Screen Time Limits & How to Set Them

How to set screen time limits for children.
How to set screen time limits.

Did you know you restrict your child’s phone during the school day? You can and it will help them be more successful.

What are screen time limits?

Screen time limits prohibit children from using their cell phones during a certain period or time or during specific times in the day. These are useful because even if you set screen time limits, children can still receive phone calls from important numbers.

Why Should You Set Screen Time Limits?

Help your student by setting screen time limits.

A few weeks ago, we had our parent-teacher conferences at school. I met with many parents, and a common issue among the parents and teachers was what to do about cell phones in the classroom.

It’s not just our school with this problem. Just read the news, and you’ll see headlines about worried parents, experts, and educators alike.

Distractions Are A Major Problem

Setting screen time limits on your child's phone will help them focus in school.

Cell phones are one of the biggest distractions in the classroom. According to a survey by Common Sense Media, 75% of teenagers admit to using their cell phones during class.

It is a significant number, and it’s no surprise that it can be difficult for students to focus when they have a device that constantly pulls their attention away from what’s happening in the classroom.

Cell phones are an issue every day, in every class.

Cell Phones Make Cheating Easier

One issue is that it can be a source of cheating. Students can easily use their phones to look up answers or send answers to classmates during tests or quizzes.

This behavior undermines the integrity of the educational system and can lead to unfair advantages.

Cell Phones Complicate Mental Health

Setting screen time limits will help teachers.

In addition, mental health problems in teenagers are on the rise. Studies have found that increased cell phone use is associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression in teenagers.

The data is concerning, as these mental health problems can have long-lasting effects on a student’s academic and personal life. Whereas when I was a kid, we would argue and go on vacation.

When we returned from vacation, we couldn’t remember the problem. Now, students can continue their argument via social media, and when they return to school, problems are often worse.

Many issues I have in the classroom relate to cell phone use.

One student even made death threats on social media to another teacher when she asked him to put his phone away.

So, What Can Parents Do?

One thing parents can do is limit their student’s cell phones during the day. Fortunately, both Apple and Samsung offer parental controls that can limit children’s devices.

iPhone users can use the Screen Time feature to set app limits, content restrictions, and downtime schedules.

Samsung users can use the Digital Wellbeing feature to set screen time limits, block apps, and set bedtime mode. These features can be accessed and managed from the parent’s device.

Coincidentally, my 15-year-old niece’s phone goes to sleep at 10 p.m. If she is awake after 10 p.m., she stares at her phone and looks at pictures, or finds a book to read.

She changes the names in her contacts, and when she’s finally tired of doing all that, she hangs out with her aunt.

How To Set Screen Time Limits On A Cell Phone

Cell phones use is contributing to increasing mental health issues in young adults.

iPhone Users

iPhone users use the Screen Time feature to set limits on phone usage. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your child’s iPhone.
  2. Tap on “Screen Time.”
  3. Tap “Turn On Screen Time” if it is not already on.
  4. Tap on your child’s name, then tap “Set Up Screen Time for Family.”
  5. Follow the prompts to set up Screen Time for your child, including setting up App Limits, Downtime, and Content & Privacy Restrictions.

With App Limits, you can set daily time limits for specific apps or app categories (such as social media or games), and your child receives a notification when they are approaching their limit.

With Downtime, you can set a specific time range each day to lock your child’s phone, and only pre-approved will be accessible.

Content & Privacy Restrictions allow you to restrict access to certain types of content, such as explicit language, and to control things like in-app purchases.

My other niece has this setup on her iPad. She can only play Roblox for one hour a day, and then she is off her electronics.

Samsung Users

Samsung users can use the Digital Wellbeing feature to limit screen time. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your child’s Samsung device.
  2. Tap on “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.”
  3. Tap on “Parental Controls.”
  4. Follow the prompts to set up Parental Controls for your child, including Daily Usage Limits, Bedtime Mode, and App Restrictions.

With Daily Usage Limits, you can set a daily limit for screen time, and the device will lock automatically.

With Bedtime Mode, you can schedule a specific time range during which your child’s device will go into grayscale mode. During this time, all notifications are silent.

App Restrictions allow you to block specific apps or limit their use during certain times of the day.

There Are Also Several Apps Available

Both Samsung and Apple have parental controls to help curb phone use during the day.

Here are a few options:

  1. OurPact — This app allows parents to set screen time limits on their child’s phone, block specific apps, and schedule on and off time for kids.
  2. FamilyTime — This app allows parents to monitor their child’s phone use, block specific apps, and set screen time limits.

Speak with children about using their electronics responsibly. Children might not always like what they hear, but kids do listen.

Talk to your child about the importance of limiting screen time and discuss a plan that works for everyone.


I've included iPhone and Samsung instructions for setting screen time limits.

Not only will you have fewer issues with your child around electronics, but children will also have fewer issues with them in school.

Many students walk home from school. My students’ parents work, and children need to be able to reach them in an emergency.

There are plenty of valid reasons kids need to carry cell phones. In setting limits and boundaries, we can keep them safe and distraction-free at school.

There are a few third party apps to help monitor screen time.
Setting screen time limits now will help your student in the classroom, which helps their future.
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I am an educator with almost 15 years of experience teaching in Japan, Hawaii, and in Los Angeles. My goal is to change education and the way we view literacy instruction in America.

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