An hour on the Internet sometimes feels like a few minutes. Adults know this feeling as well as children. A new notification, a new post, now just finish the level and have a quick look at TikTok – but then it’s really over! Many apps are designed to keep us glued to the screen with constant new stimuli. This makes it increasingly difficult to simply put the device down. Special apps for regulating media time or setting options such as screen time aim to help people use media more consciously.
Screen time is available on the iPhone, iPad and MacBook. This allows you to see how much time you spend with which apps every day. Certain apps can be blocked for a certain period of time or after a predefined time has elapsed. It is also possible to block certain content (e.g. age-restricted movies or games). With the help of the
– another Apple feature – the corresponding settings can also be made on other devices.
You set up screen time either directly on your own device or on your child’s. Alternatively, you can set screen time for each family member individually from your device in Family Sharing. You can also set the screen time for multiple devices in your household by tapping “Share across devices”. This allows you to transfer your specified settings to iPad and other Apple devices as well.
Apple’s support pages have step-by-step instructions on how to set up screen time.
On Android devices, Digital Wellbeing is integrated as a function in the settings as of Android 9. Here you can see at a glance how often the smartphone and the individual apps were used. Android offers three options for regulating media time at once:
Android provides step-by-step instructions on how to set Digital Wellbeing.
Screen time also offers the possibility of a so-called parental control on Apple devices. You can use it to regulate your child’s cell phone use and, for example, to control the number of incoming calls. Prevent purchases from the App Store or content with certain age ratings. Detailed instructions on parental controls are available from Apple Support.
The parental control functions are not directly integrated into the operating system of Android devices. With the free Google app Family Link, you can still keep an eye on your children’s media use. You can find more detailed information on this Google help page.
As a general rule, you should keep in mind that your child may feel controlled by you by regulating his or her media use. Therefore, talk openly with your child about the setting options and consider together which ones make sense. As your child becomes more independent over time, settings should be reconsidered regularly. Of course, the older your child is, the more he or she will know how to avoid certain settings. However, if you trust your child, there is usually no reason to do so. Also think together about how they can Media time and media-free time in the family.