What parental controls can limit app usage on a child’s phone during specific times?

As a parent, you want your child to have a healthy relationship with technology, and that includes making sure they get enough sleep, focus on their studies, and have a balanced digital life. This is where parental controls that can limit app usage during specific times come in handy.

Imagine being able to set up rules that restrict app access during bedtime or school hours. This is exactly what these controls can do, helping your child develop healthy habits and avoid excessive screen time. By limiting access to apps during certain times, you can encourage better sleep, improved focus, and a more balanced lifestyle.

Built-in Phone Features

Both Android and iOS offer built-in parental control features that you can use to limit app usage during specific times. These features are easy to set up and can give you peace of mind knowing your child is not spending too much time on their phone.

Here’s how to set up these features on both operating systems:


To set up parental controls on Android, you need to use Google’s Family Link app. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install the Family Link app on both your phone and your child’s phone.
  2. Create a Google account for your child if they don’t already have one.
  3. Open the Family Link app on your phone and link your child’s account to your own.
  4. You’ll be able to set screen time limits, bedtime, and app blocking schedules from the Family Link app. You can also see your child’s app usage and location history.
  5. To set up app blocking, tap on the ‘App Blocking’ option in the Family Link app. You can choose to block specific apps or categories of apps.

Here’s a screenshot of the Family Link app:


iOS offers a built-in feature called ‘Screen Time’ that allows you to set limits on how much time your child spends on their phone and which apps they can use. Here’s how to set up Screen Time:

  1. Go to the ‘Settings’ app on your child’s iPhone.
  2. Tap on ‘Screen Time’.
  3. Tap on ‘App Limits’.
  4. Choose a category of apps that you want to limit, such as ‘Social Networking’ or ‘Games’.
  5. Set a daily time limit for that category of apps.
  6. You can also set a ‘Downtime’ schedule that will block all apps except for those you’ve specifically allowed during that time.

Here’s a screenshot of the Screen Time settings in iOS:

Both Android and iOS offer a variety of features that can help you control your child’s app usage. If you’re looking for more comprehensive parental controls, you can consider using a third-party app such as mSpy or FlexiSpy.

Third-Party Apps

There are many third-party apps designed to help parents manage their children’s phone usage. Some popular examples include Google Family Link, OurPact, and Qustodio.

These apps offer features that go beyond the basic controls built into most phones. They allow you to set limits on app usage, screen time, and even block access to certain apps during specific times. For example, you can use these apps to prevent your child from using social media apps during school hours or bedtime.

App Strengths Weaknesses
Google Family Link
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Works with Android phones and tablets
  • Offers a wide range of features, including app blocking, screen time limits, location tracking, and more
  • Limited features for iOS devices
  • Does not offer the same level of customization as some other apps
  • Provides a balance between parental control and child freedom
  • Allows you to set time limits for specific apps, websites, or even the entire device
  • Offers features like a ‘Deal Breaker’ option, where your child can earn extra time by completing tasks
  • May not be as comprehensive as other apps
  • Limited features for iOS devices
  • Provides a wide range of features, including app blocking, website filtering, screen time limits, and call and text monitoring
  • Works with both Android and iOS devices
  • Offers a detailed activity report to help you understand your child’s phone usage
  • Can be more expensive than other options
  • May be more complex to set up than other apps

These third-party apps can be a valuable tool for parents who want to ensure their children are using their phones responsibly. They offer a more comprehensive and customizable approach to parental control than the built-in options. However, it is important to choose an app that meets your specific needs and preferences, as each app has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some of the features you may want to consider include:

Tips for Implementing Parental Controls

Parental control apps can be powerful tools to help you manage your child’s screen time. However, it’s crucial to communicate effectively with your children about these limitations.

Here are some tips for implementing parental controls:

Parental controls are valuable tools for shaping healthy technology habits in children. By setting limits on app usage, especially during specific times like bedtime or school hours, you can help your child develop a healthy balance between digital engagement and real-world experiences. Remember, technology can be a powerful force, but it’s essential to use it responsibly. Encourage your child to engage in other activities, prioritize sleep, and enjoy the benefits of face-to-face interaction. By using parental controls wisely and fostering open communication with your child about technology use, you can create a nurturing environment that supports their well-being and overall development.