27 Apr Limiting Screen Time: Home Computer
I think of the biggest struggles and worries with summer coming soon is how to deal with my kids wanting to be on the computer and other electronic devices a lot. My husband and I decided to set some time limitations on their computer as a place to start. It’s been the best thing! Instead of having kids on it non-stop like we did before – they now know that they each have a limit of 2 hours total per day. (Yes, this still sounds like a lot… but it was our starting place and now we’ll probably lessen it.) When their time limit expires, the screen switches back to the user login screen and they aren’t able to login successfully again until the following day.
It’s been so great that I wanted to share it with you!
We have Mac computers and they have parental controls built in. I’m not sure about PCs, however, I would imagine they have something you can do.
Here’s how to do it on a Mac:
Go to your System Preferences. Click on Parental Controls.
Click on the lock on the bottom left of the screen to gain access to make changes.
It will have you put in your User’s password. Make sure that your kids don’t know what this is.
Then click on the little + sign on the bottom left and it will have you add a new User. I made one for my son, Kanyon. Put a password in that your child knows, and then create the account.
Once the account is created, be sure it’s selected and click on Time Limits across the top.
This is where you can create the time limits based on weekdays, weekends, and bedtimes. We started out limiting it to 2 hours per day and some kids go through that quickly while others barely scratch the surface. I think we’ll be adjusting that for our own family now that we’ve learned what we need. We also love the feature where you control when they are allowed to login at all. For school nights, we have it set for them to be off the computer by 8pm and unable to login before 7am. This eliminated some of our kids from waking up super early just so they could get on the computer first. No one can get on before 7am and by then everyone is awake anyway. For the weekends we make it a little later at night but also later in the morning to encourage them to get more sleep because they can.
This has really made a big difference! I thought it might be a harder adjustment for the kids but they actually think it’s kind of fun when they reach their limit and the user login screen comes on. They head off to do something else with their time.
This is working great for the school year, but come summer I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to come up with something where they have to earn screen time by doing other active things, chores, reading, etc before they can even login on the computer. I’ll share our plan when I finalize it.
What do you do to limit screen time at your house?