Have you ever wanted to make your kids hate you?
While looking to wrangle some of my own digital distractions, I stumbled across OurPact, an app that provides parents with almost unlimited control of their kids’ devices. Load the app onto your device and theirs and you can remotely disable the device’s app use on a schedule or a whim with the swipe of a finger. As a diabolical “mwahahaha” rises from your throat.
Yeah. One app to rule them all.
Here is a list of thoughts that went through my head upon discovering this app existed: They will hate this — and me, I will win Worst Mother Ever for sure, this will provide more fodder for their future therapists, now I can drive them as crazy as they drive me — that’s right, two can play at that game.
The basic version of the app is free and can be used to block Internet, camera and downloaded apps on your kids’ device. This can be done manually or on a schedule. With the free app, you can only use one schedule on one device and are given only five manual blocks a month. OurPact Plus is $1.99/month and can run on up to 10 devices and has unlimited blocks and schedules. OurPact Premium is $4.99/month and has all the features of OurPact Plus, plus it can run on 20 devices and you can block texts, customize what apps are blocked when and set up time allowances.
Downloading the app and setting it up on devices is very simple and much easier than I expected. You install it on your own device first, create an account and follow the steps to install the app on your kids’ device(s). OurPact knows not all parents are technologically savvy; this app will gently walk you through each step, including the part where you hand control of your kids’ device over to the OurPact server, which feels somewhat like I imagine it must when you sell your soul to the devil. Ah, the things you do for power.
And then the fun begins.
Even if you don’t plan to use this app for reals, you might consider trying it for the entertainment value. I haven’t had this much fun in ages. Watching the sheer horror of the kids’ faces when they realize what’s just happened to their whole world, their whole life — priceless. Grab the popcorn and sit back for the show.
When you block the device, it’ll look like you deleted all their apps, hysteria will ensue, and then as you explain what actually is going on, you can watch the color drain from their face.
Right away I let my kids know I was just doing it to mess with them — to which they uttered the appropriate amount of “that’s not fair”s and “I hate this app”s and more. I replied with an evil cackle, drumming my fingers together.
It is a little bit funny that the app is called “OurPact.” They must mean “pact” in the late-1800s-white-people-and-American-Indian sense of the word. Your kids have to agree to nothing: it will be done to them and their devices as the parental control deems fit.
I’m not going to lie, possessing this kind of power is intoxicating. I can see why evil villains go for it. You do feel as if you control the universe, or at least your kids’.
I spent the rest of the night blocking and granting access to their devices at random. It was hilarious. For me.
I was planning to test out the OurPact Premium, only because I liked the idea of customizing what apps were disabled and because I’d like some accountability on screen time allowance. But in order to use it, you’ve got to install a separate utility — which is not complicated, but it’s serious. It’s not just an app download, you’re reconfiguring function as you hand over more control to the OurPact utility. I wasn’t willing to do so knowing it wasn’t worth $4.99/month for me to have that kind of control.
OurPact doesn’t seem to be a good long term fit for our family, to my kids’ relief, but it might be of value for others. Either way, trying it out was so much fun, I kind of have to recommend it.