Can’t keep your kids off their iPads? The Den is a prison for their gadgets

techden launches the den to reduce childrens screen time

For parents out there, it can be hard to find the right approach toward making sure your kids aren’t glued to their smartphones and tablets 24/7. That’s why Australia-based company TechDen is here to make it easier with the launch of The Den, a hardware and software solution meant to help set boundaries when it comes to the amount of screen time children are getting.

The Den provides parents with a physical home for their children’s smartphones and tablets — without the ability for them to easily access their devices. With the companion app, parents are able to set specific sessions for The Den to unlock to give kids time to use the electronics.

Even though there are software tools out there like Apple’s Screen Time or Google’s Digital Wellbeing, we still have physical access to our electronics. In our experience using Screen Time, we often found ourselves either extending the amount of time we had on a specific app or turning the feature off altogether. With The Den, parents can create more concrete boundaries to reduce screen time.

At an in-person demo with The Den, we couldn’t help but think that it looked like a much sleeker version of a computer tower. On the front, are two doors that fold in when it’s unlocked and on the top is TechDen’s signature bear logo in red. But it’s also not an eye-sore, and we actually wouldn’t mind keeping it on our kitchen counter or tucked away on the entertainment center.

The process of accessing and locking up devices using The Den is simple and children won’t have a hard time grasping the concept. Simply tap on the bear logo and it will flash either red or green lights. Red means The Den is currently locked and kids aren’t able to get their devices out. When it’s green, the doors will open and they can pull out the thin trays to grab their tablet or smartphone.

Perhaps one of the most ideal parts of the hardware is that it simultaneously charges devices as well — with lightning and micro-USB cables available. When a session is over, kids can plug their devices back in and place them back into The Den which will then lock again until the next session.

With a user-friendly app, parents can set and save sessions at any time for any day of the week. Kids will receive both 10-minute and five-minute warnings while they’re on the devices, in order to notify them that time is almost up. Once the session is over, they then receive a notification letting them know their time is up and that it’s time to return the device to The Den.

As soon as the device is plugged in, the app will register it and let parents know that a specific device has gone back into The Den. If it’s not returned on time, parents will then receive a notification letting them know that it has failed to detect that unique device.

There’s also a companion app for children to use called TechDen Jr. — which allows them to see their sessions and to request more time. The parents can then approve or deny the request through their own app. The app also only allows children to ask for a time extension once during each session.

Of course, setting boundaries with children is much easier when there’s a reward waiting for them. With the app, parents can set goals for the app to track. For example, if you want your child to return the device 20 times without going past the five-minute overtime mark, then the app will register and keep track of whether the goal is being met.

The Den is available through TechDen’s Kickstarter page. Pledge levels start at $119 and are scheduled to ship to backers by the end of 2018. As always, we offer words of caution about crowdfunded products.

Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.

Lifeguards in Germany link child drownings to smartphone-distracted parents

Too many parents are fixated on their smartphones instead of monitoring their children in the water when visiting the beach or lake, putting their safety at risk. At least, that's the claim of lifeguard organizations in Germany.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Social Media

Kids can now initiate a friend request on Messenger Kids by using a password

Facebook's messaging app for the under-13 crowd required parents, not kids, to initiate the process of adding a friend. Now kids can start the process by using a unique passphrase -- a feature that still requires parental approval.

Google confirms it still tracks users who turn Location History off

Google is tracking your location -- even when you tell it not to. According to an investigation by the Associated Press, Google services store location data, regardless of whether privacy settings claim otherwise.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, offering considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.

The HTC U12 Plus is now available in color-shifting Flame Red shade

HTC has released some pretty great flagship phones in the past few years, and it's now aiming to follow up with another one. After plenty of rumors and leaks, the company has finally taken the wraps off of the new HTC U12 Plus.

A subway passenger may have snagged a shot of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL

It hasn't been too long since Google launched the Pixel 2, but it's already gearing up for the next iteration, the Google Pixel 3. Here's everything we know about the upcoming phones so far.

HMD may announce the U.S. release of the Nokia 6.1 Plus next week

It's shaping up to be a big year for HMD. After announcing five phones at MWC earlier this year, the handset manufacturer is reportedly bringing another budget phone, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, to the U.S.

Newly leaked photos show a fully functioning Motorola One Power

Many of us have come to know and love Motorola's extensive lineup of budget phones. But Motorola makes some pretty awesome midrange smartphones as well. And it looks like we're about to see its next phone, the Motorola One Power, very soon.
Product Review

Sony's underwhelming XZ2 Premium makes a better camera than a phone

Sony’s third flagship phone of 2018 is its first to ever feature a dual-camera lens. The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium can capture ultra-low-light video far better than the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 9, but is it worth the high cost?

The OnePlus 6T could launch on T-Mobile in October, report says

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. The report notes that the phone could launch on T-Mobile.