Unshakeable Salt

iPhone Controls

The most important part of this process is having a conversation with your offspring. It’s more about letting them know what is safe and acceptable behaviour, rather than a hard technical restriction that you want to enforce. The settings can only be used as a guide to reflect what you want your child to learn, not be the safety barrier between right and wrong.

Using ‘Screen Time” to retain some control over the device

  • Lets you block or limit apps.
  • Lets you control your kid’s contacts.
  • Gives you an idea of how your kid is using the phone.
  • Stops them from making changes to the settings.

The first thing you want to do before giving your kid a device is set up Screen Time so you can set restrictions on content and time limits on general use and specific apps. There are two ways to set up Screen Time: You can set it up right on your kid’s device, or you can set up Family Sharing first so you can control your kid’s settings from your own phone. Setting up Family Sharing means creating an Apple ID for your kid. If you want to use Family Sharing, skip down to that section.

How to set up Screen Time on your child’s device:

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Screen Time.
  • Tap “This is My Child’s iPhone.”
  • Follow the prompts and then create a pass code.

Ensure this new code is different from the one you use to unlock your phone. Instead, it’s a code you set so kids can’t change the settings. Remember to keep the passcode in a safe place (such as a password manager) because it’s a real pain if you lose it. And don’t share it with your kids – EVER !

How to set up Screen Time using your device:

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap your Apple ID.
  • Tap Set Up Family Sharing (this is the option you’ll see if you don’t have a family group set up already).
  • Tap Add Family Member and then tap Create a Child Account. Then follow the prompts to create the account and read the privacy agreement.
  • On the Family Sharing page, tap Screen Time and then tap Add Child.
  • Enter your kid’s Apple ID and a password. Note: This is their Apple ID password, not the one you’ll use to control Screen Time.
  • On your child’s device, make sure to enter the Apple ID you’ve created.

Using “Ask to Buy” to control your childs’ spending/downloading

“Ask to Buy” lets you approve or deny purchases even when you’re not with your kid. By default, kids under 13 have to ask to buy or download if they’re part of Family Sharing. Parents have the option to set up Ask to Buy for kids under 18.

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap your Apple ID.
  • Tap Family Sharing.
  • Tap your kid’s name.
  • Tap Ask to Buy.

Reusing “Screen Time” to limit time and restrict content

Within Screen Time, you can control lots of elements of your kid’s phone — everything from restricting access to mature websites to allowing a little more device time for your kid on the weekends.

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Screen Time.
  • Tap your kid’s name.

Using ‘Downtime” to limit the times of day

Stops device use during a set block of time, such as homework time.
Downtime is best used for a regular span of time, but you can adjust that chunk of time on various days. It’s probably most easily applied to bedtime.

  • Tap Downtime.
  • Set a start and end time. Your kid will get a reminder five minute before Downtime starts.
  • Toggle on Block at Downtime.

Use “App Limits” to limit access to certain types or specific Apps

This is where you can customise a bit more around specific time limits for particular apps on certain days. So, if your child spends lots of time on TikTok, you can give them 30 minutes Monday through Friday and one hour on the weekends.

  • Tap App Limits.
  • Tap Add Limit.
  • Tap the circle next to the app categories you want to limit, or tap All Apps & Categories.
  • For a specific app, tap a category to access a drop-down menu of specific apps and websites that fall into that category.
  • Tap Next.
  • Set a time, and Customise Days will appear.
  • Tap Customise Days to set specific limits for certain days.
  • Tap the name of the category or app to go back one page.
  • Toggle on Block at End of Limit if you’re setting up Screen Time on your kid’s device.

Using “Always Allowed” for those things you want your child to always to be capable of doing

Having an iPhone with too many restrictions can stop the reason why you gave your child a phone in the first place. Always Allowed lets approved apps your child can access any time.

  • Tap Always Allowed.
  • Tap the green plus sign next to the apps you want your kids to be able to access during Downtime.

Look after the Contacts list

The parental restrictions allow you to control your child’s contacts list, set up who can contact them during Downtime, and prevent them from making changes. It won’t prevent them from friending people on social media apps, but it will limit the people they can communicate with via phone Message, AirDrop, and FaceTime.

  • Tap Communication Limits.
  • Toggle on Manage Contacts.
  • Toggle off Allow Contact Editing if you don’t want your kid to make changes.
  • Tap During Allowed Screen Time.
  • Select Allowed Communication from Everyone or Contacts Only.
  • Tap Allow Introductions in Groups if you want to be able to add contacts or family members to group conversations.
  • Tap During Downtime.
  • Tap Specific Contacts to limit who your kid can call during Downtime.
  • Tap Add Contacts.
  • Tap Choose From Your Contacts and make selections.

Content & Privacy Restrictions to prevent Adult content

You can adjust ratings on content like movies and books and restrict access to certain websites. The ability to choose ratings for movies (or allow movies at all), choose “clean” music, and create a list of websites your child can access won’t prevent them from ever seeing or hearing anything objectionable, but it will limit their direct access on their own devices.

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  • Tap Content Restrictions.
  • Choose your settings for the level of mature content your kid can see in music, movies, apps, and more.
  • Tap Web Content to choose settings limiting access to adult websites or to create a list of websites you’ll allow.
  • Tap on Web Search Content and Explicit Language to control the search results Siri delivers.
  • Tap Multiplayer Games if you want to control access to them.

Location Services – the built in stalker

Location services is a double edged sword – and often can be misused. On the plus side, it allows you to track your child (assuming they have their phone on them). However, it also means that other people have the potential to track the device too. In many cases, you ( as a parent ) will also have to have location services enabled – which means that you too may be visible to others. If you are comfortable with this, using Location Services like Share My Location and the Find My app, you can see where your kids and their devices are.

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  • Tap Location Services and make sure it’s toggled on (green).
  • Tap Share My Location and toggle it on if you want to see your kid’s location.
  • Tap Don’t Allow Changes if you don’t want your kid to be able to change these settings.
  • Tap other app titles to control whether or not those apps can access your kid’s location.
  • Go back to the home screen.
  • Tap the Find My app.
  • Tap Allow While Using App.
  • Tap People or Devices to see their locations.

Preventing Passcode Changes.

Having gone tot he effort of setting all these controls, it’s a good idea to prevent changes to the overall access to the device. Even with the remote controls Screen Time gives you, you still want to be able to access your childs’ devices, so if you want to maintain a shared passcode, you can make sure they can’t change it.

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  • Scroll down to Allow Changes.
  • Tap Passcode Changes.
  • Tap Don’t Allow.
  • Explore the other settings to see if there are other settings you want to lock.

One final setting : Share Across Devices.

Setting Share Across Devices allows you to continue the discussion about device usage across the family. You can track usage across multiple devices and address concerns before they become issues. You can tailor and fettle some of the suggested settings above as your child matures and these restrictions are confirmed as what they are – a safety feature – not a punishment.

  • Tap on Screen Time.
  • Toggle on Share Across Devices.

Setting up your kid’s device is only one step in a process that includes an ongoing conversation with your kid. And it’s worth noting that there are ways children have found to get around Screen Time, including:

  • Changing the date and time to reset how much time they have (you can prevent this by setting a Screen Time passcode on their phone).
  • Downloading a previously installed (and approved) app to circumvent a time limit (you can block the App Store, but then no apps will update).
  • Using the embedded version of YouTube in iMessage to send videos.


Remember that these are only technical controls to reinforce safe behaviour. Try to get your child to a SafeAndSecureOnline presentation, where they can learn about how to spot online danger and become good digital citizens for the future.

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