Parental controls for today’s devices are often one-dimensional. They don’t let parents build systems specifically for their kids, and can cut off a browsing or gaming session at the worst moment. There must be a better way, and Dutch startup company GameTimer has a new solution.
The GameTimer is a physical device that helps kids make smart choices about screen time. After discussing the best options for their family, parents can set the hours of play, amount of screen time, sessions per day, and waiting time between sessions. This works from a mobile or web app.
After setting up the above, children are in control of managing their screen time. They simply need to flip the device so the green side is up to enable play time. If they take a break, they can turn the device on its side to pause it. Once the time expires, an alarm sounds and it’s time to take a break.
GameTimer helpfully provides recommendations for screen time based on their age. These are based on eye strain levels, as younger eyes suffer more from screen time. The tool also lets you view data from other users to get an idea of how your children’s usage compares to the averages. For instance, you might want to see the average weekly screen time for a 9-year-old to get an idea.
The device recharges via a standard micro-USB plug and runs on a charge for up to 30 days.
GameTimer is expected to launch in March 2019 at $89, first in Holland. The company is current looking for distributors to sell the product in other regions.
We think this tool is a neat idea, though definitely not for every family. It’s great for putting the control of screen time in your child’s hands, but there’s really not much stopping them from ignoring this if they feel like it. The suggested price of $89 is also a bit high for what this offers. Finally, it may be a bit patronizing for older kids.
But if this helps your kids make better decisions about screen time, it may be worth it.