Founder of Glued app asks: Are we addicted to technology?

Glued founders: Nick Kuh, Finn, and Nicole Carman
Glued founders: Nick Kuh, Finn, and Nicole Carman

We created Brighton startup ‘Glued’, a parental control app with a difference.

Today’s children are clocking up seven hours of screen time a day, and by the age of just seven, a typical child will have spent a full year of its life on media devices.

Glued app

Glued app

The virtual world is seductive, can be addictive and not just to children.

We are now obsessively checking our phones on average every six minutes and taking our phones to bed with us.

As parents, my husband Nick Kuh and I became aware of the negative effects of too much screen time on our 12-year old son.

Finn is a healthy and active child, and is outside a lot, but as soon as he walks through the front door he picks up his iPad.

It’s then a challenge for us to get him off it, without arguments.

He turns into this zoned-out kid who either completely ignores us or becomes rude and irritated if we disturb him when he’s online.

We’ve talked to other parents about this, and it’s clearly a very big and common problem.

I carried out a little experiment recently and hid Finn’s iPad, Xbox and smartphone after a series of quarrels.

Throughout the evening, while I read my book, I watched while he went from sulking to pleading and attempting to make me feel guilty.

It was quite an unnerving experience, but by bedtime I had got my lovely little boy back.

He was his normal chatty affectionate self that can often disappear behind the screen.

This problem is experienced by millions of other families around the globe.

There is now clear evidence that too much device time can lead to irritability, sleep disturbance, poor concentration, lower GCSE grades, weight gain, “text neck”, the list goes on. So what’s the solution?

My husband has been a software developer for 15 years and has always loved technology, but sees that we now need to take a step back from it and regain control.

When we try and limit our son’s screen time he calls us hypocrites because he sees us texting and regularly posting on Facebook and Twitter; and he’s right!

So we came up with an idea based on the need for collaboration within families rather than one set of rules for our kids and a different set for ourselves.

We created Brighton startup ‘Glued’, a parental control app with a difference.

Families compete throughout the week for “Glued points” and the app actively rewards you for device downtime, and encourages alternative activities to screen time, helping families get more creative, more active and learn to #unglue.

The app will monitor how long family members spend on their devices and Siri will get cross if they go over their screen limits.

It will help parents and kids work together to meet weekly targets and even challenge friends and other families.

Glued will initially test run its software with 1000 UK families.

To sign your family up, use our online form:

Nicole Carman lives in Brighton, and is the co-founder of Glued, with her husband and son.