Ever walked into your child’s room at 3am and found them busy gaming on a school night? Or have you struggled to switch off your devices telling yourself just “one more game” and suddenly the sun is making an appearance and the birds are chirping? It happens to the best of us.
Controlling screen time can be difficult at times, but we have found some great ways that make it a little bit easier – whether it is having tech free zones in your house, parental controls set on your child’s devices or purchasing a router with inbuilt Wi-Fi scheduling – here are some great ways to make sure that you don’t get distracted and you (and your children!) can get a good night’s sleep.
Check if your Router has a ‘Pause’ Function
Believe it or not, some routers are able to schedule Wi-Fi pauses for specific devices with the push of a button. This allows devices, such as a phone or a laptop, in a household to be switched off from the Wi-Fi at a certain time – which means you won’t walk into your child’s room way past their bedtime and find them on Fortnite after they promised to head to sleep.
Alternatively, many modems and routers, such as the NetComm CloudMesh range offers a the ‘pause’ function in its settings that allow you to stop the Wi-Fi for different devices in your home.
This is a great option if you are a family unit, as it allows the adults to continue using their own device, or watch Netflix, after the children head to sleep. If you have different bedtimes in your family, you can also ‘group’ devices to switch off at different times. Device will be re-connected when the pause is unlocked in the morning, you can do this using the ‘un-pause’ button or the timer function.
Other routers may also be compatible, we recommend investigating this online in your router’s user manual.
Use your device to set Screen Time for certain apps
Ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone? You’d be surprised with how much time you really spend on certain apps. Activating ‘Screen Time’ via your device (Android and iPhone) can allow you to see your weekly and daily average time, as well as what apps are the most used.
One way to reduce this is to set a challenge with your friends to try and lower your screen time, the one who has the biggest reduction after a month wins a prize of your choosing or must shout you dinner and drinks. You can even do this with family members too – imagine sitting at the dinner table and having a conversation without being interrupted by TikTok?! (I’m guilty of this one).
To do this –
Go to Settings > Screen Time.
Tap Turn On Screen Time (or Digital Wellbeing on Android).
Select your device.
You can also set up parental controls here, too.
Set up a lockbox, or a ‘tech-free’ zone in your house
Another easy (and cost effective) way of reducing screen time is to simply lock the devices in a box or in a room during school hours or at bedtime. Similarly, you could set up ‘tech-free’ zones in your house (for example, the dining room) where phones, tablets and computers are banned – and yes, if you are the parent, that means you too.
If all else fails…
What did people do before phones and laptops? Honestly, I can’t remember but we are told that people picked up a new hobby – mine is roller-skating. The easiest way to reduce your screen time is to be away from your phone or your laptop (when necessary, of course), so head to the gym, knit, take up dancing – whatever takes your fancy. And if that doesn’t work, try turning off the Wi-Fi and thinking of it as a holiday. BYO cocktails and cabana.
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