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Is there a simple app for recording screentime/Minecraft time etc?

(23 Posts)
JenInMacc Mon 03-Mar-14 22:43:54

I have let my son (aged 9) have up to 1/2 an hour a day on Minecraft. If he doesn't use the time, he can carry it forward etc. He has lots of scribbled pieces of paper tracking his time but as he knows I am very lax about recording it myself, I am sure he is pulling the wool over my eyes sometimes. Does anyone know of a simple smart phone app I could use to track this? I thought it would be good if you could track eg screen time, tv time etc which would be especially useful if you have more than 1 child?

Thank you

guccigirly Mon 03-Mar-14 22:53:30

I allow my son allocated time per day on his Wii. I set the alarm clock on my Iphone for when he should come off. So if he goes on at 6.30pm, I set the alarm to go off at 7.15pm. He knows that when he hears that sound he MUST come off or he won't get to go on it the following day. It saves any arguments and stops me from forgetting to time him.

Nocomet Mon 03-Mar-14 23:00:07

Lifes too short.
Honestly you'll waste more of your and his life arguing about computer time than he'd spend playing.

Anyhow, my horrors would just swap TV for DS for iPod, for phone, for my bedroom TV, for each other's lap tops and my desk top.

There's be lots of shouting, crying, lying and deviousness and far less trampolining, reading and HW if we had any kind of screen time limit.

Apart from the fact DH and I would be being total hypocrites!

Nocomet Mon 03-Mar-14 23:04:51

How do you enforce not allowed to once they know how to turn the sodding thing on and you don't.

Before they went to senior school it took a week to find where they had lost their MP3 players, iPods and DSs. No way was I going to try every night. We are still missing an old Sony MP3 player.

They can almost always find iPods and phones now, due to very long bus trip.

guccigirly Tue 04-Mar-14 00:04:16

My children are primary school age and don't have TV's in their bedrooms so anything like the Wii has to be played downstairs and therefore I can keep an eye on timescales. I appreciate that if they are teens with Ipads and Iphones it would be trickier to keep track.

Nocomet Tue 04-Mar-14 00:12:40

I guess I'm just not an arbitrary rules and fixed routines sort of person. Things like school uniform drive me to distraction as do people who ruin their DCs fun by going into a total panic about being 10 minutes late for bed.

There is no chance I'd remember when the DDs turned on a screen and every chance I'd say for goodness sake get back to the wii I'm cooking.

I just don't see how people have the head space to be on their DCs backs so much.

anapitt Tue 04-Mar-14 00:12:46

why do you allow so little screen time ?

LettertoHermioneGranger Tue 04-Mar-14 00:23:33

No app suggestions for you OP, just want to say I'm surprised to see so many passing judgement on your parenting.

It works for you, you think it's best, the end.

I don't believe it's healthy for children, especially under 10, to have more than an hour in front of a screen per day as well. Good on you for setting limits.

namechangeagaininnit Tue 04-Mar-14 00:36:11

Yes why is it unhealthy to have 'too much' screen time? I'm not a parent so don't know. Is there some science to it?

namechangeagaininnit Tue 04-Mar-14 00:40:29

I'm particularly interested as DP had a lot of computer (and a fair bit of TV) screen time when younger and is now a really high achieving, uber intelligent computer whizz. Also there are lots of studies into how people who play computer games are smarter than those that don't.

JenInMacc Tue 04-Mar-14 08:36:37

Thank you for your replies. In response to these....

If I allowed my son free rein on Minecraft, he would choose to be on it every free moment. Though I don't have any scientific evidence to hand that this would be bad for him, my gut instinct feels it would. For example, yesterday was a gorgeous warm, sunny day, for a change, and instead of wanting to play outside on their bikes etc for a bit, him & friend were desperate to get back to Minecraft after school. It just seemed rather sad and certainly unhealthy physically. Also, I have noticed that when he has been playing on it and finishes, he seems to temporarily lose the ability to entertain himself. I am glad that by limiting his time, I force him to use (& hopefully develop?) other parts of his brain & body other than finger muscles.

toomuchtooold Tue 04-Mar-14 15:29:16

What's he playing it on? The Wii and xbox both have parental control settings, so you can set how long he can be on. Not sure if it lets you specify a total time in the week though, think it might be x minutes a day.

(FWIW I have sympathy with both you and your DS in this as I am a Minecraft addict myself! I find that given free rein on computer games I will play them till I feel sort of listless and annoyed at myself for wasting so much time... IMO as a huge Minecraft fan, even if you think computer games are great it's not bad to give him some sort of boundaries so he comes off it while it's still fun, IYSWIM)

IHaveSeenMyHat Tue 04-Mar-14 15:34:44

I think you've made it unnecessarily complicated by allowing him to carry any "unused" Minecraft time forward to another day!

JenInMacc Tue 04-Mar-14 16:58:45

For those above who are worried about my son, I do allow him to watch tv as well as go on Minecraft, not just total screen time of 1/2 an hour a day. You are right IHaveSeenMyHat, I probably have made it a little complicated by allowing unused time to be carried forward.

BackforGood Sat 08-Mar-14 13:29:56

Erm - not very technological, but could you not just pin up / tape a piece of A4 paper to the side of whatever he plays minecraft on, (or if that's a mobile device, then just stick it on the fridge) and you've got a permanent record there in front of you ?

Innogen Sat 08-Mar-14 13:34:59

This isn't worth it. I'd be so sad to see him recording time on paper. You're denying him something he enjoys so much that you're making him a pedant about having it all.

Doesn't feel right to me. An indication that he should have some more time too.

Just let him play, and stop him when it 'feels' too much. I have no screen time limit, but stop them when they start to resemble a Minecraft zombie.

Please get rid of this awful rolling time system.

BackforGood Sat 08-Mar-14 13:39:49

Why would it be sad? confused
Some children are able to self limit.
Some children can easily become obsessive.
Some children can be taught to manage their time better - it's got to be worth a try if they might be moveable into that category away from the obsessive one.

Innogen Sat 08-Mar-14 13:46:07

It's sad because I can see rollover time causing unnecessary arguments, when 'that's enough today' and 'because I said so' still work at 9.

JenInMacc Sun 09-Mar-14 21:07:43

Without needing to enter into a debate about whether to limit screen time or not (and it does work well in this house), in case anyone is interested, I did find an app that appeared to match my needs (including my desired accumulations). It is www.screentimeapp.com. I haven't tried it myself as it only seems available on iphones etc and I have an Android phone. Whilst even I can manage accumulate time for 1 child for 1 task, I thought it may come in handy if you are balancing multiple children/tasks.

BoyBandMumager1 Mon 10-Mar-14 09:54:37

I struggle with similar problems myself with my 8-year-old - but I think other posters here are right, it creates problems if you 'roll the time over'. He has half an hour and should be done with that. If he doesn't use it, tough luck!

Limiting screen time does feel right, I agree. It feels 'healthier' if they are forced to turn their minds to playing 'real life' games, or better yet, getting outside for some physical exercise.

I confess I do rely on my son's honesty about when his time has started and should end. I have three other boys, younger than him, so I can't always give the attention he would like.

We are all doing the best we can... screens or no screens.


ArtisanScotchEgg Mon 10-Mar-14 10:01:59

If you have an Android phone, you need www.screentimelabs.com - it's in the Play store. Free 14 day trial.

Ahoque2 Fri 20-Jun-14 13:25:22

Here is the solution we use in our house. We have Android devices and Microsoft laptops.

For the kids' laptop which runs Windows 7 (similar on Windows 8):
There is no charge: standard part of Windows 7 and 8. You have to setup a user account. Then you can make settings to control when they can access the laptop for each day of the week. With Windows 8, you can also set a time limit for the day e.g. stops working after 2 hours. They cannot login during the restricted hours and they cannot use it once it is bedtime! Also web filters: you get an email summarizing blocked internet requests.

For Android phones and tablets:
There is a free app called AppLock which is great. (It has had 50 million downloads). Just download from the �Play Store� onto each device. When you run it, you have to enter an email address and password. You can do all set up on the device. It lists all of the apps on the device and you can either lock or unlock them. When they try to run a locked app, they get prompted for the PIN. Remember to lock the �settings� app so they cannot uninstall AppLock.

In AppLock, save these list of locked and unlocked apps as a �profile�. We have three profiles: night time (calls only), daytime (music, camera etc), evening (Facebook and Internet). Then go to advanced settings and create a �time lock�. You can activate a profile at a particular time. So �night time� might come on at 9pm. Daytime at 8am. You can set different time locks for different days of the week.

Our BT broadband also has parental controls to turn off any internet nasties coming through the wifi. 3G devices not protected. They may also be able to connect to a neighbour�s un-password protected wifi!

Why all this work? Just asking them to not use it when requested does not work. They have just accepted their time limits and we do not have to do anything. Before we did this, we had them sneaking phones into their rooms to Facebook into the early hours or we had phone bans that hurt both of us.

Sliceofcake Sun 22-Jun-14 22:16:29

Probably won't help in your situation OP, but the kindle fire has excellent parental settings, so you can, if you choose, set limits and or targets for screen time. So for example, you could allow one hour per day, or set the kindle to turn off games after 7pm, or set a target of 15 mins reAding before any games are played. It's really flexible. HTH smile

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