5 helpful tools for monitoring your childs screen time

How do I measure how long my children spend on their device?

How much time do my kids spend on their device? A question that lots of parents ask themselves is, how do I keep track of their time spent on their tablet? It doesn’t matter if it’s a tablet, laptop or phone, you want to limit the time spent on that device to a maximum (unless they’re on their laptop for a school project)

Het easiest way to fight technology is with technology itself! You can limit your childs screen time to download handy apps on the device, I will let you know how a few of them work.


What is the recommended screen time for kids?

The recommended screen time for a child is limited to only one hour per day, but how many kids do you see that spend almost all of their time on a tablet? Technology is great to learn and interact with, but it does have to be done with moderation. Thankfully technology is great at tracking and registering at what its being used for.

Here are 5 apps you can use for monitoring your childs screen time.



Moment helpt ouderlijk toezicht

We all know the feeling that we see something on instagram and just want to see the next image, but get sucked up in the latest posts. Or to read a twitter feed and all of a sudden, you’re two hours later! The app Moment helps you to register your own time (and put a limit to it) but also that of your whole family using Moment Family. It registers things like how many times you have picked up your phone, which apps are used most and ofcourse how much time is spent on the tablet or phone. If you want to scale back and get a hold of you “addiction”, or limit your childs screen time, you can add in time limits and even switch off certain devices for specific moments like “family dinner time”. The interface is a very simple and offers a quick overview of your or your familys mobile phone uses. (comment: this app uses location services to run, which can be a let down for some)

It is great for: keeping track of your usage of individuale time on devices of that of your family members.

Costs: free for individual use ($3,99 per month for Pro-functions); $14.99 for 3 months with Moment Family

Platform: iOS




Unglue kids


unGlue puts more responsibility with the child itself and with managing their own screen time. Unglue works on smarth phones, tablets and computers and ables you to put time parameters on each device, Internet planning becomes so detailed that you can manage how much time you are allowed to spend on social media, gaming and video’s. Parents can limit the average time (for instance; two hours of “entertainment time” per day, by the kids decide what they spend this time on. Children can also use their unused time and do special chores/tasks through the unGlue app to earn more time (if the parent chooses to allow this). The service expands through VPN but the intermitted connectivity makes it more consistent and accurate when used at home.

Great for: young children with smart phones.

Costs: free if you have a network computer, otherwise it $ 30 for a piece of hardware that connects to the router.

Platform: iOS




Leaning on the idea that parents should not watch every detail on their childs digital movement, Bosco trusts on a unique algorithm that registers “unusual” activity on your childs phone. Things like change in sleeping patterns, unusual social media activity, geo location that tracks atypical routes, are examples of this. Future updates claim to approve functions like detecting moods though images, video’s and texts. It trusts on these unusual behaviors and activities to warn you, without giving you excess to all the information on their phone and have you read every text or status update.

Great for: older children on social networks who are more autonomous


Platform: iOS and Android




Bark follows a similar philosophy as Bosco over taking more of a hands off approach of digital monitoring, but is much more extensive what it screens. It includes all the important e-mail platforms, social media platforms, popular group apps like Whats app, Kik and Groupme; and even has the ability to detect nudity on images and video’s that are sent through texts. It is based on a very advanced deep learning technology to holistically see if conversations, exchanges, search activities and general activity are suspicious. The algorithm can even register a mean comment like ‘you suck’ and see if it is used as a joke about an object or in a mean context towards another.

Great for: older children on social networks who are more autonomous

Costs: $ 9 per month or $99 for a year (first month free) for an unlimited amount of devices for children

Platform: iOS and Android


Circle by Disney

Circle by disney

When this app was launched in 2015, it was one of the first apps that really offered an extensive monitoring for all gadgets in the household. Focused on everyone in the family, Circle offers a combinations of functions of everything we mentioned before, and offers extensive monitoring, tracking and filtering for all age categories. The general age categories are; toddler, child, teenager and grownups, for parents who want to track their own  (or each others) screen time. You can get very specific with the controls, for instance by closing and blocking specific apps after a certain time of day or on a specific timer (for instance after 45 minutes on Minecraft). There are almost too many options to choose from but you can always choose more general time guidelines like two hours per day. Circle is a piece of hardware that connects to your router.


Great for: everyone in the family, if you want to have really specific time monitoring.

Costs: $99 for hardware, no prescription necessary for use within the house, there are extra costs if you want to use Circle Go to monitor use outside of your home.

Platform: iOS and Android.


What do you do if you don’t want to use technology to limit screen time?

Of course all these apps are super fun and handy because they are directly interregated in to your device, so if you turn off the device, your child has to stop playing.

For me personally, I like to use a physical object to use as a timer. I mostly use my night light with timer and tell them in advance that if it turns off, they have to stop playing. Just like when they have to go to sleep at night. They understand right away and usually there is no nagging. I have a fun dino night light. But you can use any one that you can find.


timelampje kan ook gebruikt worden om de schermtijd te beperken



We will probably have to wait a little longer for more advances apps with language recognition, but they are headed in to the right direction. Eventually the decision comes to how detailed you want to information that you are gathering to be. Every family is different. It is important to introduce technology to kids and to give them the responsibility that comes with the device, to keep the communication lines open, to trust and make sure your children understand the power that social networks hold (the good and the bad).


Author Susan

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