A device called Screen promises to help families limit screen time
Smart phones and tablets are everyone’s favorite toys, but they also have the power to turn us into detached zombie people. That’s why one mom came up with a clever invention to help parents gain a little bit more control over screen time.
Tali Orad is a 39-year-old mother of three who used her desire for more family time and her experience as a software developer to invent something she calls Screen. According to The Epoch Times, Screen is a hardware device and app that allows parents to seamlessly control their entire family’s usage of electronic devices, and the way it works is pretty simple.
First, the hardware device gets hooked up to the TV, while the app gets installed on tablets and phones.
The entire family then agrees on rules for screen time — for example, no screens at the dinner table — and creates a family contract. You can then customize Screen to shut devices off at the appropriate times. It even gives users a few warnings so they have the opportunity to save what they’re working on and “mentally prepare” for screen time to end.
Screen also gives parents the ability to see what their kids are doing online, and it alerts you if your kids try to unplug the hardware or uninstall the app. It’s expected to retail for $139, but is available for preorder right now at $99, with an expected delivery date sometime this summer.
Orad tells The Epoch Times her mission was not to create an anti-technology device, but she got tired of fighting with her kids about homework or staring at the “tops of their heads” during meals. She wants Screen to help families set healthy limits — even for the adults themselves — and regain some of the lost time we spend staring blankly at our phones. “We use it [technology],” she says. “And it’s okay, as long as its done in moderation, and it doesn’t take away from other things we need to do.”
According to Common Sense Media, tweens (ages 8-12) use screens over four hours per day, and teens (13-18) are on them a whopping six hours and 40 minutes a day — and that’s not even including school-related media use. Half of teens also admit to watching television, playing games, and using social media while they’re supposed to be working on school assignments or studying.
Screens are not the enemy, but constant distractions and poor time management definitely are. So many of us rely on devices for work and communication, and if we’re being honest, screen time is just plain fun. Playing games and checking in our favorite apps is an enjoyable way to kill time at the end of a long day — or even in the middle of one — and there’s nothing shameful about that.
The important thing is setting limits not only for kids, but also for ourselves, and learning how to incorporate technology into our lives responsibly. If a device can help us turn off the TV without a tantrum or avoid staying up too late reading work emails, that’s one less thing adults have to get stressed out about.