Before I started writing this post, I stepped back and thought about how different our world is today. It used to be hard to get kids in from the outdoors, and a street light was the signal to get home before you get grounded. Oh my how times have changed.
The integration of smartphones and connected in-home devices to WiFi is at an all-time high creating a parenting nightmare. Children no longer play outside, rather they are inside with their faces glued to gaming systems that run off of WiFi. When we boot them off of the gaming systems they use the smartphones again, basically creating an endless use of screen time.
Our battle as parents is waged in every household, every day: How do we gain control of screen time and home WiFi connected devices to create a healthy balance of life for our children and even ourselves? Fret no more, there is a family controls tools to help you develop healthy and safe digital habits with your children!
Lavishly live tech out loud and start gaining control of screen time and home WiFi connected devices. Read on for the solution and I promise you don’t have to even say a word, you just have to do!
Gaining Control Of Screen Time And Home WiFi Connected Devices
Today’s discussion is sponsored by T-Mobile. Opinions, content, and images are mine based on my use of the product, the app and the T-Mobile Service~ It is such pertinent info and such a great product, that I am compelled to share it with you as a solution. Ready?
Read on, bookmark the page, share the post, tell all the parents you know. We are all about to get have our moment of reckoning with screen time!
Reality Of Screen Time
Let us discuss basics and parental control over screen time at current before I introduce you to what I have uncovered. First things first. Did you know that most kids by the age of 10 have their first smartphone? Here comes trouble is all I say and eyeroll. Parents across the United States are concerned about their kids’ online activities. Are you?
While the phone is a great way to keep in constant contact with your children it is also a nuisance, a homework distraction, an on-going battle in every home around you and the nation. Seriously step back and think about how many times your kids’ faces are buried to the screen in their hands.
However, this whole screen time phenomenon does not stop with mobile phones, it carries right through to connected devices in your home, those run by WiFi. What devices am I referring to? How about tablets, gaming consoles, laptops, smart TVs, etc. Staying connected in our world starts in the palm of their hands and continues through the unlimited free WiFi that kids love best in their homes.
A Few Of Our Rules – Not A Solution
We have a few rules: first, if you wear earphones and we are all together, (driving, etc) “It’s One Ear To The Family” meaning they have to keep one earbud in and one out so they can hear us.
Next: No phones at the dinner table, period. So they worked around this with smartwatches. (ugggg). However, I know you are looking at the top photo and saying, ‘Well that’s not working” and I agree. We were away on a vacation and they pulled the phones out. So, not a full-proof situation there. I give up, but that is not how I am so read on. I found a solution.
Stepping Up As Parent ~ I Do~
“Guys put your phones away” or “It’s Dinner, no phones at the table” I dare you to utter those words and not get backlash with some comments. Why bother arguing, there are other options. Some battles can be won without waging a war of verbal strings.
Perhaps you have walked into the kids’ mancave only to discover intense giggling, yet you don’t know why. You might not acknowledge the giggling or you might be met with, “we are laughing at what we saw on YouTube,” and you may be the parent that says (Parent A), “give me that phone!” or maybe you are the parent that says (Parent B), “Ok guys, enough on YouTube, can you please find something else to do?”
Change Requires No Words, Just Action
No matter what you just said, there is a backlash because kids are kids, not because they are being rotten about their screen time. What I am about to show you can make these situations no happen and you never have to say a word. In fact, you will be certain they were NOT on YouTube and there will be no such conversations.
Further, you can even see what they were watching, from the history on their phone without having to be a tech wizard. So if you were Parent A all you have to do is visit check out the history by a few taps of a button, no hacking degree necessary.
If you were Parent B, your dirty work was done for you. Your home has control over your kids’ online activities and screen time on their phones and across the connected devices in your home!
How To Gain Control of Screen Time & More
Network Carrier Matters
Everything starts with your cell phone Network Carrier and ends in your home with WiFi. So who do you have? My kids are little data hogs, I am not going to lie, so after really needing to keep cell phone bills reasonable and unlimited, we chose T-Mobile. You might know T-Mobile as America’s “Un-carrier” because they truly have redefined how we buy and use wireless service!
Their standards set the New Standards for all other brands. An ‘Un-carrier’ move: ending the 2-year contract (bliss!), unlimited data and of course this forced Verizon and AT&T to ‘get with the program’ and do business fairly so we all could benefit! Hat’s off to T-Mobile. As a side personal side note, the ‘Un-Carrier’ is still doing it better!
Setting Limits With FamilyMode
Allow me to share my one son with you today, whom you know as Where Niko Travels. Niko is a Fortnite kind of kid, who loves SnapChat, YouTube, Instagram, gaming, and sports beyond the norm. He is iPhone obsessed and it seems like the device is literally glued to his hand.
Often I see the top of his curly-haired head more than that precious little face. I don’t like talking to a head, and I do not like gaming, etc. Where Niko Travels uses his phone once he goes to bed, something I totally disagree with.I want everyone to go to sleep and rest then wake up refreshed. My preference would be control over nighttime usage without having to be the hall monitor and take the phone away.
My solution was easy. The FamilyMode app allows me to shut Where Niko Travels down with a few touches of the screen. In fact, I can keep his weekend screen time later and his weekdays earlier. It’s that easy. When 10P hits, he is totally cut off from using the phone, he can’t so he has to go to sleep. Where Niko Travels phone service comes back on when he wakes for school the next day, see it here.
I am sure you are like us, you have WiFi at home and your gaming systems run off it. Of course, we also have tablets and multiple cell phones because there are 5 of us. If you think I am running device to device to monitor and deny access, you might be dreaming.
Beyond busy does not describe me well enough. Therefore, the T-Mobile FamilyMode has the Home Base device, which pairs with your home Wi-Fi to control every device in your home. If a device in our home is connected to WiFI, I can control it with the app. I have control of all WiFi connected screens, making me Mom Supreme! (app download required for each device*
My due diligence as a parent to date has been this, “Please do not go onto gambling sites, Minecraft, or YouTube,” met only by an ”Ok Mom” but I know they are still going on YouTube etc. I hear them talking about YouTube Videos, so they have violated what I am requesting.
No more requesting, rather, just filtering content. There is a Filter level, that ranges from None to High and I can control the platforms they visit. Here it’s easier to see. My example, I have Not Allowed access to YouTube, Minecraft and Gambling Sites.
Also, I went a little crazier and ‘Not Allowed’ Mature sites and Forums. After all, I have the power, why let that stuff open. If the kids have not used it, great, but there will be no temptations to use it if they can’t access it, right?
You Gain Control Of What Seemingly Has Run Amuck
What you want, you can have, control. As we have discussed, most American kids get their first phone by the age of 10. Parents know that their kids are spending about 19+ hours on their devices and maybe even more. WiFi plays into how much screentime the kids use too as they have so many devices such as Xbox, smart TVs, computers and tablets.
Truly it is an epidemic because if you tally the hours up per child its 1,064 hours per year that their sweet faces are staring at screens! Our loss of control is about to change. Don’t be part of the 68% that feel a lack of control over your kids’ online habits, conversely, take control.
The power is easily accessible and truly affordable. Use the family control tools I have shared to help your family develop healthy and safe digital habits!
Where To Get This & Cost
The device and app are available at T-Mobile retail stores, online, or by calling 1-800-T-Mobile. Did I mention that the app can be downloaded from the app store for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets? Well, it can!
The device is priceless and its cost is a mere $20 (while supplies last), while the T-Mobile FamilyMode app is just $10 per month! T-Mobile FamilyMode is available to all T-Mobile postpaid customers on a T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice consumer plan.
You will never be screaming at the kids for screen time, or saying, “get off the phone, or games” because with the touch of the screen you can PAUSE everything. Life can be uncomplicated.
T-MOBILE ONE FAMILY ACCOUNT BENEFITS
Remember T-Mobile ONE family accounts (two or more lines) also include ALL these Un-carrier benefits at no extra cost:
Family Allowances: you can monitor talk and text usage on the lines on your T-Mobile account. For families, this is a great way for parents to manage their kids’ smartphone activity
Netflix On Us: through an exclusive partnership, get a standard 2-screen subscription at no extra charge
Simple Global: unlimited text and data roaming and low flat-rate calling in 140+ countries
Mobile Without Borders: use your device in Mexico and Canada with unlimited talk, text, and data and up to 5GB of 4G LTE
Gogo Inflight: get unlimited texting all flight long and 1 free hour of smartphone Wi-Fi on all domestic flights
DIGITS: use up to five numbers on one device, or use one number on multiple devices
MobileHotspot: connect all your devices to the internet with included tethering data
Un-contract: only you have the power to change the price you pay
Carrier Freedom: we help cover your switching costs
T-Mobile Tuesdays: get thanked with free stuff every week just for being a customer
This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.