Having children with various Apple devices can be a little stressful. We don’t want tech to babysit our children but we want them to be able to access the current technology so they don’t fall behind their peers. Kids are getting laptops, tablets and Chromebooks issued to them by school. Many children also have iPhones despite the cost.
I was looking for a piece of software (aka an app) for the iPad that would allow me to control my kids’ devices when I’m busy at work or running errands. I had three main goals for this app:
1. Making sure the kids are safe and viewing appropriate content
2. Making sure they are in bed on time and not sneaking their iPads.
3. Making sure the kids aren’t getting up super early to get on tech.
You might be surprised how many parents have kids sneaking their devices that have been put in a public family space for charging after bedtime (when you’re downstairs doing laundry or taking a late shower). You also may be surprised to learn your child is losing sleep because they are getting up early to view technology.
In my search for an app to help me parent my children when I am otherwise engaged I went to Google for help.
I soon learned about “OurPact” which is the #1 Parental Control App. While they do have a free version I opted to use the $6.99 per month “Premium” version that allows you to set-up specific usage times, daily allowances of tech time and set-up certain apps to be available 24/7. OurPact also filters out certain adult content which was a bonus!
OurPact has a bunch of other features which you can check out here.
OurPact works on Apple and Android devices but we only tested it out on Apple.
Apps that are not allowed due to the daily allowance being used or your child is trying to use the iPad outside of tech time hours automatically disappear. If they are “in the middle of a round” and they run out of time, the game shuts off. All icons actually vanish from the device when your child isn’t allowed access. It’s all at the click of a button.
Do you want an extra 15 minutes while you’re having coffee with an old friend? Grant access for 15 minutes. Did your daughter slam her bedroom door? You can block them for an hour from their iPad or you can block them for the rest of the day.
You can be 2,000 miles away from your children on business and you can click “block” and you will automatically kick your kids off of their game. Ha!
Suffice it to say I played around with this app for 6 weeks on 3 different tablets. I was fully ready to write a recommendation for OurPact…
Unfortunately, this app actually corrupts the iOS files and renders the iPad unusable. All iPad files (including your child’s music, pictures, school files) are deleted in “Recovery Mode.” There is no way around recovering your iPad after the device is corrupted. OurPact is installed deep within the iPad Operating System in order to be able to restrict a child’s access to certain apps using two dozen different rules.
Out of 3 iPads I tested OurPact on, one of them had to be “recovered” twice and one required recovery mode once. My children were “devastated”.
The iPad that didn’t have any issues with OurPact didn’t have many changes to daily allowance and my guess is that playing with the access controls is what caused the other two iPads failure which resulted in recovery and reinstallation to factory settings.
Back to the drawing board.
Back to grounding children from technology when they sneak their devices while Mom is working late.
Have you had luck with other Parental Control Software? Let me know, I would love to try it out!