Technology keeps families in a state of interruption and having a smart device-free time is a challenge. To reshape the meaning of family time in the digital age, a new app called TimeWize enables parents to remotely control their children’s usage of their smart devices from their smartphone. By Gugu Lourie
The TimeWize Parent App and the TimeWize Child App is available for download on the Google Play Store. The child app can only be installed on Android tablets or phones.
With TimeWize installed, parents are able to set permissions on their kid’s smart devices. This is done by offering parents the ability to lock and unlock apps, ban apps or set a schedule, all from their own phone.
The app also allows kids to send requests to parents to have apps on their smart phones or tables opened at a certain time.
Kids are also able to use the app to send a please call me and messages to parents through integrated TimeWize messenger.
What’s more exciting is that parents are able to locate their kids through the TimeWize app.
According to the developers, as kids are spending an unnatural amount of time on their mobile devices, there is a tendency to form habits that stunt natural social development as their interactions take place more and more in the digital world.
“The failure to be able to set healthy online responsibility with respect to time in this stage of a kid’s development will result in a future unbalance in this ever changing work environment. Our goal is for kids to be able to use these devices but learn from an early age to be able to put it down and spend time with more traditional interaction. We have only been on the market for a few months so our work has only just begun,” says Barend Craven, co-founder of TimeWize Parental Control, a start-up based in Johannesburg.
TimeWize Parental Control was launched on 6th October 2015.
Asked how has the app been received in the market, Craven said: “We are a family business with a limited budget. Taking this into consideration, our growth has been slow but relatively steady.”
He explained that TimeWize Parental Control has been received extremely well by parents, schools, parenting experts and the media.
“I am pleased with the take up to date.”
To use the app, parents have to pay a monthly subscription of R31 per device.
This elegant solution for Android smart devices will compete with Samsung’s Kids Mode, which controls the apps that a child can use the videos, music and other content they can access and how long they can use a device.
Most children find long car trips horribly dull, but keeping them occupied by buying interactive pop-up book apps can be expensive. But what other choice do parents have to keep their child entertained during a protracted drive or at a nice restaurant, during a long dinner, what can a parent do if their 4-year-old suddenly starts crying? For many parents, the easiest solution is giving the child a mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet.
Children love the bright, flashy images and intuitive, responsive interfaces and are happy to spend hours watching videos and playing games. How, then, do we to protect children from inappropriate online content and limit them from using the device too much without spending too much on an expensive, complicated monitoring service?
Samsung’s Kids Mode provides a solution to these problems, creating a free and easy-to-use interface on smartphones and tablets that is simple to control and monitor, while providing plenty of fun and educational apps for children. Indeed, Kids Mode has already gained 1.9 million monthly active users and supports 2,500 child-friendly apps and video content, with more being made available consistently.
Kids who have iPhones and iPod touches are remotely controlled by their parents through ParentKit, an iOS parental control app. Using this app gives parents the option to set up a schedule, as well as parental controls, for any or all of their child’s devices. The best part: it’s all done from the parent’s device, which acts as a remote.
With these apps, children won’t be watching movies or playing games while they should be studying or sleeping.