Parents Out of Control: Don't Know How to Limit Their Kids' Screen Time

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You feel your children are spending too much time online, but what are you doing about it? Chicago-based startup WebCurfew has the answer.

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It is very important for parents to get involved and limit their children’s screen time given the powerful protective effect it has across a wide range of different areas of their development.

A recent study by Iowa State University (ISU), and published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that children behave better, do better in school, get more sleep, and see other health benefits when parents limit content and the amount of time they spend on the computer, in front of the TV, or other connected devices. Chicago-based startup WebCurfew provides an intuitive and easy-to-use technology solution to help parents control their kids’ screen time.

WebCurfew, a free web-based parental control service, connects directly to the router people already have in their home and allows parents to see each device that is connected to the Internet. With the click of a button, parents can easily turn the Internet on or off to specific devices – without the need to install any software or have a background in technology. The service has four main functions or "tools" designed to help parents regain control over when and how their children access the Internet from any connected device.

  • WebSafeguards — Block websites based on age-appropriate content filtering categories.
  • WebAcccess — Turn devices on/off from the Internet with the touch of a button.
  • WebTimers — Create time-of-day policies to automate the WebCurfew experience.
  • WebReports — Provide insights into the web activity of your children.

“It is important for parents to limit screen time especially in the summer when school is out and children have a plethora of outdoor activities available. Too much time on the computer or playing video games can take away from kids’ ability to participate in other activities and can have long-term negative effects on children’s social habits,” said Rod da Silva, founder of WebCurfew.

The ISU study, led by Dr. Douglas Gentile, analyzed the media habits of more than 1,300 school children over a seven-month period. Students and parents were surveyed about everything from screen time limits, to violent media exposure, to bedtimes and behavior. Teachers reported grades and commented on student behavior and school nurses measured each student’s height and weight. At the end of the study period, children whose parents set more limits on the amount and content of media were now getting more sleep, had lower weight gain (lowering their risk of obesity), were getting better grades in school, exhibited more helpful and cooperative pro-social behaviors in school, and were less aggressive with their peers (as seen by the classroom teachers).

“It is very important for parents to get involved and limit their children’s screen time given the powerful protective effect it has across a wide range of different areas of their development,” said Dr. Douglas Gentile, associate professor of psychology at ISU. “Parental controls solutions like WebCurfew are great tools to help parents who want to limit their kids’ screen time. This is particularly important because parents often feel out of control, but our research demonstrates that setting limits is a powerful protective factor for children."

For a full overview of the ISU study, go here.

To learn more about WebCurfew’s product offerings and sign up for their service, visit

About WebCurfew
Based in Chicago, WebCurfew is a free cloud-based service for implementing parental controls across Internet connected devices. With no software to download, WebCurfew provides a holistic and easy-to-use solution for parents who are currently overwhelmed with the number of screens and technologies they must manage to keep their children safe on the Internet. WebCurfew is a graduate of the 2013 Chicago TechStars class. For more information about WebCurfew, visit

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Alberto Moriondo
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