No parent wants to be the “bad cop” in their family, but at the end of the day, someone has to lay down the ground rules. While in an ideal world, parental responsibilities would be shared evenly, in reality, finding a balance is often harder than you think. While there are many ways to work around this problem, parental control apps are a great solution, and here’s why.
As a stay-at-home mother of two daughters, I often felt like the “bad cop” in our family. While my husband is a great father, he wasn’t around all the time, which meant I had to do most of the disciplining myself. My kids love using their smartphones and, if they had the chance, would use them from dusk until dawn. With my husband at work, I felt like I was constantly having to keep an eye on them to make sure they weren’t on their screens too much- I’d often catch them using their smartphones just before bedtime or at the dinner table. Overuse of smartphones can have negative effects on kids, sometimes causing smartphone addiction or short-sightedness (otherwise known as myopia).
My husband and I wanted to maintain our lifestyles but ensure this didn’t put a burden on me. So naturally, as true 21st Century parents, we turned to the World Wide Web to do some research. I found lots of studies explaining how the “good cop/bad cop” dynamic can be an ineffective parenting style and how monitoring your kids 24/7 can be unsustainable. More importantly though, I also found articles suggesting how to avoid this.
The solution we found: parental control apps!
While parent control apps can sometimes get a bad rap for encouraging “helicopter parenting”, our experience with them was far from negative. Not all of them are bad – they take away the responsibilities of the “bad cop” by doing the disciplining for you. They are free and easy to download onto your child’s smartphone and can be used to monitor their behaviour. plano is a parental control app that tracks how long your child spends on their smartphone and reminds them use it responsibly and take regular breaks.
But is it healthy to monitor my child that much?
What’s great about parental control apps is that you can customize what you monitor and what you don’t. The plano app features allows you to seamlessly switch between parent and child mode so that you are only monitoring your child’s screen behaviour when it is appropriate, for example; when you are out to dinner or after you have put them to bed. This means that your child won’t feel like they are being monitored all the time.
plano also encourages kids to take responsibility for their own screen-use habits. It rewards them with points when they demonstrate good screen-use behavior, for example, if they take an eye break every 30 minutes. My kids were super excited about this idea and tried as hard as they could to limit smartphone use so they could get as many points as possible. They could use these points in the plano shop to request discounted device-free activities such as piano lessons, tree-top climbing sessions and more!
With the help of parental control apps, I didn’t feel like I needed to be by their side 24/7 and, as a result, my husband and I were able to spend more quality time with our kids; not as “good cop” or “bad cop”, but equally as their parents.