This Free App Created By Dads Helps Parents Monitor Their Kids’ Screen Time
For a busy family, it’s nearly impossible to make life work without everyone staying connected. For a lot of families, this means that every member who’s old enough to have their own phone, has one! Tweens and teens especially are getting into the phone game. And while it might make parents feel better to be able to know where their kids are at all times, it can also create a whole new world of worries. We want our kids to have screens, right? But we don’t want them to spend all their time on them. And we want them to practice responsible phone and social media use. There are a few different ways we can keep track of their screen time and activities. But a new free screen time app created by a group of dads has some serious promise!
The Zift app was created by Mike Burns, David Savage, and Chris Rothey. All dads, all with four kids each. They were all having issues with their kids and screens: not being sure of what types of sites they were visiting, not being able to accurately track how much time they spent on their phones. After finding third party monitoring solutions to be expensive and not user-friendly, the group decided to come up with their own. Their app, Zift, is free, easy to use, and best of all, accurate.
Zift, the free screen time app, uses something called a “Family Feed”.
The feed allows you to track how much time your kids are on their phones. But even better, it gives you instant reports of internet searches, and instant alerts when your kid may have viewed inappropriate content like porn or drug use. The accuracy of Zift is what a lot of parents will appreciate. Part of the problem with other monitoring services, says Burns, is that all screen time is treated equally. But there’s certainly a big difference between spending two hours scrolling through Facebook, and two hours doing research for a school project.
In an interview with Romper, Burns says, “A lot of filters judge a book by its cover, simply take the name and go from there. You can create a social media site and claim that it’s educational. User-generated content. AI filter analyzes data to parents that their kids could be looking at gore, suicide, porn, violent weapons. At least parents are then warned, and can act accordingly.”
Zift uses the “Net Nanny Smart Filter”, which analyzes individual web page content in real time.
So rather than block sites entirely, the software checks the content of each web page to determine if the content is appropriate. It’s a great tool for parents who want to give their kids a bit more freedom, but still want to be able to keep them safe.