One of the iOS 12 features to generate a lot of buzz has been Screen Time – a way to monitor app usage and set limits to reduce the amount of time spent staring at your phone.

You can use it yourself, of course, but parents can also use it to limit the time their kids spend using particular apps, like games or YouTube. One company, though, thinks it has an even better idea: require kids to exercise to earn app time …

Goya-Move is an app designed to get children off their mobile devices and moving again. We allow the parent to set a daily or hourly step goal for their children.  The parent can block specific apps that will be timed out until the desired step goal is reached by the child.  No active playing or exercising, no apps!

The developers say they created the app to use with their own kids initially.

Goya-Move was designed by parents for parents. We, the founders of Goya-Move are parents of a household of children. With the same problems we faced in our household, we learned those problems exist in yours as well. Our goal was not to punish our children by taking their phones away, rather teach them about screen time moderation and accountability. By taking our children’s phones away as punishment, we have now lost the ability to communicate with our children, track our children and give them access to a secure way to communicate in an escalated situation. Our patent pending app allows the parent to have full control of their children’s screen time while getting the children out moving and playing again! There are also many health-related benefits for your children by using this app for a healthier lifestyle.

TNW’s Callum Booth had some reservations about the ethos.

Now, I’m not a parent, so there’s a chance that I’m looking at this through an ideological – rather than a practical – lens, but the tech feels quite… ransom-y […]

I can see the logic, but I feel that encouraging children to find an exercise they enjoy on its own merits, rather than defining movement as an anti-app activity is a better way to go.

I’m not a parent either, so I can’t offer any insight, but I have had experience of being a kid (albeit a while ago), and it doesn’t seem too terrible to me. Indeed, with Apple’s focus on fitness and health, I could even see this as an approach that might have merit as an official iPhone feature.

What do the parents here make of it? Let us know in the comments.

If you want to take the app for a spin, Goya-Move is a free download from the App Store, with in-app purchases of $1.99/month for the first child, and $1/month for each additional one. It offers a 5-day free trial.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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