What parental control features can block specific apps on a child’s phone during bedtime?

As parents, we all want to ensure our children get enough sleep and establish healthy screen time habits. But with the constant pull of smartphones and tablets, limiting screen time, especially during bedtime, can be a real challenge. This article will explore parental control features that can block specific apps on a child’s phone during bedtime, helping you regain control over their digital usage and encourage a better sleep schedule.

Built-In Parental Controls on Smartphones

Both iOS and Android offer built-in parental controls that allow you to schedule app blocks during specific hours, including bedtime. This can be useful for ensuring your child gets a good night’s sleep and avoids distractions from their phone.

iOS (Apple)

1. Open the **Settings** app on your child’s iPhone.

2. Tap on **Screen Time**.

3. Select **App Limits**.

4. Tap on **Add Limit**.

5. Choose the **category** of apps you want to restrict (e.g., Social Networking, Games, Entertainment).

6. Tap on **Next**.

7. Set a **time limit** for the selected app category. You can also choose to set a **daily limit** or a **weekly limit**.

8. Tap on **Add**.

9. To schedule app blocks during specific hours, tap on **Downtime**.

10. Toggle **Downtime** on.

11. Set the **start and end times** for Downtime. This will block all apps in the selected categories during the chosen time period.

12. You can also allow specific apps to be used during Downtime by tapping on **Always Allowed** and selecting the apps.


1. Open the **Google Family Link** app on your own phone.

2. Select your child’s profile.

3. Tap on **App & website restrictions**.

4. Choose the **app** you want to restrict.

5. Tap on **Set a time limit**.

6. Choose a **time limit** for the selected app. You can also choose to set a **daily limit** or a **weekly limit**.

7. Tap on **Next**.

8. Tap on **Set a schedule**.

9. Select the **days** and **time** when the app block should be active.

10. Tap on **Save**.

You can repeat steps 4-10 for other apps you want to restrict.

Third-Party Parental Control Apps

Third-party parental control apps offer a range of features, including the ability to block specific apps on a child’s phone during bedtime. Here are some popular options:

Pros of Third-Party Parental Control Apps:

Cons of Third-Party Parental Control Apps:

Here’s a table summarizing the key features and pricing of the apps discussed:

App Name Key Features Platform Compatibility Pricing
Google Family Link App Blocking, Screen Time Limits, Location Tracking Android Free
OurPact App Blocking, Website Filtering, Screen Time Limits Android, iOS Free (Limited features), Paid Subscription
Qustodio App Blocking, Website Filtering, Location Tracking, Call Monitoring Android, iOS, Windows, Mac Free (Limited features), Paid Subscription
mSpy App Blocking, Call Monitoring, Text Message Monitoring, Location Tracking Android, iOS Paid Subscription

Remember, it’s essential to communicate with your child about why you’re using a parental control app and how it can help them stay safe and focused on other important aspects of their life, like schoolwork and sleep. You can also encourage them to use their phone responsibly and develop healthy screen time habits.

Considerations for Effective Bedtime App Blocking

Consistency is key when implementing bedtime app blocking. You can’t expect your child to understand or follow the rules if you’re not consistent with them. Set clear boundaries and stick to them. If you allow your child to use their phone after bedtime one night, they may think it’s okay to do so every night. This can lead to frustration and resentment.

Communicate with your child about why you’re implementing bedtime app blocking. Help them understand that you’re not trying to punish them, but rather to help them develop healthy sleep habits. Explain that screen time can interfere with their sleep and that they need enough rest to perform their best at school and in their activities.

When talking to your child, it’s best to avoid using harsh language or making them feel like they’re being treated unfairly. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the restrictions. For example, you could say something like, “We’re limiting screen time before bed so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to learn at school.”

It’s also important to be prepared for potential challenges. Your child may complain, argue, or try to find ways to get around the restrictions.

Here are some tips for dealing with these challenges:

When it comes to using app blocking to encourage healthy sleep habits, think about the types of apps that are most distracting for your child. These might be social media apps, gaming apps, or apps that allow them to watch videos. You can use app blocking to prevent your child from accessing these apps during certain hours. For example, you can block access to these apps from 9 pm to 7 am. This will ensure that your child gets enough sleep and is ready to face the day ahead.

Consider using a combination of free and paid parental control apps to effectively manage your child’s screen time. Some popular free apps include:

If you’re looking for a paid app that offers more advanced features, consider mSpy or FlexiSpy. These apps offer features like call monitoring, text message monitoring, and social media monitoring.

It’s also important to remember that app blocking is only one part of the solution. You should also encourage your child to engage in other activities that promote healthy sleep habits, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to calming music.

You’ve learned about two main approaches to blocking apps on your child’s phone during bedtime: built-in phone features and dedicated parental control apps.

Built-in features like Digital Wellbeing on Android and Screen Time on iOS offer a simple way to set limits and block specific apps, especially for younger children. These tools are free and readily accessible, but they might lack the advanced customization and monitoring features of third-party apps.

Third-party apps provide greater control, allowing you to block specific apps, set schedules, monitor activity, and even filter content. However, they require a subscription fee and might be more complex to set up and manage.

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your needs and your child’s age and maturity. If you’re looking for a straightforward solution for basic app blocking, built-in features are a great starting point. If you need more advanced controls or want to monitor your child’s online activity, a third-party app might be a better choice.

Remember, taking control of your children’s screen time and prioritizing their sleep is crucial for their well-being. Explore the options available and choose the approach that best fits your family’s needs.