BT is giving families greater control over screen time for free with its latest update, Wi-Fi Controls. The new feature available on the Smart Hub 2 gives parents the power to pause the internet at home and control up to 15 devices.
BT’s Wi-Fi Controls aim to encourage more family time and remove distractions with a simple touch of a button on the MyBT app, allowing customers to schedule and pause internet access at home for as long or as little as they like. For devices which may need different rules for younger kids or teenagers, customers can also set up their own groups and manage multiple screen time rules all at once.
Pete Oliver, Managing Director, marketing, BT’s Consumer Division, said: “At BT, we are dedicated to keeping families connected and there’s so much entertainment and education available to us, but it’s also so important to have time away from screens. With our new Wi-Fi Controls, we’re helping families create a healthy relationship with technology, so families can decide when they want to be offline so they can focus on homework or enjoy quality time together.”
Carolyn Bunting, Chief Executive of Internet Matters, said: “From reading online to creating and watching videos, tech can entertain and educate the whole family. Sometimes children need a break from their devices and, combined with conversations about healthy and unhealthy screen time habits, BT’s new Wi-Fi Controls feature will help families set positive tech boundaries.
“One size doesn’t fit all, so setting up groups of devices that can be online at different times will help parents balance different screen time needs. Involving children in the process of setting age appropriate limits on how long they can spend online, at what times and on which platforms, is the best way of making sure they have a healthy mix of screen activity.”
Five tips for a healthy screen time balance:
- Lead by example – Just like anything, children copy their parents’ actions and behaviour. If you set boundaries for your own screen, it will be easier for your kids to do the same.
- Set boundaries WITH your kids – Get them involved in the process of setting age appropriate limits on how long they can spend online, at what times and on which platforms. Set up screen-free times or rooms where screens are out of sight and therefore more likely to be out of mind. Review these as they get older and give them the space to take greater responsibility for their screen use.
- Ensure a healthy mix of screen activity – Make sure they have a good balance of screen activities that encourage creativity, learning & education, connecting with family & friends, as well as using devices for passively engaging with content.
- Avoid using screen time as a reward – This will elevate the status of screen time above other activities and like using food as a reward may encourage children to simply want more
- Physical activity & sleep are really important – Make sure screens are not displacing these things by keeping screens out of bedrooms at bed time and that you are creating opportunities for your children to be active each day
For more age-specific advice to help children strike a healthy screen time balance, visit: www.internetmatters.org/screen-time
Customers eligible to use Wi-Fi Controls will need the latest version of the MyBT app and a Smart Hub 2 updated with the latest firmware.
For more information on BT’s family of security features, including Wi-Fi Controls, please visit home.bt.com
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.