Facebook and Netflix binges sucking up your life? Xooloo to the rescue

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When a significant number of Americans freely admit they’d rather give up sex then their smartphones, and twice as many would rather give up drinking than detatch for a week, you know there’s a problem. A French import is here to help us get our sex lives back and let drinkers get back to the booze.

The Xooloo apps were originally and primarily intended to help parents train their children how to manage their digital time. There are three apps: Xooloo Kids for children 8 and under, Xooloo Digital Coach for people 10 and above, and Xooloo Parents. If you’re considering using the Digital Coach app software to manage your own usage, the idea of parental oversight may set your jaw on edge, even though you truly want to cut back. A good plan would be to think of it as an accountability buddy app. Digital Coach lets people self-regulate their usage of apps, social media, and the internet; there’s no app blockage or site screening, although all usage is tracked by both Digital Coach and Parent apps.

You can monitor real-time tracking with Digital Coach as usage piles up. Set limits for overall use and for specific apps, sites, or programs. When the time’s up the Digital Coach shuts off access unless more time is allotted from the corresponding Parents app. Even if you act as your own accountability buddy — there’s probably an indelicate term for that — at least you’ll have to start up a different app to adjust the limits if you can’t stick to your original plan.

If you’re actually using Digital Coach with kids, there are reference metrics so both kids and parents can see how usage compares to other kids and teens. For example, you can see how much time 14-year olds in your area spend on Instagram. That sounds a little creepy if you’re using Digital Coach for yourself or as an accountability buddy for another adult, but kids — and parents — can get a realistic view of age, app, and region-based metrics.

The Xooloo Kids app is definitely kids-only. It’s for children who don’t have their own devices but get to use a parent’s device: it builds a safe and personalized space with approved apps, games, contacts, and secure, controlled browsing.

The Xooloo Parents (accountability buddy) app is available for both iOS and Android. Xooloo Kids and Digital Coach are Android-only for now. In any case there’s a free 30-day trial followed by $3 a month or $30 a year for 1 device running either the Kids or Digital Coach app, $5 a month or $50 annually for 3 devices, and $7 a month or $60 a year for an unlimited number of Digital Coach or Xooloo Kids apps running on devices. The Parents App is free in all cases.

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