh I would have liked this app a few years ago. We could have come to an agreement together as a family. He was really into the whole contract thing; he likes knowing what’s expected, having a vested interest in putting the agreement together and all that.
For my two cents’ worth, even though I really like that Family Contract (read the review), I’d make some minor tweaks to #1, #2 and #4:
- I agree to comply with the schedule we’ve agreed to, using OurPact. [allows for a more collaborative approach, rather than the parent simply imposing his or her will on the child]
- If I find that I need to exceed the daily limits that we’ve defined for me, I promise to have a calm conversation outlining my reasons for needing a time extension, and coming to an agreement about what an appropriate amount of time would be needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. [allows for collaborative problem-solving]
- I will never provide personal information (address, school phone number, etc.) online without my parents’ consent because of the danger that could result in doing so. [don’t assume our kids understand the perils]
Another good family media contract with age-appropriate versions is found at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators.
Have fun! And be sure to include your child in on the process.