Freedom - Reduce Distractions

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Freedom - Reduce Distractions App Poster Image
Fine site and app blocker, but nothing to motivate teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Self-awareness related to how habitual tech use affects time management.

Ease of Play

Very easy to customize the block lists. (Some apps, such as Facebook, may be more difficult to block than others and just adding them to your list may not work.) If a user puts the phone in locked mode and needs to access an app or website, there is no way to do that other than contacting the developer and waiting for them to respond.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Seven free sessions, then subscription required.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freedom - Reduce Distractions is a subscription-based app and website blocker intended for general use, not specifically for kids. The privacy policy indicates that it's meant for users 18 and older, though younger teens could use it. Users choose the apps and websites they want blocked and for how long, and they can sync the block across their devices. Users can end blocked sessions, but if teens use "locked" mode, they'll have to go through the developer. The first seven sessions are free to try, and then a subscription ($129 for "forever," $29/year, or $6.99/month) is required. Premium subscribers can also pre-schedule blocks. Personal information is sometimes sold to third parties. Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

To use FREEDOM - REDUCE DISTRACTIONS, create a username and password. Tap "Install App Blocker," which will give Freedom permission to block the apps you've selected. Sign in to the app's dashboard. Set the amount of time you want the blocks to last, when you want the blocks to begin, and/or set a recurring block schedule by time and day. Tap Blocklists and type in the apps and sites you want blocked, or tap the plus sign to add from a pre-made list of popular sites and apps. If you choose to activate "locked" mode, you cannot stop an active Freedom block session without involving the developer.

Is it any good?

This app can certainly help users become aware of how restricting social media, apps, and websites at certain times can affect productivity, but there are no incentives and some privacy concerns. Unfortunately, Freedom - Reduce Distractions doesn't provide supports specifically for kids or teens that could help them understand when and whether their desire to use certain apps or websites is counterproductive. It doesn't offer alternatives, encouragement, or incentives. Overall, it's just not fun. Its straightforward user interface is simple enough to make using it easy for highly motivated adults or teens who already realize their need to limit tech use of certain apps and websites, but it'll likely work best with older teens who are looking for solutions themselves and don't mind the bare-bones approach.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about when it may be a good time to use an app such as Freedom - Reduce Distractions. What are some times during the day or week that your kid may benefit by taking a break from social media apps and websites, or from tech altogether? Daily homework time? Family dinners? An hour before bedtime? 

  • Talk to your kid about behaviors that may signal their tech use is becoming compulsive. Read Common Sense Media's What's the difference between technological addiction and problematic use?

  • If you're asking your kid to use a tech-limiting app, consider doing so yourself to understand the challenges your kid will likely experience. What happens when your access to tech is limited?

App details

For kids who love staying focused and time management

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