Parenting was hard enough before the introduction of smartphones and iPads. 36% of parents report that they argue with their children daily over screen-time, and it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Now that we’re the Chief Technology Officers of our households, it’s time to let technology do some of the work for us and OurPact can help.
What is OurPact?
OurPact is an easy-to-use parental control app for setting time-based restrictions on iOS and Android devices. What sets OurPact apart is its ability to control every single iOS app as compared to competitors who only focus on a bundle of the most popular ones. From a parent perspective, we think this is useful because inevitably your child’s interests are farther-reaching. Parents can install OurPact on a child’s device, and control the settings from their phone to set device bedtimes, schedules, and block or grant access to apps with one tap. When children want to use their allowance time, they must open OurPact, Jr. which gets the clock running, and if they want to save time for later, they must close the app.
According to Polly Ely, a family therapist specializing in technology’s impact on kids, practicing turning technology on and off helps kids to develop healthy screen-time habits.
(For iOS Devices)
To get the full benefit of OurPact’s functionality, you need the Premium version to control specific apps. iOS set-up requires a USB cable and a computer for Premium setup which will take about 15 minutes.
Step 1: On your phone, go to the App Store and download OurPact
Step 2: Open the app and set up your parent account
Step 3: From the menu, select Upgrade
Step 4: On your computer, go to ut.ourpact.com and follow the instructions to download the OurPact Utility and launch it by double clicking.
Step 5: Now using a USB cable, connect your child’s device to your computer. OurPact’s utility takes over and cycles through 3 steps; the final on of which reboots your child’s phone.
Step 6: Now on your child’s iOS device, open Safari and type: pair.ourpact.com 1:14
Step 7: Enter your parent account details, name your child’s device and follow the instructions.
Step 8: Set up another device (start at Step 5) then proceed to Step 9.
Step 9: Go back to your phone to set up schedules, app rules, and allowance time.
How to Set Up Schedules
OurPact Premium allows you to set-up an unlimited number of Schedules for each of your children’s profiles. You may have a School Week vs. Weekend Schedule and a Vacation Schedule.
Be Advised: When you make changes to a schedule, you need to scroll down until you see the ‘Save button.’
The important point to understand about schedules is that you are telling OurPact when to turn your child’s device off:
Block or Grant Access on the spot: One of the most convenient features of OurPact is that you can block or grant access at any time as often as you need to. You can force a break or dole out rewards at your discretion.
How to Set Up App Rules
App Rules (the tab:) are another great feature because for every app installed on your child’s device, you can decide whether it is:
– Always Blocked
– Blocked by Schedule
– Always On
Always Blocked can be used for apps you want to tightly manage. For example, social medias apps, texting, or internet browsers. You can manually grant these for a defined period of time with the peace of mind that once the time is up, your child’s access is blocked. You can also block the App store if you don’t want your child downloading more apps, and in your parent dashboard, OurPact allows you to see every app downloaded on your child’s phone.
Blocked by Schedule shuts apps off when you’ve created schedules (e.g. BedTime, Homework, DinnerTime etc.). It also shuts these apps off when allowance time is up.
Always On means that these apps are on 24/7, regardless of whether you’ve set a BedTime or other blocked schedule. The phone by default is always on.
How to Set Up Allowance Time
One of OurPact’s most popular features is Screen Time Allowance. It allows parents to establish daily screen time limits for kids and teens to budget independently throughout the day. This means hands-off management for you and more responsibility for your children. Allowance is a great way to encourage kids to become conscious participants in their screen time habits, while giving you the ultimate say.
Step 1: On your phone, go to your child’s profile, tap the Allowance tab: ⌛, and slide Allowance to the ON position.
Step 2: Define allowances for each day of the week (eg. 1 hour/day Monday-Friday, 2 hours/day Saturday & Sunday).
Step 3: Follow these steps for each of your individual child profiles.
Now your children’s devices will be governed by Allowance time when not blocked by a schedule. This means your child is free to use her device, but when allowance time runs out, her device will turn off (except for the apps you’ve designated as ‘Always On’ under app rules).
Be advised: Allowance time only works on Wifi, so if you’re headed on a car trip or flight, you may want to turn it off. Instead, explore the ‘Grant’ Options.
Other Tips for Getting the Most Out of OurPact
Blocking Adult Content by enabling OurPact’s Web Filter.
Be Advised: Adult content can only be blocked in web browsers, not inside apps.
Smart Ways to Manage Device Usage
Some parents want to set different permissions for different devices. You may want your child to use her phone for communication purposes only (e.g. calling, FaceTime, texting) and her iPad for watching, reading and game playing. Thus, you don’t have to wonder whether your child is reading or on Instagram again. You can set up two different user profiles for your child –1 for her phone and 1 for her iPad with different schedules and allowances.
Get Notified When Your Kids Change Location
If you appreciate knowing when your child is on the move, OurPact can send you notifications.
Q: My child is pretty good at getting around things. Can they take it off?
A: You can make it much more difficult by turning off the ability to Delete Apps in iOS Restrictions. Go to Settings > General > Enable Restrictions > Set Passcode. Then scroll down until you find ‘Deleting Apps.’ Turn this off by sliding to the left. If your child still manages to delete OurPact’s management of the device, you will be notified immediately.
Q: Can I control their phones and tablets even when I am not with them or when they are out of our home?
A: Yes! You do everything from your phone, so you can be in another country and still be able to block, schedule, and allow for all of your devices.
Q: What are the drawbacks?
A: If the phone is not on good wifi, it can be difficult for kids to pause and start their time on OurPact, Jr, and the allowance feature will not work properly if not on Wifi. This means that you may want to put your child in the ‘Grant’ mode if headed on a flight or car trip. Also, while OurPact can set time allowances for every app, it cannot set different time allowances–for example 2 hours for texting, but only 30 minutes for Instagram. Lastly, OurPact cannot control computers or gaming consoles.
Q: I have multiple children with multiple devices, how many can I control?
A: Depending on the plan, you can control as many as 20 devices from your phone.
Q: How much will this cost me?
A: OurPact PREMIUM is $6.99 per month: This premium plan allows you to control 20 devices. On those devices you can set unlimited schedules, have access to unlimited blocks and grants, block and allow specific apps, set screen time limits, block texts, and make use of the family locator.
We highly recommend the Premium version over the Free and Plus versions.
Q: When my child downloads a new app, will it automatically default to ‘Blocked by schedule’?