Screen Time: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

September 1, 2017

Screen time.  Let’s chat about it for a minute!  This summer was a rough one for us!  We had just moved across the country into a new home, we didn’t have a yard or friends to play with and I have twin 2 year old boys that are so demanding!  Little to no screen time would be ideal but the reality this summer was that life got in the way of my best intentions and my big kids were on tablets quite a bit.

There were a few times I thought Boston and Savy were playing with friends outside and while doing laundry I’d find them tucked away in their room watching a show.  They were hiding from me because they knew taking a tablet without permission was wrong.  Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?  I knew that despite my best efforts to limit screen time, I needed to find a better solution than just trusting my kids!  My priority is and always will be to make sure my children are safe.  That they’re watching appropriate movies and playing appropriate games.  And often times it’s not even the games you need to worry about, but the ads!  You wouldn’t believe how sleazy some of the advertisements are on those games that target younger boys.  It’s deplorable.

So how do you do it?  How do you make sure your kids are safe while watching shows or playing innocent car games?  I had heard amazing things about Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, so during Prime Day I snagged 2 Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablets.  I chose these ones because they come with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited + a 2 year worry free guarantee.  Your kid drops it off the stairs and it breaks?  Send it back to Amazon.  They leave it outside and it rains all night?  Send it back to Amazon.  You can’t beat that!!  And the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited app comes with over 15,000 books, videos, and  educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney and more.  You can even add more content to your child’s profile in FreeTime to give them access to apps in your personal library.

I love it so much because there’s a Parent Dashboard which allows you to keep track of what their viewing, what games they’re playing and you can set educational goals and screen time limits.  So for example, I have a profile for Boston.  Before he’s allowed to play any games, he has to read for 25 minutes.  The FreeTime Unlimited app will track what he’s reading and how long he’s read and it’ll unlock games when he’s done.  It’ll even provide me with questions to ask him.  So if he’s reading a book about baseball, it’ll prompt me with questions so that we can chat about it together!  And now I’m not the bad guy nagging him to read or work on his math!  He just knows that if he wants to play a game, he needs to read first.

For Savy, I make her play with the educational apps for 25 minutes before she can watch any movies.  And by the time she’s unlocked her movies, she’s usually ready to go outside and play anyway.

One of the most important features of the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited app is that your child cannot exit out of his/her profile without a password.  So I know that my kids can never access YouTube or Netflix, or anything that I’ve not personally added to FreeTime Unlimited.  It’s literally the best peace of mind I’ve ever been given!

We even have a profile set up for the babies that basically just has shows they love to watch while I’m making dinner or folding laundry.  They’re not super into apps yet, so I’ve just turned them all off and they’re only able to access shows I’ve approved.  And if they spill their juice all over it, or chuck it out the window… send it back to Amazon!  

It’s been working wonders for us, just that peace of mind knowing my kids are safe while online.  I love that I know exactly what Boston is reading and that it gives me questions to ask him so that we can talk about his books together!  I love the 2 year guarantee, I love that I can set limits for the kids so I’m no longer the bad guy!  And when their two hours of screen time is up, it’s up.  If they use it all in the morning, they can’t get mad at me in the evening when it doesn’t work.  It’s amazing.  Let me know if you have any questions or any other recommendations on apps + books your kids are loving right now!

Thank you Amazon for sponsoring this post!  I sure love being one of their partners, I feel really lucky to have brands I believe in want to work with me.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

  • Sarah Ross

    I have to look into this!!! I’ve never heard of it!!!