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What is it?
Our Pact is Service that limits the hours children can access the internet and non-native apps on iOS and Android devices.
Price: Free / Paid Upgrade
Platforms: iOS, Android (+ Website)
Self-Regulation and Perseverance
It does so by adding a policy to the device, that you install by visiting their website. Children could learn to uninstall the policy, but the parent is informed of this, and therefore the 'pact' is broken. The parent can manage the schedule of when the child's device can be used via their own parent app. At the chosen time, all apps that are not native to the device (as in not on it when you got it) simply disappear from sight, along with any internet browser. The phone, text and original apps are still available, but that is all.
Who is it best for?
The service is not intended for school use, but for parents looking for a way to safeguard their children online on a mobile device while still showing trust. The service is very much an agreement between parent and child about how the device will be used, and when, and as such there is even an agreement online that can be signed by everyone in the family to show this. This feature is great as it really scaffolds a discussion at home, and sets boundaries for the child in a positive way. As such I have been recommending it to teachers for some time, as a tool to point concerned parents towards when looking not just for home access control, but also a route into discussing safe use with their own children.
How does it support learning?
By setting expectations of safe behaviours and habits for the child, the app reinforces the messages that are likely being delivered in school. It covers use of the device on mobile data such as 3G and 4G, which could otherwise be used by the child to avoid the off times set on the home Wi-Fi. The service is free to use with a single child and a single timetable (e.g. Block from 8pm to 8am every day), but to set different timetables and/or with more than one child a paid account is required. I use this as it allows me to manage two children and have different school night and weekend timetables for each. Note that the same child's setup can exist on multiple devices, i.e. my son's settings take effect on his iOS phone and his iPad. The paid service is not a subscription, but month-by-month rolling on, and at time of writing, the cost is £1.79 per month, regardless of number of children required.