Goya-Move blocks children’s fave apps… until they’ve walked enough steps

The school summer holidays started this week in the UK, which means parents across the country (ContempoPlay included) are trying to make sure their children don’t *just* lounge around the house messaging, playing Fortnite and eating their own bodyweight in crisps.

Goya-Move is an app that can’t help you with the whole salty snack-products thing — sorry — but it’s promising parents that it will encourage their children to get active before they can use their favourite apps.

“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,” is the pitch in its app-store listing.

You can also block out specific times, for example for bedtime and mealtimes, when apps can’t be used. The app is available for Apple and Android devices, with the idea being that you install it on your smartphone or tablet as well as your child’s, controlling the settings from the former device.

This puzzled me at first. On Android, an app can take control of the phone or tablet and block specific apps, but it’s not possible with Apple’s iOS software. But in that case, what Goya-Move does is blocks internet access for the apps you choose: for example, kids might be able to start the YouTube app, but it won’t be able to actually stream videos until they’ve hit their step goal.

Here in the UK, using Goya-Move costs £1.79 a month for one child, with higher prices for two, three or more-than-four. In the US, that translates to $1.99, $2.99, $3.99 or $4.99 a month for those respective options.

I’m not sure what I think of this idea, in truth. It’s like a lot of digital parenting issues: I’d rather do this sort of thing without the need for technology — setting clear device-usage boundaries; encouraging my kids to be active rather than forcing them to be; and generally not playing Big Brother (or Big Father) when it comes to their apps usage.

And, like a lot of digital parenting issues, I recognise the desperation that can ensue when those morally-upstanding methods don’t work! So Goya-Move may be something that appeals to parents who are struggling to get their smartphone-clutching children off the sofa in the holidays.