When you first set up a parental control app like Boomerang, it is hard to know which apps should qualify for “Always Allowed” status, and which apps should be limited. It’s even more difficult to determine if you should always allow an educational game. Sure it’s educational, but do they really need to spend 5 hours a day playing it? There are a few categories in my house that are Always Allowed, no questions asked.
My daughter is obsessed with drawing. She could spend all day drawing, and especially in the summer, we usually let her. I figure, if she isn’t drawing on her tablet, she would probably be drawing on paper anyway. Using the tablet just gives her more options and color choices, and she’s not making a mess.
Just like their parents, my kids love to listen to music. They each have Bluetooth speakers in their rooms and will rock out to music during the day, and fall asleep to music at night. We allow them to have access to their music all the time, especially since both of them can’t really fall asleep without it. You do have to be careful about allowing music apps since many can have video as well. Just make sure they are really only listening to music and not watching videos all day.
Encouraging reading is promoted all over the world. When kids gain a love for reading it helps them do better in school, and can have lasting effects into their adult lives. You can allow reading apps like Kindle or Nook to give them a chance to read books whenever they want. If you are religious there are apps that can allow you to read the Bible or other scriptures, which could be always allowed as well.
There are many productivity apps that kids can use to help them get organized. These apps should usually be always allowed as well. You should always let your child view their calendar and to do list, and especially the app they use to keep track of their homework.
Communicating with Parents and Family
This section can be very tricky. You want your child to be able to communicate with you on an unlimited basis, however, you don’t want them talking to their friends all day every day. I will typically choose different applications for each. If my child uses text messaging a lot, I will use Facebook’s Messenger Kids to communicate with them. If they use Messenger, I would use a different app. This way you can still limit their time spent chatting with friends, but continue to communicate with them when necessary. If you use Boomerang, you could limit other forms of communication and simply communicate through the Boomerang app with your kids.
There are many reference apps my children use, that I also keep unlimited. For example, my kid’s school district publishes the lunch menu through an app. My kids love to look up what will be for lunch the next day to decide if they want to bring a lunch from home. Other types of reference apps could include maps, your family’s shopping list, and more. These are apps that should be readily available, even if your child has reached their time limit for the day.