Parenting Apps: The Tail No Longer Wags The Dog!
By Andrea Bowdle
Would you be interested in turning your child's cell phone into a parenting tool? We were so very tired of the same old battle over our then 13 yr old daughter’s cell phone. What apps she could have, when she could use the phone, going to bed on time and not getting distracted during her tutoring time! The last straw was when she downloaded an app that could track her location without her knowing this was happening and receiving inappropriate pictures. We needed a better system…. I took to the internet, reading parenting sites dealing with technology and parental controls of the technology for our children’s devices and tried out several apps.
We ended up going with an app called OURPACT. The app is installed on the parent's phone which then controls the child’s phone, remotely from any location. Some of the main reasons we like the app is because it can be installed on both her phone and on her tablet/iPad, it blocks apps but allows the phone to still make calls and send text messages, we could try the simple version for free and if we wanted more bells and whistles the full app was a reasonable $7.99 per month. We tried the free version to start with; 5 blocks a month ($2.00 per month for unlimited). The first time we blocked the phone was not pretty, think 2-year-old tantrum. But she soon got it - if she did what she was supposed to do when she was supposed to do it, then no block. Otherwise, once the phone was blocked I would get a call from her asking what she needed to do to get her apps back. Viol’a the phone was now my best friend and parenting tool instead of my enemy.
We eventually upgraded to the premium version so that we could make schedules for when the apps were available, make individual apps available when we wanted (for school etc) and receive alerts when apps are downloaded. The best part is that she now agrees that having a schedule and oversight has helped her with impulse control over the phone and feeling good about when she IS using it. Its a win-win for all of us! Here is the link if you want to check it out https://ourpact.com/