How We're Encouraging Healthier Screen Time Habits With Our Boys

When it comes to screen time and the boys, I think we've been quite fortunate in that the boys have only very recently shown an interest in using the iPad or our phones and spending time on 'tech'. I say fortunate, not because I think screen time is in any way bad for children, I actually believe that if used in moderation it can often be quite educational and it can aid and encourage children to learn to use devices that will no doubt be a part of their lives and even possibly their careers when they're older. I mean fortunate in that we've not had to set restrictions or encounter battles to encourage them to use screen time in moderation.

But now that the boys are asking to use technology more often and showing such an interest in it, we've found ourselves feeling the need to set restrictions on the use of screens, as we know ourselves as adults, especially as we both spend a lot of time online for our jobs, just how easy it is to lose track of time whilst online.

To do this, I sat down with Adam and we discussed what we felt was appropriate screen time. We decided that during the week on school days they could have an hour after school to 'come down' from school a bit, once they were changed out of their uniforms and whilst we were cooking dinner. And on the weekends and during the school holidays they could have double that time. An hour in the morning and an hour just before dinner. Of course, this was subject to change and not set in stone because as all parents of young children know, days with children are never set in stone and sometimes the boys will come home from school and choose to colour, or play, or go out in the garden for a bit instead. 

To help us to stick to encouraging these healthier screen time habits, we've also been making use of Sky Broadband's new Sky Buddy App which they launched this year in May as part of their new Sky Broadband Boost pack. With Sky Broadband Buddy we're able to manage each screen in our home via an app on our phone, it's sort of like a remote, but for the Internet and it's key features include...

  • Being able to pause the Internet with one tap. 
  • Being able to set scheduled screen time limits and also bedtimes. 
  • Setting different age-restricted filters for different screens such as PG, 13 and 18.
  • Being able to see what sites and apps have been used and visited each day.
  • Using the Location tab on the app to see where the different devices (and people) are. 
  • Having the ability to send a reward of extra screen time for jobs done or good behaviour. 

We found the actual setting up of Sky Buddy and connecting our iPad really simple. The interface is user-friendly and any changes we make reflect instantly upon the iPad. Using the Sky Buddy app has for us, worked well alongside the screen time schedule that Adam and I had come up with as it's meant that screen time ends when screen time ends. It isn't an argument or a battle to get the boys to put the tech down, it's a case of the Internet no longing working. And at 4 and 6, the boys accept that and (at the moment) happily come away and spend time doing other things that they enjoy like playing in the garden, building Lego, colouring, reading, football, playing with trains, cars and Pokemon cards, etc. 

I feel safe in the knowledge that the boys can't access anything that we wouldn't want them to thanks to Sky's Buddy's age filters and I like that we've been able to pause the Internet at dinner time and during homework time and also during times when we've just wanted to spend time as a family, including family days out (as the app works out of the house too across 3G and 4G). We've also found that not only does the Sky Buddy app help to take away any battles overcoming away from tech, but it helps us to stick to the time limit too and not get carried away in doing other things and lose track of time ourselves.

I feel very confident that as the boys get older and tech becomes a bigger part of their lives, that Sky Buddy will help us to stay on top of keeping screen time in moderation, as well as being able to ensure that what they're viewing is safe for them. One thing that Adam and I have already discussed despite us being years away, is how we are going to want to keep tabs on things like social media and not let the boys have it until they reach the appropriate age and I know already that Sky Buddy is going to be invaluable to us with helping us to manage that with as little stress as possible.

You can find out more about how to get Sky Broadband Buddy here

*This post is written in collaboration with Sky Broadband Buddy, however, as usual, all opinions shared within this post are completely my own. 

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo



  1. It looks like a great app. It's very important to encourage screen time in a healthy and productive way!

  2. great tips! such an important thing to think about and plan for in this digital world

  3. The Sky Buddy app sounds great! We try to limit screen time with our kids too

  4. That sounds like a super useful app! I'm guilty of letting my kids have too much screentime - being self employed working from home during the summer holidays means I've used their gadgets as an electronic nanny far too much!

  5. This is such a good idea and a great way to use an app to control screen time. Too much screen time is not productive at all and kids need to get out learn and play xx

  6. I limit screen time all the time at home, I actually never knew about this app so I will have to install it as it will help me so much more!

  7. What a fantastic post. My stepson absolutely loves his tablet and games but I'm always so worried about the amount of time he spends on it xxx

  8. We're loving the Sky Broadband Buddy, not just to monitor the children's access to the internet, but our own too. Setting offtimes so that we can enjoy a film together etc.