October 25, 2017
Being the parent of a tween girl, I’ve written more than once about the travails of managing P’s diet of screentime. First here, and then here.
A few weeks ago, when faced with the surly attitude that seems to happen when she’s OD-ed on too much electronics, we took away the iPhone and iPad for a couple of weeks. And as usual, our bubbly girl is back to interacting with us and doing creative things again.
But, with gymnastics season starting up this weekend, show choir camp and other time/place demands — we knuckled under last week (during Fall Break) and bought a SIM card for P’s phone. Being able to reach her for schedule and pick-up changes, in this world where there are no phones (or Wifi service) everywhere.
As an aside, this was also our first time to dump AT&T Mobility since my University of Washington FAN account from 1998. We went with Cricket (who uses AT&T’s cell infrastructure) and were able to get 2 lines for nearly the same amount we paid for AT&T.
Being that I was an early adopter of OurPact, they’ve graciously upgraded me to OurPact Premium for the same price, which in addition to app blocking (text/iMessage was key then). But now, full-blown cell service means I pull out all the stops, which are:
- Phone blocking. OurPact still lets one call after the schedule is up for the day, but it doesn’t ring the target party. It just goes directly to voicemail both directions.
- Daily allowances. This I just turned on. When you push the OurPact Jr app to the kid’s phone, it lets you impose the number of hours per day they can use the phone. When their daily 2-hour allowance is up, it’s up. The responsibility is theirs. We may adjust this once we’re further into our experiment in order to better allocate the 4Gb of monthly data service.
- Location tracking. This removes all the uncertainty around “Find My iPhone,” and whether it’s enabled or not. With Airport enabled this doesn’t broadcast, but then neither does FMI.
Other folks have told me that OurPact has made the initial install a bit easier (on iPhones anyway — anyone using it on Android care to speak?).