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Brili is an app and a platform that helps kids with behaviour challenges succeed at daily routines by making them fun.

Managing Tech Distractions


Managing Tech Distractions

Pierre Séguin

When some parents first learn of Brili, their initial reaction goes a little like, "WHAT? You want me to give my highly distractible, impulsive and technology-addicted nine-year-old a tablet at our most tricky times of day? Why don't I also give him a lollipop and a puppy, while I'm at it?"

Photo by  kitty.green66  via Flickr.

Photo by kitty.green66 via Flickr.

Okay, fair concern. A lot of kids, my eleven-year-old included, have a really hard time resisting the temptation to hit the iPad's home button and launching Minecraft when they should actually be making their bed. So how do we make Brili work at our house?

First of all, don't underestimate the ability of Brili's dynamic earned time and timeline visuals to captivate your child. It's putting the very same addictive game qualities, namely a challenging goal and real-time feedback, to use for good. Do your tasks, earn stars. Do your tasks quickly, earn extra free time for more Minecraft.

If your child needs more support to stay with the routine tasks and away from other potentially distracting apps on the same device, we offer a few other tips that work, depending on the amount of supervision your child needs. Of course, pick the option you find is most conducive to building and maintaining trust with your child.

1. Place the Device in a Central Location

Your child doesn't need to be running around with the device throughout the entire routine. You can place an iPad in a central location, within earshot for your child so reminders can be heard, but also within your sight. With this setup, your child would check Brili for the next task, go off and do it, then come back to swipe it complete. It'll be easier to resist the temptation to start playing Tapped Out or Angry Birds if mom and dad are watching. By the way, this works particularly well with Brili Extra's voice prompt feature enabled.

2. Pair it with a Pebble

Brili is available as a free app for the Pebble smartwatch, which you can often pick up for as low as $79. The watch will show your child the current task and time remaining, vibrating when time is low or expired. It's also waterproof for bathroom and dishwashing tasks. It even allows advancing to the next task without needing to access the tablet or smartphone. Note that the watch does need to be within Bluetooth range of its paired phone or tablet so that Brili can work, though.

3. Remote Monitoring

Brili lets you watch a routine as your child completes it, from any number of devices, in real time, from anywhere. So if you're not seeing the progress you're expecting, or a task is running into the amber and red zones for time, you can check in on your child in person to provide additional prompting.

  • Set your own phone to your child's Kid Mode and watch the cards get swiped as your child does it from her device
  • Wear a Pebble watch, paired to your phone and logged in as your child to monitor progress from your wrist
  • Watch multiple children simultaneously in Parent Mode if you've got the Brili Extra upgrade.

4. Restrict the Device to Just Brili

Sometimes, more restrictive measures are called for. Once again, there's technology for that!


Apple provides a feature called Guided Access on all iOS devices, which lets a parent lock out all but a single desired app on a child's device. Once you've set it up for the first time in your Settings app, it's pretty straightforward:

  1. Launch Brili
  2. Triple-click the home button
  3. Start guided access. The device will prevent access to other apps.
  4. To end guided access, triple-click the home button again and enter your lock code when prompted.

With Guided access, you can be assured your child will be using only Brili (or whatever app you decide should be in use at the time), at least until the device battery runs out, which would allow the device to be rebooted, thus turning the feature off.


Android provides restricted profiles to provide similar app lockout control. Android Lollipop (5.0) comes with a feature called screen pinning that also works similarly to Apple's guided access, except that the lock code is the same as the device's lock code. Some Samsung devices also offer a kids mode.

I hope these prove to be helpful tips for managing device-based distractions while routines are running. If you have any other suggestions, we'd love to hear them!