Worried about the screen-time of your own kids? Maybe you have younger siblings, cousins, nieces or nephews that need to take a break from their screens? Dougal Tsakalos-Stewert takes you through the app Screencoach, a solution to lowering the alarming amounts of time spent on devices.
A worry for many parents, caretakers or even babysitters is the concern of screen time for the children or young adults in their care. Screen time has been shown by a variety of studies to have adverse impacts on the growth, behaviour and even sleeping patterns of children and adolescents alike. One study in particular illustrates how a variety of environmental factors, one being screen time, can delay bedtime or truncate total sleep time.  Guardians can fear no more for their children as a result of the ScreenCoach App developed in 2021 by Stephanie and Peter Kakris as well as Gary Borham. 
While it may seem ironic that an app of all things could be the key that could remove kids from spending time on screens, it has an efficient and well thought out system. The owner is able to allocate time slots and limits on phones and other devices, including video game consoles. This is possible as Screen Coach also provides owners with a “Harmony Box”.  This box is plugged into a television or specific console that kids must be signed into before game time begins. If a child attempts to unplug the box even when it's off it will emit an alarm, notifying parents.
The real selling point for this app is its “tasks” feature. This feature allows the owner to set tasks whether that be homework or chores for the children using the app. They can earn “tokens” by doing tasks which gives them more screen time or pocket money as a result. Parents also have an option to pause their kids screen time and go ask them to complete a task, which luckily doesn't whittle down their time at all.
The creation of this app is clever and provides solutions for parents struggling to get their children off devices. But a question must be asked: Do parents really need to “take back control” of this apparent epidemic?  Or is the real answer to this issue trust, and a good relationship with your children.
 Hale, Lauren, and Stanford Guan. “Screen Time and Sleep among School-Aged Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review.” Sleep Medicine Reviews, 12 Aug. 2014, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079214000811?casa_token=S9IIEP_KUDYAAAAA%3A9tG722AJWjq4tL1xlDqipw7l7JEjh24FhA0xd365tagzThisauuoEPoGjpwdGJFsk2jubY6Gaw.
 “About.” ScreenCoach, 13 Oct. 2022, https://www.myscreencoach.com/about/.
 “Features.” ScreenCoach, 25 Mar. 2022, https://www.myscreencoach.com/features/.
 A Current Affair Staff. “New App Aims to Help Parents Take Back Control of Kids' Screen Time.” 9Now, 16 Feb. 2023, https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/new-australian-made-screen-coach-app-helping-parents-take-control-of-kids-screen-time/b11c0edd-4135-4577-bf65-f6f62d16a914#:~:text=A%20new%20Australian%2Dmade%20app,grant%20it's%20ready%20to%20launch.