News Column

New app makes for happy parents

June 17, 2014

TORONTO: Parents struggling to get children away from smart-phones and tablets for meals, homework, exercise and other activities can arm themselves with new apps to remotely block access to the devices.

Usage of smartphones and tablets among children has tripled since 2011, according to Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit organisation that studies the effects of media and technology on young users.

A new app called DinnerTime Parental Control, for iPhone or Android smartphones, enables parents to restrict when children use smartphones and tablets.

"The price of entry level smartphones and tablets has come down a lot, and as a result, more and more kids have their own individual devices," said Richard Sah, co-founder of DinnerTime.

With the free app, parents can pause activity on children's Android smartphone or tablet so that they can focus on things like homework, exercise and family time. Once a device has been paused, all functions on it are blocked.

To use the app, parents install it on the child's device and enter in a phone number to link two devices. Parents can then set specific break times, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, when the device will be locked. A countdown screen displayed on the child's device shows when it can be used again.

Sah said he was inspired to develop the app by the tradition of family dinners, which he thought was being lost in the age of technology.

"Dinner time brings families together for quality time and to have lots of different conversations. We want people to come together for engaging conversations, rather than be distracted by a tablet," he said.

Cape Times

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Cape Times (South Africa)

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