What is the best App for limiting screen time on an Android phone

My 15 year old with ADHD and a mood disorder is addicted to her phone -  forgoing meals, sleep and bathing when she really gets going; yelling and screaming when we remind her it's time to put it away.  We've discussed the physical and mental health consequences with her.  We've set limits and made rules.  We take the phone away when she doesn't comply.  But, the process of physically taking the phone feels like we're teetering on the edge of violent disaster.  She had a very traumatic childhood (she's adopted) and gets easily triggered.  I have Verizon Smart Family App on her phone but the time limits haven't been working, either because the App doesn't work very well, or because she's learned how to disable it, or both.  Does anyone have a recommendation for a good app?  I'd like to be able to to cut access to the cell network and our home network at certain hours of the day.  I can unplug our router if necessary so cutting access to the cell network is my major goal.  It's such a frustrating and disheartening situation.  Thanks for your help.

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I have an adopted teen also with the same challenges. This is maybe not the advice you’re looking for but I suggest taking the phone away altogether. A kid with ADHD, and a mood disorder, and adoption issues to deal with does not need phone limits. She needs to be spending almost 100% of her time at home in the presence of her family, feeling the love of her family. She’s not doing anything useful at all with the phone. Even though she will almost certainly tell you her connection with friends through her phone is her only joy in life, I would not believe it. It’s much more likely that social media is adding to her problems. Also—many adopted kids have attachment issues and access to phones (electronics of any kind really) make it nearly impossible to help teenagers with those issues. 

Taking it completely away will be a short-term nightmare for you but there is so much to be gained in the long run. 

Hugs to you. It’s a long hard road we are on. 

We tried a variety of apps, but my son (also with ADHD) was able to find ways around all of them with the help of YouTube. What finally worked was turning off data to his line through the AT&T website as needed, turning off our WiFi as needed, and getting a "kitchen safe" (on Amazon) that every phone in our house goes into at 10PM each night. I have to say that the safe has made the biggest difference, since he's also not able to take his phone out in class during the school day without it being confiscated. We tied his compliance with the safe to the continued availability of the phone during the day, and since we're all doing it, it made it a little bit easier for him to handle. He can still listen to his music through bluetooth headphones, but there is no texting, gaming, etc. at night. Sleep makes a big difference to the rest of the day, and he doesn't feel singled out by us trying to confiscate his phone every night while we still have ours. Good luck!

I'm so sorry you are experiencing this. As someone who has walked this road, I can tell you it's a tough one. My child is now 19 years old. For us, limits did not work, he always found a way around them. He just got sneakier and sneakier, and when all else failed, he simply got phones from friends and/or used the free wifi that seems to be available everywhere including in our home thanks to neighbors who do not password protect their wifi. How teenagers have access to phones they can give to friends, I have no idea. But I can tell you, the vast majority of social networking teens use do not require cell signal or network. We also had violent outbursts including the smashing of a phone with a hammer rather than handing it over (one from a friend). As you might imagine, this was not our only discipline issue.

My suggestion is to get good family therapy in place. It's likely this will not be your only behavior / control issue. An app won't solve the short term problem or deeper issues. You might also look into The Parent Project (https://parentproject.com). Unfortunately, I found out about this too late to be of help for my family, but I've heard great things about the program.

Good luck, and do something kind for yourself today.

Verizon Smart Family has been working pretty well for me with time limits, but if it isn't for you,  you could pay a bit more to get the feature of shutting down the internet. You can also temporarily disable her phone from the cell network by using a feature that says you are away and want to temporarily close service on the phone.. I would talk to the people at Verizon so you know all your options. If that doesn't work, you could try other apps, like quostodio.

There is no app that you can find or buy that she won't be able find a way to easily circumvent.  It sounds to me like you might not understand how key technology is to teenagers life is today.  Remember back to the 1950s when teenagers would talk on the phone for hours.  This is same thing.  Kids haven't changed in the past 60 years just the phone. The part I think you are missing is how communicating with her peers makes her feel.  Cutting her off from her friends would be devastating.  

I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say, "We've discussed the physical and mental health consequences with her."  Not sure why you are setting limits and made rules.  You said nothing about how she is performing in school.  Or how she's getting along with her friends.  Isn't that what's important?

I would think you would be pleased and thankful she's socializing with friends on her phone rather than turning alcohol, drugs or risky behavior.  Sounds like the relationship with your daughter is not going so well right now.  If this were my daughter, (and I have several), and I'm speaking parent to parent be watchful for signs she might be lured into trafficking.
https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking  Sounds like your daughter has had a troubled past and might be the target of someone who could lure her into trafficking.  This is something that's occurring in the Bay Area.

Have you talked to her and asked her if she likes school and her friends?  Maybe she's just not happy at her school.  Can she change schools or graduate early?  Parts of your story apply to one of my daughters.  We went through some hard times and she attended 3 different high schools. She/we  got through it and is now doing well and is in college.

Just hang in there.  Hight school years are tough times for young women.  Give her some space.

There's an app about growing trees https://www.forestapp.cc/ which kind of game-ifies not using your phone. You grow a bigger tree for a larger amount of off-screen time. I personally didn't find it useful even on myself, but some of my friends recommended it to me. 

This is the original poster.  Thanks for your messages.  I appreciate the tips and it's nice to hear from other people that got through this situation.   As people understood this isn't an isolated issue, but it does aggravate other things to an almost unbearable point.  

Also, I wanted to question the idea that we "give her some space".  Our daughter's behavior is pretty extreme. If allowed she'll avoid sleeping, bathing, eating (to the point of weight loss), even drinking water or using the bathroom (let alone exercising, going outside or seeing people in person).   She's getting headaches and says she feels more confused.  She's becoming angry to the point of throwing and breaking things.  She always snaps and often swears at us if we even say hello to her when she's using her phone.   And her whole mental outlook improves when she goes for a few hours without electronics.  I'm being told by her core therapy team that she needs more limits rather than more space.    However, as well as from the poster below, I've heard the opposite suggestion from another therapist.   Could this be true?   Has anyone out there tried the sink or swim method with positive results?    To be truthful it's pretty unlikely I'll try it but I'm interested to hear from others.

I am a physician and had a patient with similar issues who became actively suicidal.  Got admitted to the hospital, inpatient involuntary hold, etc.  No electronics during this time.  Finally was released, returned to school, and once settled the parent decided to allow the teen to use a phone for 1 hr/day.  The teen declined.  S/he realized it was using the phone that caused the suicidality and it was this drastic chain of events that finally allowed the realization that it needed to stop.  So cold turkey was the cure.

I'm sorry that you are experiencing this. Your daughter reminds me of an example given by Richard Freed in his book "Wired Child" - I wonder if you've heard of him? We had him speak at our school and it was a very good presentation - he does therapy in this area - perhaps you could consult with him? There are also treatment centers to help:

  • Internet and Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA): A 12-step, fellowship program that aims to help those addicted to technology recover from their affliction. Members share their experiences and provide support to one another.
  • Restart Center.
    • Center for Digital Technology Sustainability.
    • 8-12-week program disconnected from digital media (i.e., internet, gaming, cell phone use).
    • Helps you build a plan for the future, allows you to work closely with peers, coaches, and counselors to reconnect with life.
  • Morningside Recovery.
    • Has locations in Texas, California, and Arizona.
    • Specializes in dual diagnosis of nomophobia–the fear of being without your mobile device–and another mental illness, such as anxiety.
  • Camp Grounded.
    • Is similar to a summer camp for adults.
    • Consists of a digital detox and interactive activities.

Wishing you the best.

I realize this is difficulty.  But please consider this before limiting screen time. I am a college professor who just taught STEM workshops to over 100 young women (grades 6 to 12).on Saturday.  Sadly in every workshop there were a few young women who have very little or no screen time who had a hard time and could not complete the assignments.  The women who succeeded and did well were the ones with plenty of screen time experience.  I really felt bad for the young women who struggling to participate and succeed.  It was heartbreaking.  In the world we live in screen time is very important. 

I attended a medical conference w/ my husband who is a Farmily Practice MD at John Muir.  I'm in Public Health and direct Parents for a Safer Environment.  this was the first of its kinds in the U.S. where researchers from all over the world gathered to share their research and present to physicians.

We learned that there are thousands of peer reviewed and published research that links exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and wireless 

devices to symptoms that are measurable such as loss of melatonin and raised blood pressure.  Some common symptoms include sleep disorder, skin issues, irratibility, short-term memory loss, heart and pulmonary problems, among many others.  There's evidence that MS, Alzheimer's and many other chronic and rising illnesses are linked to EMR exposure.  It's not surprising since the research is showing damage at the ceullar level. If our cells are damaged, our hormones and in turn our organs will not function properly.

Children who go on a wifi diet improve their school performance, behavior, and health conditions.  If you want more info, there are active community members

working to prevent 5G from coming into the community and parents will have no control over turning off the wifi.   In our home, we decided to

hardwire our internet, get rid of the cordless phone (one of the highest sources) , and now my husband puts his cell phone on airplace mode whenever possible.  For more info, e=mail me and I will send you links to some websites... plan to have some of the info uploaded into the www.pfse.net website soon on the menu labeled: electromagnetic radiation.