How To Set Social Media Limits on Your Phone

“Mom? Mom, are you listening? MOM!”

My four-year-old stared at me as I glanced up from my phone.

“Yes, I’m listening,” I said in an exasperated voice. She had been telling the same story forever and I was guilty of multitasking while she talked.

“No, mom, look at my eyes.”

Sheepishly I put my phone down and looked at her right in the eyes.

As she continued the story I was hit with the realization that on this evening, and many more than I would care to admit, my phone got better eye contact than my children.


Why do I give better eye contact to my phone than to my own child?

The question haunted for the rest of the evening and for several days after, honestly. I wanted to be more engaged with my children than my phone. I made promises to myself that I would set healthier boundaries in the evening, but, despite my best intentions, I continued to prioritize screen time over eye contact.

How To Social Media Limits on Your Phone

One night as I was going to bed and feeling particularly guilty for failing to be a better, more present, mom, I remembered something about time limits for certain apps on my phone in the settings. After clicking on the “Settings” icon on my iPhone I could see another icon for “Screen Time.” A graph popped up with my daily usage and right underneath there was a link to “See All Activity,” where it broke down exactly how many minutes I spent in each app.


If you want to see your own daily usage on your iPhone, click on the “Settings” icon and this screen will appear. Click on “Screen Time” to see your daily usage graph, how much time you’re spending in each app, and to set usage limits.
Clicking on “See All Activity” will allow you to see how much time you spend in each app. “App Limits” will allow you to set a time limit on specific apps.


If you think setting app limits on your  Phone would be helpful, then check out these screenshots to make adjustments in your settings.

I was embarrassed by the numbers.

After a little more clicking, I came across an icon called “App Limits,” and without thinking much at all, I immediately set limits on all social apps on my phone.

I went to sleep feeling a little more hopeful.

The next day, I was much more intentional about why and when I unlocked my phone. I knew I had a time limit, so I didn’t mindlessly scroll. I didn’t even hit my social media limit the first day. The next day, as I was winding down for the day, a banner at the top of my screen let me know I had five minutes left for social apps for the day. Once the five minutes was up, a new screen with an hourglass notified me that my time was up for the day.

I’ve had the limit set for several months now and I have no desire to go back. I can still stay caught up on friends’ lives and exciting news without it becoming a comparison trap and a vortex of negativity.

On one level, it’s embarrassing that I have to set limits for myself and I can’t monitor my own social media consumption without help, but I have to own what works for me and my personality. Using the controls already on my phone has allowed me to set healthier boundaries and stick to them without completely giving up social media. The best part? My kids now get the eye contact they deserve and need.

Ashley Ashcraft has spent the majority of her life in North Texas. Born in Dallas, she attended Concordia University of Texas in Austin for an undergraduate degree and spent her mid-20’s in beautiful, easy-going Hawaii where she taught at a high school and obtained a M.E. in Educational Foundations from the University of Hawaii. The birth of her first daughter, now seven years old, brought her and her husband back to Texas and to family. Since then, they’ve added two more girls and a boy to the mix. Ashley now teaches at Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton (Go Eagles!) and has learned it takes a village and a lot of grace to be a wife, mom of four, teacher, and avid Eagle fan, but she is thankful for all of it. In the evenings you can usually find her supporting Eagles’ sports, trying to keep up with laundry, coaxing her kids to eat meat, or enjoying time out in the neighborhood with her wonderful neighbors. Ashley is not an expert mom, but she’s surrounded by an amazing tribe of women that help her to be the best mom and wife possible. She recently started blogging at As You Do Life and you can also find her on Twitter @AshleyAshcraft .