Limiting screen time is a challenge for any parent. It’s easy to hand an iPad to your kids and even easier to get distracted and forget to take it away. One way to move that responsibility away from your forgetful self and onto the device is using the Kaboom – App Timer app.
As its name implies, Kaboom is a timer app that runs in the background while your child plays with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Kaboom has two timers — one called Play and one called Rest. Play is the amount of time you want your child to use the device, and rest is the amount of time the device is not accessible to play. Each timer is based in minutes/hours and can be set for as little as 5 minutes or as long as 24 hours. Unfortunately, there is no clock option so you can’t set the device for play time from say 8:00- 10:00 AM and rest for the remainder of the day.
Before you can use Kaboom, you have to setup the alerts in settings > notifications and change the alert type from banners to screen alerts. Once that is done, you can open Kaboom, set the play and rest timers and let your child enjoy some time with your iOS device. When their play time is up, a screen and sound alert will let your child know it is time to take a rest.
During rest time, the app disables your device by sending a screen alert every time your child moves away from the Kaboom app. These alerts have a Close and and Ok button. Pressing Close will send a continuous stream of alerts to the device, while pressing Ok will bring your child back to the Kaboom app and put a stop to the alerts. The constant, nagging alerts make it difficult, if not impossible, for your child to use the device during rest time.
Of course, savvy children will learn very quickly that they can just turn off the timer in the Kaboom app to stop the nagging alerts. Thankfully, a parental lock feature prevents kids from making any changes without typing in a passcode. If they are determined, a child can fight their way through the stream of alerts and turn off notifications in the settings. Hopefully, an attentive parent will take notice of all the alerts and intervene to take the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch away.
Kaboom – App timer is available in the iOS App store for 99-cents. It’s well worth the dollar to help you control your children’s time in front of the screen.
Parenting Tip: Limit screen time using the Kaboom app timer originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 24 Apr 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.