Too much tech? How to monitor your child’s iPhone and iPad usage.

How to manage and track the amount of time you and your children spend on iPhones and iPads.

How many hours do you spend on your iPhone or iPad each day? How about your kids? How much time is too much?

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association logoIn a May 2016 survey by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) both parents and teens admitted that technology is overused, agreeing, “I use these devices too much”.   The national survey also showed that parents were more likely to implement rules after learning about irreversible damage to hearing health caused by overuse and excessive volume associated with earbud and headphone use.

In my conversation with Jaynee Handelsman, PHD, CCC-A, President of ASHA, she stated the survey revealed that “…technology is hurting communication between friends and families.” ASHA feels there is a correlation between technology overuse and the development of communication skills such as comprehension, speaking clarity, academic achievement and more. You can find the full May 2016 Study Results at: http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/BHSM-Public-Poll-Results.pdf)

We’re going to look at an app that can help you understand how much time you or your children spend on their iPhones and iPads. Unfortunately, the Android version of this app is not yet available. In addition, at the end of the article I have recommendations presented by ASHA for a healthy “Digital Diet”.

Moment App IconMoment App

Moment App helps you manage and realize the amount of time you spend on your iPhone and iPad. You can see how many hours you spend, what time you are on the device the most and receive usage alerts when you exceed time thresholds. To manage your electronic usage, customize the settings to set your “Max Per Day” limit and get reminders when you overdo it. If you want to get really serious set the “Force Me Off When I’m Over” option. When you meet the “Max Per Day” threshold you will continue to receive annoying messages until you put your iPhone down.

Moment App Setting ScreenIf you want to see how much time your kids are spending on their iPhones you can link the app to their device.

Monitor Family Usage

If you are concerned that you child is spending too much time on screen but you don’t really know how much time, you can easily add them to your Moment app. To monitor the usage of family members tap the person icon at the top of the screen. Tap “Add a Family Member”. It will send the family member an email to install the app.   Once they login you can see the family member’s usage throughout the day. So, if they are not supposed to have their phones out at school, you will know if they are following the rules.

The child or family member will also know how much time the parent is spending on their iPhone. Usage information goes both ways!

You can change your Child’s setting such as “Max Per Day” or “Force Off When Over Limit” from your device.

The Moment app helps you see how much time you or your child are spending on devices but it does not lock or disable the ability to use the iPhone. And, it does not tell you which apps the child is using (see below how to determine this).

Moment App Settings Screen Family How to track how much time kids spend on their iPhonesOther Key Features

There are other key features in Moment that give you control on how much you want the app to manage you! A few of them include:

  • Tracking Hours – You can set the app to only track certain hours (like daytime hours, etc.)
  • Force Me Off – you can set the app to force you off the phone by giving you repeating notices until you either put the iPhone is sleep mode or turn off the feature.
  • Family-Dinner Time (Screen Free Time) – Set this option to force you off the phone temporarily in increments of 5 or 30 minutes. This is great for family meal time or other tech free events. If you pick up your phone during that time frame, you receive annoying noises.

A Few Things to Note

Battery Drain – In order for Moment app to accurately calculate the amount of time you spend on the smartphone, it needs to be running in the background. This can take a toll on your battery life. If you are going to be out for some time with limited access to power, you may want to temporary disable the app. Or, you can pause auto-tracking by tapping the green circle in the upper left corner.

Moment App Settings Screen - Get Off how to track how much time you spend on your iPhoneAccuracy – While the app does a good job of calculating phone use, the information is not always accurate (or perhaps relevant). If you are using your phone as a navigation system while driving that time will be counted towards your total screen time, although this may not be time you are interested in counting. To avoid this you can temporarily turn off auto-tracking.

How to tell which apps you spend the most time on.

How much time do you spend on Facebook? The Moment app is great for managing overall usage but it does not let you know which apps are consuming most of your time. However, on an iPhone you can easily see which apps you are using the most and how much time you spend on each them. To find out:

  • In Settings app > tap Battery. Under Battery usage tap the clock icon.

The number of minutes you have been using the app appears under each app in the list. The percentage of battery consumption shows in the right hand column.

Which app do you spend the most time on? Facebook is my guess. J

The American society recommended “Digital Diet” for teens and tweens

The ASHA study revealed that 90% of parents have established technology use rules that they feel are effective. And 93% of children responded said they thought the technology use rules were fair.

To give parents some guidance on rule development, ASHA provided several suggestions for managing technology in the home which include:

  • Create a family plan
  • Create a log
  • Have tech free nights or events
  • Have game nights
  • Vacation without tech
  • Limit the volume
  • Talk with each other. Don’t text when in the same house.
  • Don’t let kids isolate themselves with tech (ex: headphones in their room or living room)

See the full list of recommendations on ASHA’s Digital Diet.

A key point that Jaynee made in our discussion was that hearing problems are starting to appear at younger ages. This is likely attributed not only to headphone volume but also the longevity of use.  Jaynee’s advice, “Give your ears a break.” You may want to consider limiting the use of headphones and technology during critical child developmental years. Moment app is a good place to start by helping you figure out just how much time your child spends in front of a screen.

Moment App Pricing

  • Free – Basic app (No Moment Family)
  • $4.99 – Pro Features
  • $14.99 – 3 months of Moment Family
  • $44.99 – 12 months of Moment Family

Moment App Direct Download Link

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