Updated: 07/04/2014 4:57 PM
Created: 07/04/2014 10:55 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
It can be difficult to carve out quality time with your kids, especially away from their phones. It can also be difficult to regulate when they use their devices.
Many parents are discovering a new app, called DinnerTime, that gives them the ability to shut off mobile devices with a remote control kill switch. DinnerTime works by letting the control app freeze devices that have downloaded a corresponding DinnerTime app.
Parents can use the control app to schedule "Dinner Time," which can be from a half hour to 1.5 hours; "Take a Break," which indefinitely freezes a device until the person with the control app decides to unfreeze it; and "Schedule Bedtime," which makes the phone inaccessible overnight.
When the app is engaged and a phone is frozen, it is in complete lockdown; it will not get calls or texts, and alarms won't go off. A full screen image, like "Take a Break" or "Dinner Time," appears on the phone. The person with the frozen phone won't have access to settings or apps.
Moreover, if the phone is rebooted, the DinnerTime app will still resume once the device is back on.
The app is only available to Android phones.
Those with iPhones or iPads can use a similar app, called ParentKit. This allows a parent to limit access to third-party apps, so kids wouldn't be able to use games, Instagram, Twitter or SnapChat. They could still use the phone for calls and texting, however.