Screens are everywhere – TVs in our homes, tablets in cars, digital billboards on the roads, and computers in schools/offices. Modern-day parents find it challenging to optimize screen time for their kids and themselves. A simple solution to this problem is using parental controls like the ones offered by the FamilyTime app.
Excessive Screen Time & Lack of Social Skills – Are They Interlinked?
Having good social skills is vital for success in life. The dilemma of our time is that the number of kids with poor social skills is soaring. What could be the cause behind this problem? Though many factors contribute to this issue, excessive screen time is one of the most predominant causes.
Kids spend most of their time glued to screens and prefer to keep the company of digital devices over human beings. That leads to poor communication and social skills. Moreover, excessive screen time impacts kids’ mental and physical health in more ways than one.
Impact of Excessive Screen Time on Teens
Everything should be done in moderation. Too much of anything is unhealthy for us (kids and adults alike), be it mental, physical, or spiritual health. Similarly, excessive screen time is harmful to kids in numerous ways. Let’s look at how it impacts them.
- Shorter Attention Span
Many scientific studies prove that watching screens for longer durations leads to shrinking attention span in kids and teens. The part of the brain responsible for concentration shrinks, and kids lose the ability to stay focused on tasks for extended periods. That affects their ability to focus on studies, retain learned knowledge, or even maintain focus on a conversation.
- Learning Problems
Since too much screen time is unhealthy for teens and shrinks their attention span, it ultimately hinders their learning ability. That creates a learning deficiency as they struggle to focus on school lessons. In turn, their ability to retain knowledge also suffers and that shows a decline in their grades.
- Sleep Deprivation
Kids and teens (who watch screens more than they should) eventually develop technology addiction. They struggle to put away screens which affects their sleep patterns. They do not get enough sleep, and their sleep quality is poor. Sleep deprivation contributes to learning disabilities as well because they do not get enough rest. They wake up groggy and have difficulty focusing on their studies.
- Decline in Eye Sight
Another caveat of excessive screen time is its negative effect on kids’ eyesight. The harmful rays from hand-held devices affect our eyes a lot more than the TV or computer screens. Smartphones and tablets are often held closer to the face. Therefore, they negative effect of harmful rays emitted by these screens is multifold. Too much screen time also affects other aspects of kids’ lives.
Effects of Lack of Social Skills on Kids
Children who watch screens for extended durations never get many opportunities to talk to people in-person. Eventually, they develop awkwardness and find it challenging to strike up a conversation.
- Socially Awkward Behavior
The more teens stay cooped up in the house, the higher their chances of developing socially awkward behavior. They may prefer talking to people online instead of making conversations in real life. That is why parents must keep notice of what their teens do online and ensure they get enough opportunities to polish their social skills.
- Loneliness, Social Anxiety & Depression
Excessive screen time may lead teens to develop loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Since they always stay busy with their screens or talk to people online, teens spend the majority of their time by themselves. Hence, the loneliness which ultimately leads to depression.
Kids and teens who struggle to make friends in real life get bullied often, which may occur online as well. Bullying or cyberbullying makes it more troublesome for them to open up and make new friends. They spend more time alone glued to their screens because they seek solace in solitude. Parents must pay close attention to their teens and help them develop social skills so they would not feel left out.
How to Optimize Screen Time for Kids?
The best thing parents can do for teens who struggle with social skills or screen-dependence is to optimize their screen time. There are several approaches to this issue. Some of them are discussed as follows.
- Create A Diverse Routine
It is imperative that parents begin training their kids at an early age. Allowing a limited amount of screen time to kids is the best possible way of ensuring they find creative ways to entertain themselves. That way they would not become dependent on screens to counter their boredom. Let kids explore their interests and broaden their horizons by trying new things. It would also ensure that kids look for the company of friends and peers.
- Motivate Teens to Socialize
Letting teens try various activities, explore new hobbies, and attend extracurricular classes/activities is a good place to start. It is an excellent strategy to motivate them to socialize with peers and make new friends. It is crucial that parents help their teens identify emotions and teach them appropriate ways to express their feelings. If they give you a hard time and refuse to leave their screens, you can always resort to using parental control apps like the FamilyTime app.
- Use FamilyTime App
FamilyTime is one of the most robust parental control solutions one can find. It is a foolproof way of ensuring that kids and teens have a stable daily routine. It helps parents ensure that they never watch screens for too long. Everything can be managed remotely from parental devices, and they cannot sneak around its security to use their devices as they wish.
- Screen Time Limit
Are you tired of arguing with your kids? Do you often have to tell them to put away their screens? If that is a yes, you are not alone. Children who struggle with technology/screen dependence find it challenging to stay apart from their phones. Countless parents wish to ensure that their teens do not sneak behind their backs to watch their favorite shows or talk to friends on social media.
The FamilyTime app offers a simple solution. Its Screen Time Limit feature helps parents decide how much time they want their children to spend with their devices in a day. Parents can even limit time for individual apps. For instance, if they want kids to watch YouTube for no more than half an hour, they can do so with ease.
- Screen Time Schedule
One of the best ways to optimize kids’ screen time is by devising a productive daily routine. Help your kids identify their interests and hobbies. Apart from attending school, kids should learn freely and broaden their horizons by participating in physical activities like sports, art, etc.
FamilyTime’s Screen Time Schedule can help you get your kids outdoors. Parents can set their routine and ensure kids don’t use their screens when they are supposed to be studying, doing house chores, having their meals, taking a nap, playing outside, or doing something fun like arts. The app offers a customizable schedule that parents can set as they wish, and during the set times, kids would not be able to use their screens,
- Internet Schedule
Teens are particularly tech-savvy and want access to the internet past their bedtime. Parents can set up internet cut-off times for their kids and teens with FamilyTime’s Internet Schedule feature. That way, teens would not get exposed to age-inappropriate content online. Nor would they be able to indulge in unsavory activities like using inappropriate chatrooms, sexting, playing violent/indecent games, etc.
- Internet Filter
The internet is an incredible tool. Indeed, it is the modern-age gateway to knowledge. However, it is also unfiltered and can expose kids to all sorts of unsuitable things that may spoil their personalities and childhood. Kids are curious and may seek things like violent/indecent games, pornography, profanity, gambling, drugs, etc.
Parents often look for ways to prevent this disaster from happening. FamilyTime’s Internet Filter can help you safeguard your kids’ innocence. You can block all inappropriate websites and content using this feature. Parents can even block content using keywords.
- Web History
Many teens and kids hide their online activities from their parents, especially if they explore inappropriate things or play explicit web-based games that are often addictive. However, parents must know what their children are doing online and steer them in the right direction and intervene where necessary. FamilyTime’s Web History feature helps you accomplish this arduous task with ease. Parents can keep an eye on their kids’ digital footprint and reprimand them if needed.
- App Blocker
If you are worried that your teens might be using unsafe apps or playing violent web-based games, you are not wrong to be concerned about their digital safety. Many parents are unaware of the existence of teen dating apps, inappropriate online voice/video chatrooms, violent games that normalize aggressive behavior for kids, and so on.
Parents cannot physically stop kids from indulging in such unsafe activities all the time. Instead, you can use FamilyTime’s App Blocker feature to do all the hard work. It blocks all downloaded apps by default and notifies the parent. They can approve or reject their kids’ requests to use the apps as they deem fit.
- App Usage Report
Another way to optimize your kids’ screen time is by monitoring their app usage. This feature tells you what apps your kids use on a regular basis and how much time they spend on each app. That way, parents can step in and make changes as needed. It gives you insight into your children’s favorite apps and games.
- YouTube Monitoring
YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms used by modern-day kids. It houses a plethora of entertaining content, but that does not make it safe for kids to use unsupervised. It also holds an unlimited amount of inappropriate video content and can expose kids to cyber bullying, racism, or something worse.
Parents must monitor what content their kids watch on this platform and oversee the type of comments their kids write or receive on YouTube. They can do so with the help of FamilyTime’s YouTube Monitoring feature.
- TikTok Monitoring
TikTok is the latest in the long line of social media platforms and offers short video entertaining content to its viewers and creators. However, like YouTube, it is not entirely safe for teens to browse unsupervised, Parents must take matters into their own hands and ensure their teens do not get exposed to indecent/explicit videos on this platform. Fortunately, FamilyTime’s TikTok Monitoring feature allows you to keep an eye on your teen’s TikTok activity.
- Call & Text Monitoring
FamilyTime’s Call & Text Monitoring feature is one of a kind. It helps parents protect their teens against a number of digital threats like cyberbullying, phishing, suicidal ideation, racial attacks, sexting, and more. Parents do not need to violate their kids’ privacy to protect them from these dangers either.
This feature scans their conversations and notifies parents if anything relevant is found. Then, parents can decide how they wish to handle the problem. It is one of the most important features of this app and allows parents to help their kids before anything terrible happens.
- Family Pause
Kids of the digital age think that having access to screens, technology, and the internet is their birthright and not a privilege. That is why many teens and kids misuse these things without thinking about the consequences of their actions. Parents must ensure that their kids understand the difference between rights and privileges. It is the only way to help them realize that they ought to take responsibility for their actions and learn to appreciate the privileges given to them.
Often, parents try to discipline their kids by revoking their screen privileges, and it doesn’t work because kids sneak around to use their devices. Family Pause is a feature that enables parents to take away their teens’ devices while ensuring they won’t be able to use them at all. With a mere push of a button, parents can prevent kids from using their devices for as long as they deem fit.
- Time Bank
The Time Bank feature offers an excellent opportunity for parents to teach kids the importance of saving time and motivate them to learn how to manage time in a better way. Kids can store their unused screen time in the Time Bank and use it later when their parents allow them to have fun with screens as a reward for good behavior.
What Else to Expect from FamilyTime?
The FamilyTime app offers various features beyond the ones listed above. For example, parents can benefit from services like Location Tracking, Geofence, Fun Time, Teen Safe Drive, SOS/Panic Button, Pick Me Up Button, etc. The app dedicates its efforts to protect kids from several digital threats (online and otherwise).
Is It Affordable?
It is quite affordable despite the fact that if offers so many cool and impressive features. Its 3-day free trial helps parents explore the app and see if they like it. However, it allows limited features with the trial version. On the other hand, parents can benefit from the entirety of its features with the premium packages. It has four payment plans that range between $1.15 to $2.25 per month.
What Operating Systems Does It Work With?
The FamilyTime app works well with both iOS and Android devices. It even allows monitoring of iPhones from Android and vice versa. That means, regardless of which devices parents or kids use, they can keep an eye on their kids’ activities and manage everything without a hitch. If you are still unsure, explore its website for more details. If you are thoroughly impressed, sign up and get started.