With the school holidays in full flow now, it’s proving difficult sometimes to get a 12 year old, would-be teenager, off his screen and to go and do something else instead. H mostly seems to want to play games on his Switch with his friends or watch YouTube. Suggestions to go out aren’t always welcomed, but when we have gone on a day trip it’s gone down well.
We’ve had our broadband through Sky for a while now and I was interested to hear about their new app Sky Broadband Buddy, which is part of their new Sky Broadband Boost pack. The app gives parents the ultimate level of control over their family’s internet usage. With Sky Broadband Buddy, you can manage each screen in your home from an app on your phone or your tablet – it’s like having a remote control for the internet.
Sky Broadband Buddy lets you have a lot of control over your family’s internet usage. You can:
- Pause your internet for everyone (say at mealtimes) or for just one person if you need to make sure that homework is getting done.
- You can set time limits for internet usage and add in bedtimes.
- There can be different filters for everyone in the family to make sure that the content they are seeing is suitable.
- You can check up on what your children are doing online and which sites they are visiting.
- You can reward good behaviour with screen-time rewards.
- All the Sky Broadband Buddy features work outside the home too across 3G, 4G and wifi.
It’s really easy to download and set up your Sky Broadband Buddy. You are taken through the steps on your phone (or tablet) and it’s very straight forward and instinctive. Within just a few minutes you can be up and running.
We’ve teamed up with Sky Broadband and they set us a challenge. Our challenge was to use the app on a day out and see if impacted on the dynamics of our day. The way I decided to do this was that I limited screen time to journey times for H. As we were traveling by train we both wanted internet access for the journey, but I set it to turn off a few minutes before we were due to reach our station and this proved a great way of making sure both of us were ready to get off. If the train is delayed, you can always amend the times in the app. We went to Liverpool on the train for the day which is about an hour and a half away from us, so it was good to be able to use some entertainment to while away the journey.
Now generally during a day out I think you’d want internet time restricted, but I think you could make a few exceptions. For example, if you were in line waiting at a theme park that might be a good time to have some entertainment on hand. We were busy visiting museums or exploring the city’s waterfront on foot though, so we didn’t need to have the internet to do that and it would have been a distraction.
Also, we found that using the app as a way of rewarding good behaviour worked well, so if we stopped for a meal I’d have the internet turned off, but if the meal was finished and we weren’t quite ready to move on a little extra screen time could be allowed. We did something similar a bit later in the day too when we stopped for a drink and a rest.
Overall using Sky Broadband Buddy did work well for us on a day out. With it being just the two of us I could have controlled H’s access to the internet without using the app, but having it there did make us both think about using the internet and made it a conscious decision to switch on the phone.
Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Sky Broadband.