April 3, 2017
Back in December I wrote a post about our experiences with OurPact, a lovely program to control screen time on iPads, iPhones, and Android devices. You can read about it here.
Now I’m back to tell you our thoughts about the newest version: OurPact Premium. The changes are big enough that it needs its’ own post rather than merely tacking on to the existing.
The new Premium version is in many ways a more grown-up version — you still set up a schedule for when to block or allow access, but it now also blocks text messaging (which has grown into a bigger problem than I anticipated), and lets you control access app-by-app. For example, we can block messaging, and YouTube, and keep access to the Camera, Photos, and FaceTime. We can block every game, but leave the News app for my little political wonkette in training. Social media (for an 11-year-old: which is Instagram, Music.ly, and Pinterest) can be blocked, and AccuWeather, Weather Kitty and the Calendar can stay.
One of the interesting things: by having more granular control over apps, we’ve been able to dial back the basic schedule. Now it’s 8:45pm to 7:10am, and (so far) no additional limits on the weekend. We’ve talked about this, and the power is all in her hands to lose — if good choices are made, then the schedule stays this way. If not, then the walls go back up.
Amid all this power and capability, be warned that this new version is harder to install for iPhone and iPad folk. Here’s how it went for us:
- put iPhone into Airplane mode (to keep texts from coming in while working on it)
- turn off Find My iPhone
- do an unencrypted backup of the iPhone to your disk (not iCloud) via iTunes
- install the new protection software
- restore that backup you took a few minutes earlier, with reboot following
- go to Safari and re-pair the phone to OurPact Premium by entering in your management email and password
The app now costs $4.99 per month, but you can control as many as 20 devices. So if you want to go in together and let ME control your child’s screen time, we can make a deal…