These days, it is not uncommon to see a toddler playing around with a tablet or a teenager glued to his or her phone, making it hard for parents to pry their kids from the nearest screen. However, one parental control app is building a way to do just that.
Habyts, a parental control app available on the Google Play store, helps parents manage their children’s screen time. Parents can download Habyts to their phones and their kids’ phones. Once the app is downloaded on both devices, parents can set screen time restrictions remotely from their phones.
When kids complete tasks like chores and homework, they unlock screen time on their devices, helping them balance their responsibilities, and being online.
Cynthia Crossley, a co-founder of Habyts, got the idea for the company after juggling how her three sons managed their screen time. After spending more than a decade working for Microsoft, she launched Habyts in 2014 with the hopes of changing how kids engage with their phones.
“It’s not about control,” Crossley said. “We want to teach them self-regulation, self-management, and empowerment.”
The London-based company ran into some hiccups earlier this year when Apple changed its requirements for parental control apps. Habyts removed itself from the App Store and began focusing more on offering its products to schools.
“It actually worked out well for us,” Crossley said. “While the app store was a nice route to market, we weren’t dependent on it.”
Other parental control apps weren’t so lucky. Habyts was able to pivot and focus more on schools while other apps had their business models crushed as they were only available on the App Store before being removed.
“When it all first happened, I thought the sky was falling,” Crossley said. “But it taught me how to be a better entrepreneur, and we started moving into schools more rapidly than we had initially thought we were going to.”
School systems now have the option of using School Habyts and Shared Habyts. This software controls student devices during school hours, and parents can use Shared Habyts to monitor their children’s tasks that were originally assigned at school.
Although Habyts is currently planning to relaunch on the App Store this year, it now has a list of school customers across the U.S. and the U.K.