How to manage your child's screen time on Android (2023)

ByAdam Ismail


Use these tips to help your child focus

How to manage your child's screen time on Android (1)

With so many distractions on modern smartphones today, staying focused is much easier said than done. And it can be especially difficult for children to balance classwork with downtime.

(Video) How to Limit Kids' Screen Time on Android

The good news is thatAndroid 9 cakeand the newly releasedandroid 10provides a rich set of tools that allow you to mute attention-grabbing apps and notifications. Tools can also help us dig deeper to understand which software and tasks consume most of our time. This is especially important because you can't solve smartphone addiction unless you take it into account in the first place.

Here are our tips for using Android's digital wellbeing features to help your kids focus in class.

The Basics: Understanding the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard and App Timers

Digital Wellbeing tools can be accessed from the first page of your Android phone's settings menu on any phone running Android 9 Pie or Android 10.

Right from the start, Digital Wellbeing presents a wealth of information. However, it is important to note that this screen may differ slightly depending on the Android phone you are using. Digital Wellbeing began as a Google-led initiative that debuted inpixel 3. Since then, it has reached more devices, including those from Samsung.Galaxy S10miusa 10, although there may still be slight variations between phone models. For reference, we're using a Pixel 3.

How to manage your child's screen time on Android (2)

At the top, you'll see a pie chart that divides your total phone usage time for the day by a breakdown by app. Unlock and notification counts are shown below. For even more granular details, head over to the Dashboard, where a bar chart helps you visualize how today's usage compares to your weekly patterns. Digital Wellbeing always tracks your habits, even when you're not using any Digital Wellbeing features, so you can go back up to two weeks to reflect on the data.

If you decide you want to act on the data, you can apply something called an App Timer. Simply select the offending app from the list below (most used apps appear at the top of the order) and you will be able to view the data for that specific app in more detail. You can even split usage into an hourly view if you want. Tap App Timer and from there you can select the maximum amount of time you want the software to be available each day.

The app's timers reset at midnight. When you have used up your daily quota for an app, its icon will turn grayscale. If you try to open the app at this point, you'll get a message that the software in question won't be available for the rest of the day. If you still want to use it, the only solution is to disable that specific app timer in settings.

Enforce digital wellbeing with parental controls

Of course, if you're particularly worried about your child spending too much time on their phone, it may not be enough to recommend that they use app limits. Fortunately, that's whatGoogle Family Link appis designed for.

With Family Link, a parent or guardian can enforce device usage time limits. He can set a maximum time for daily usage, and once your child exceeds this limit, she won't be able to open apps or use the device for the rest of the day, except to make phone calls.

How to manage your child's screen time on Android (3)

(Video) Google Family Link - How To Manage Your Child's Screen Time in 2023

Parents can also enforce a bedtime so that their child's phone or tablet stops working after a certain time every night. And if you'd rather not set an automated bedtime or screen time limits, you can even remotely lock and unlock a child's device via the Family Link app when it's time to focus on homework or dinner.

Additional parental controls include the ability to approve or disapprove apps and in-app purchases that your child requests to download, as well as location tracking (as long as your child's phone is on, of course). To get started with Family Link, scroll to the bottom of the main Digital Wellbeing page and tap "Set up parental controls." Follow the instructions on the screen and install theFamily Link for ParentsGoogle Play Store app. You will also need to have your child's phone handy where you will install theFamily Link for children and adolescentsapplication version.

Advanced digital wellness features: Relax, Focus Mode and Flip to Shhh

Digital wellbeing is about even more than app timers and parental controls. Here are other smaller and more useful resources that can help your child ditch the small screen when it matters most.

chill out:This is an especially useful tool before bed. When enabled, Wind Down simultaneously enables Do Not Disturb and incorporates an on-screen grayscale filter that makes using your phone less appealing. Schedule Relax every night, and your child may feel less compelled to spend the first hour in bed scrolling through Instagram. It also makes your device's screen much easier on the eyes, especially in a dark room.

How to manage your child's screen time on Android (4)

Focus mode:When your child needs to be present or focused on the task at handright now, there is focus mode. This feature, exclusive to Android 10, allows you to add time-consuming apps to a temporary blacklist. When focus mode is activated momentarily, such as from your quick toggle shortcuts in the notification shade, you won't be able to open those apps. Functionality returns only when you manually disable focus mode.

Flip to Shhh (Pixel only):This handy little trick was around before digital wellbeing tools came to Google Pixel phones, but it's still a favorite of the Tom's Guide team. With Flip to Shhh enabled, your phone will silence notifications while flipped. You'll know that Flip to Shhh is on because it's punctuated with a hectic beat effect when it's first activated.

For more control, consider a third-party parental control app.

For all that Google has built into Android's digital wellbeing suite, there's still a lot it can't do. So if you want even deeper restrictions on your child's device, like web browser filtering and SMS monitoring, your best bet is to turn to a third-party parental control app. Here are two of our favourites.

Familia Norton Premier:Our best parental control option for Android, Norton software offers an impressive set of features that goes beyond app blacklisting and locking your child's phone. For example, Family Premier allows you to set up to six numbers that your child can call even when all other phone features are locked. In addition to speeding up web traffic and monitoring texts, it also monitors the videos your child watches (although only on YouTube and Hulu). It has to be said that Norton's interface is a bit clunky, and at $49/year it's certainly not the cheapest solution available, although it's the most versatile.

read our fullNorton Family Premier Review.

Kaspersky Safe Kids:this is currentlyour budget pick for a cross-platform parental control service. While Norton's suite beats Kaspersky in terms of raw number of features, Kaspersky still does many of the same things, like website filtering, SMS monitoring, location tracking, and individual app time limits, but it only costs $15 per month. The confusing design of the service's web portal dampens the appeal a bit, though if you can get past that, Safe Kids is a well-rounded and very affordable option.

(Video) How to Set Up Parental Controls & Monitor Messages for iPhones

read our fullKaspersky Safe Kids Review.


Fortunately, Google's screen time saving tools on Android are reasonably solid out of the box. Best of all they are free. If your child is older and trusts you to moderate her phone use on her behalf, Digital Wellbeing gives her everything she needs to learn healthy time management.

However, if you have a younger child and find hard limits more helpful, enforcing the restrictions through Google's Family Link app isn't a bad idea, especially since it doesn't pose a monetary risk to you if it doesn't work out. . And if none of these are right for your family's situation, it might be worth taking one of ourTry the best parental control apps.

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Adam Ismail

(Video) How to set Screen Time settings for your kids for Apple iPhone and Android phones

Adam Ismail is a staff writer for Jalopnik and previously worked at Tom's Guide, covering smartphones, auto tech, and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then, he has had a variety of Android and iOS phones, and he refuses to stick with one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he's not playing around with the latest gadgets, he's listening to an indie pop show, recording a podcast, or playing the Sega Dreamcast.




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