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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Taking back control of our Internet usage with the Sky Broadband Buddy app.

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Technology is everywhere, in our homes, schools and day to day life and it most definitely has its uses. Whilst it is impossible to keep our kids away from the internet there are definitely ways that we can help keep them safe, restrict access and control how much time they do actually spend using it.  

I hold my hands up to admit that sometimes we spend far too much time online and using the internet in our house! So when we were recently asked to try out the new Sky Broadband Buddy app I knew it would be a great way for us all to limit our tech/internet usage and put us parents back in control. 

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The Sky Broadband Buddy app is part of the new Sky Broadband Boost pack, which gives parents the ultimate level of control over their families internet usage. Through the app you are able to create a profile for each member of your family, adding pictures etc to personalise each profile. From here you can then link any devices in your home and pair them with an account (such as pairing your child's tablet or phone to their profile). 

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Once you have set up your profiles you can edit the settings in each profile including setting an age range (PG, 13, 18 or None) which will filter out certain websites based on age guidelines. The PG setting filters out social media, explicit content, gambling & dating sites as well as mature or malicious content by default. 
   
You are also able to set up lots of custom filters too including being able to block specific websites, allowing or disallowing certain categories and even setting safe search or restricting YouTube! Along with this there is also the ability to set time limits, set a bedtime and or set an "off" time for the internet. 

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Setting up the app is really simple to do and all of the settings and customisation can be changed quickly and easily if you want to amend any details, add extra time or move bedtime around etc, perhaps for school holidays or something. 

Any settings that have been made are shown really clearly on both your app and your children's devices. Meaning there are no nasty surprises for the kids when their devices suddenly shut down, they can clearly see any time limits and bedtime is even shown as a countdown clock on their app screen.  

Over the last week we have really tried to challenge ourselves to cut down ourtime spent on devices and using the internet, it’s been a big eye opener! It’s so easy just to grab your phone for a quick browse through Facebook or revert to giving the kids extra tablet time when they are driving you up the walls and all that time soon adds up! 

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This week we used the Sky Broadband Buddy app to set limits, not just for the kids but for us too! With the app you can add multiple devices including tablets, phones and even laptop computers! We decided on setting a time limit on the kids tablets each day so that they could use the time however they wanted but they only had 1hour 30 minutes for the day. Then we all decided that 3 times a week we would pause the internet between 6pm and 9pm so that we could all spend family times together without the distraction on the internet luring us all to our devices for a "quick browse". 

But did it work, well the simple answer is yes! Have there been a few tantrums, well yes to that too. However the kids have quickly learnt to manage their time on the tablets a bit better and with the other handy "rewards" feature of the app, we can award extra time allocation for doing certain jobs around the house or for a great achievement etc. I mean it must be working because James has actually been asking for chores this week which is practically unheard of, he even put his own pants in the washing machine this morning (mums of boys will totally understand what kind of miracle this is!). 

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Its actually been quite liberating not having to constantly ask the kids to switch off their tablets because dinner is ready or contend with my husband on his phone at meal times. We have sat at the table, we have talked, found programs we all like to watch and even had an evening trip to the park! 

The app even works outside of the home too using 3g/4g or wifi so if you have an older teen who always has their phone on them and never joins in, you could even pause the internet when out and about as a bit of encouragement to put their phone down. 

I think the most important thing the app has really taught us as a family is just how much we use the internet and rely on our devices without even realising it! Having the app in place now allows us to set aside family time with no devices by simply pausing the internet and putting our devices down and honestly it has been such a breath of fresh air (well now we are getting used to it anyway!). 

The app isn't all just about being able to pause the internet though, the app also helps keeps your kids safe by allowing you to see the content they are accessing. By clicking on the "usage" tab within the app you can see how much time your child has spent on their device that day, what they have been doing on it and even the sites they have been visiting such as YouTube. 

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Obviously at the moment it’s the summer holidays and so we have been a bit more relaxed around "tech time" and around bedtimes etc but I know this app will really come in handy once school starts again. Being able to set "breaks" or pause the internet whilst homework etc gets completed will be really handy and will save lots of arguments I am sure. 

I have been using the app for over a week now and I have been really impressed. It has given us as a family a break from the internet when we have really needed it and it has given us the ultimate control over keeping our kids safe when using the internet, which for me is my biggest concern about my kids being online. 

If you are looking at ways you and your family could reduce your internet usage, or perhaps you are just looking for ways to keep track of what your kids are doing/watching when online or to keep them safe online, then the Sky Broadband Buddy could be exactly what you are looking for. It has loads of fantastic handy features that really put you in control of everyone's internet usage with just a few simple clicks

Do you think the Sky Broadband Buddy app could work for your family? 

xXx

** This post is written in conjunction with Mumsnet and Sky, I received a fee for this post and my time. However all words and opinions are my own and I retain full control of this post.**

14 comments:

  1. This app sounds really good and I think we are all guilty of spending far too much time on our devices. Good job cutting down and even getting out to the park in the evening. Mich x

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  2. I love that this helps you cut down screen time and really stay mindful of your usage! Perfect for keeping the family on track with screen time!

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  3. This app sounds really cool as it can help stay aware of how much screen time we are using :)

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  4. Love this what a great idea

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  5. This app seems like it really comes in handy. Especially since you have kids must be easier to monitor

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  6. Kristine Nicole Alessandra19 August 2019 at 23:42

    I think this would be good from parents with young children. My kids are grown ups and they are not spending so much time on the internet because they are all working. I will share this with my cousin. She has a young daughter who'd throw a fit if she doesn't have her tablet with her. Maybe this app will help her understand that internet usage should have limits.

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  7. Oooohhhhh. So many apps now changing the lifestyle of people into better ones. Thanks for sharing as this is my first time knowing such an app exist. helpful for families.

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  8. The app is a great way to open up those conversations about how much access we have to technology and how not all screen time is bad with the use of educational and coding apps

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  9. Wow I need this at home for my little brother to prevent using too much devices HAHAHHAHA! I will definitely check this!!

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  10. This app sounds like a fantastic idea! I know I use the internet way too much and I definitely need to be more aware of how much time I spend on my devices. I really like the idea of turning the internet off at certain times of the day to spend more time with family members.

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  11. This sounds like an awesome tool. My 3 yr old niece loves watching YouTube videos and this would be great to limit her usage ��

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  12. We could definitely use this app in our family, with two teens we spend more time than we should online! Kaz

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  13. I did not know about it, but it seems like a wonderful tool to have. I will share with my sister in law for my 4 year old niece.

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  14. What a great idea for an app. It is so important to limit and keep an eye on children screen time x

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