So, if like me, you have only just updated your iPhone or iPad's operating system to IOS 12, you may have noticed a few new features.
I am so happy to see that Screen Time has been added on this update. As a parent, I say, thank you Apple!
It's so important to keep our children safe and monitor the amount of screen time while kids are enjoying their time online.
We, as parents and carers, need to learn more about it. We are the first generation of parents to deal with the consequences of this new online space. And lets face it, we all spend too much time on our phones.
It's great that Apple have installed this new Screen Time feature on this latest IOS 12 update.
Screen Time is easy to use, so even if you have an iPhone or iPad and don't feel like you are tech savvy, once it is updated, it's all ready to go.
First things first, let me tell you what the Screen Time app is and where it is on your iPhone or iPad.
Screen Time has an icon of a timer, it lets you know how much time you and your kids spend on apps, websites, and more.
It has really detailed information on your iPhone and iPad usage.
Very interesting and scary at the same time!
Not seen it yet? Heres how to find it...
Go to settings > Screen Time.
Tap Turn On Screen Time.
Select This is My (device) or this is My Child's (device)
As a mum who worries a lot about how much my 8-year-old son, Jacob, spends on screen time, I was very happy to see Apple taking note of how important it is for parents, and children, to be aware.
I looked at my own after a couple of days after the new update, and I was quite shocked.
I was even more worried when I saw my son had spent 23 hours on YouTube! What the..?
He was off school poorly for a few of those days, but even so, that is way too much.
If it's your child's device, you can set up Screen Time and create settings and limits on their iPad or device.
You can use Family Sharing to configure your child's settings from your own device.
Once set up, you can use Family Sharing to view reports and adjust settings anytime right from your own phone or iPad.
Guess what I will be doing later?
And, you can also create a passcode just for the secure settings so those little fingers can't change them once they have been set.
So only you can extend time or make changes.
Kids are very clever, my son had the passcode to the iPad sussed out in no time at all, so I had to change it! The same thing happened to my Apple ID, when I realised lots of apps appeared on my phone that I had no clue what they were until I questioned the suspect who said 'But they are all free mummy!' Well that's ok then...not!
He may only be 8, but he's clever! As with nearly all kids, they were practically born holding these devices.
Even my 15 year-old-daughter moans that she never had an iPad when she was Jacob's age, she's 15!
Make sure you choose a different passcode to the one you use to unlock your device.
The Screen Time by Apple gives you a detailed report on all the apps you have opened, how your device is used and the websites you've visited.
You can see all this information, anytime you like.
The results are easy to read as it is set out in a colourful, clean and clear graph which makes it easy to understand.
I actually think this will also be good for me as you can set time limits on Most Used apps, which is great because I get easily distracted by all the notifications on my phone.
This allows your phone to have a 'nap'. When you schedule Downtime in settings, only phone calls and apps that you choose to allow are available.
Really need to be strict with this one!
Set App Limits
This is also a good one. You can set daily limits for app categories with App Limits.
You may only want to see productivity apps while your at work, but not social media or games.
There's an Always Allowed feature which allows you to access selected apps even when the app limits are set. Must resist the temptation to add social media on to this. I can live without seeing a dog throwing its food bowl across the floor or the video of the person slipping on the ice! Just for a few hours, can't I?
Content & Privacy Restrictions
This is also a great feature for you kids devices. You decide the type of content that appears on your device. Brilliant for blocking inappropriate content, purchases, and downloads.
I'm really pleased Apple is taking these issues seriously.
We live our lives on mobile devices, so they do have a responsibility to add features that can keep our children safe while they are online.
It's up to use as parents, to learn about them and implement them so we can all have a safe and happy time in this amazing online world we live in.
For more information on screen time limits see internetmatters.org.
They are a fantastic not-for-profit organisation who I have worked with that offer advice and help to parents in all things digital. With brilliant age-appropriate guides.
I also contributed to 'A Parent's Essential Guide to Online Safety' which is now published on mirror.co.uk where you can find lots of helpful information about Cyberbullying, Gaming, Social Media and Screen Time.