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New App Allows for Remote Parental Screen Controls

A new mobile app is promising to make it easier for parents to limit how much time their kids spend on smartphones and tablets, allowing them to remotely block access to both apps and the internet on iOS and Android devices.

Screen Time Manager, available for free in the iTunes and Google Play stores, doesn’t interfere with text messaging, voice calls or default apps but instead targets browsers, third-party apps (including games and social media sites), cameras and purchases. The remote blocking can be done using pre-set times or automatically.

Erika Miller, director of online safety for monitoring software company WebWatcher—which created the app—said pediatrician recommendations around daily screen time for pre-teens and teenagers are largely ignored when parents aren’t around. Kids under the age of 12 spend six hours online a day and teens spend as many as a dozen, she said. The app helps tackle the problem.

“In today’s digital age, parents are challenged with helping their kids find a healthy balance between ‘real’ and ‘digital’ life,” Miller said in a statement. “Parents are frustrated with the daily battle of telling kids to put the phone away. Our goal with Screen Time Manager is to help empower parents by giving them a ‘remote control’ to help manage their kids’ digital lives without the battle.”

The app allows parents to manage up to five devices, via their own app or online.