I get asked this question a lot and I have been heavily recommending others do what we have started doing. We got the Circle from Disney. It is super-duper easy to set up, let’s us monitor our kids time on devices, and even lets us provide restrictions and bonuses.
The Circle plugs into a wall outlet. Using an app on your phone, you connect it to your wifi. Then, as devices connect to your wifi, Circle detects each of them. You designate each device by its user or, if everyone uses it, by your home. Once you have the devices your kids use assigned to your kids, you can set limits. Those limits can be either or both total time limits or total time limits per app. So, for example, we allow our kids several hours on their devices a day, but we restrict how much of that time can be dedicated to YouTube Kids and Netflix. We then can set parental guards on top of that so even when they get into, for example, YouTube or surfing the web, the sites they can access are restricted.
You can even set time limits for things like Instagram, Minecraft, Snapchat, etc.
What’s more, Circle integrates with other apps. So, for example, if you use ChoreMonster to assign your kids chores, as they complete the chores you can give them more time on their Xbox, iPad, laptop, smartphone, etc. And it does work across devices. Circle can regulate the host of Apple products, an Xbox, Playstation, Wii, and any other device that connects to your internet.
I highly, highly recommend it. Even if you don’t want to add time or app restrictions, you can go into the app and see what your kids are actually doing and which websites they are connecting to. These days, parents really do have to keep an eye on what their kids are doing online because of how easy it is to get into something not appropriate for them.