As I mentioned before we are primarily an Apple family as far as devices go. It is just our preference, but today is about Parental Controls. I am going to try and detail out Parental Controls on as many devices as I can in the future, but today we will start with Apple iOS devices (ex: iPhone & iPad).
Last week I brought forward the staggering statistics of how many young children are now active daily on tablet devices. You can see some of the study results at Keep Kids Safe Online with Common Sense.
With young children having access to media, we as parents need to be diligent in Parental Controls. It’s our responsibility to keep out the things we don’t want absorbed into their little spongey minds.
iOS has great features and settings. There need be no worries when you hand over your iPhone about any errant phone calls being made, or what in-app purchases your toddler might rack up.
Below is step-by-step instructions on how to set up different types of Parental Controls on iOS devices. This is using current iOS software version 9.2.1.
Guided Access is for when you share a device with your child. Meaning, you hand over YOUR iPhone or iPad for them to play on for a bit. The device is not theirs.
Guided Access: You “lock” the device to where only one app is accessible. There is no way to access outside of that one app without entering a passcode.
Enter into your Settings app.
Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
(You will have to scroll to the bottom of Accessibility to find Guided Access)
Switch the Guided Access toggle to ON. You will now need to go to Passcode Settings and setup a passcode. You can also turn on Touch ID (if you have it already setup, for easier in & out of a Guided Access session).
If you want to set time limits, go into Time Limits. Choose a sound that will play to indicate that time is up. You can also turn on the Speak toggle, it will give a spoken countdown (a 30 second notification) before time runs out. This helps with the “I WAS JUST ABOUT TO DEFEAT THE LEVEL!” whining from an unprompted time runout.
I also choose to turn the Accessibility Shortcut toggle ON. This brings up the options so you can customize, if need be, before you start a Guided Access session.
Now you are all setup.
To start a session, go into the app you want to hand over to your child. Once you have started the app click the Home button three times.
♥ You can now click on Options to make any changes for that particular session. If a toggle button is turned ON then it means your child can use that function. If it is OFF then that function is locked to them.
Just click the Home button again three times to end the session with your passcode.
Restrictions are for long term. These are settings that constantly run in the background of a device. I absolutely recommend that if your child has their own device you set up restrictions.
Restrictions: disabling in-app purchases, restricting online access in Safari, setting content ratings accessible to your child, etc.
Enter into your Settings app.
Settings > General > Restrictions
Restrictions will ask you to setup a passcode.
♥ Remember to keep all these passcodes easy to remember for yourself, or written down somewhere you can access.
Now using the toggles you can make decisions for what you want to allow for your child. For example, you can make Facetime, Siri, Installing & Deleting Apps, etc. inaccessible to your child. You can even turn OFF In-App Purchases, whaaaat?! There ya go, all fixed.
We have our boys set up as their own individual Child accounts under our Family account, so I leave their install and delete app toggles ON. They have to ‘Ask’ a parent for permission before they can download anything. We get an alert on our device asking us to Approve or Deny the purchase.
This is where you can set ratings for each category. You could go through each individually and make the best decision for your family.
On Siri, we choose to restrict her. She can use explicit language and do web searches. We turn both of those features OFF. A four year olds mumbled voice asking Siri an innocent question can sometimes turn up some dirty results on the web.
Websites, we also choose to restrict websites. Personally, I set the setting to Specific Websites Only. Apple gives a good wholesome suggestion list and you can add any favorites your family has as well.
This is where you can set privacy rights in each category. Again, You should go through each individually and make the best decision for your family.
You can select whether you want your child to be able to make changes in each of these categories. You can even set a permanent volume limit.
Game Center is attached to some apps you may install. It is an account within itself, and it gives some apps the ability to be multiplayer online or make outside online friends.
Whether the iPad or iPhone is yours or your child’s, I highly recommend setting an overall passcode for the device that only you know. This can curb extended playing time for hours on end, or sneaky hands getting a device and being able to access it without asking.
Passcode: This is the passcode that you enter when your iPhone or iPad has been in sleep mode.
Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode
I hear sometimes that parents will hand over a device, and get distracted, only to have time pass them by. Then, low and behold, their child has been tuned into the device for longer than they anticipated. This option is good if you don’t want to restrict your child to only one app on YOUR device using Guided Access. Or if on THEIR device you want to restrict how long they are in front of the screen.
Timer: Setting a timer on the overall device. When time is up the device locks down to the sleep screen. A passcode is now required to activate the device again.
Go into the Clock App.
Choose Timer on the bottom right.
Set a time limit.
In the area where it says When Timer Ends, Scroll all the way down through the sounds to the bottom. It says “Stop Playing”. Choose Stop Playing.
Hit Start, and go back to the Home Screen. Now your child can play where they choose on the device, but when time is up it will lock down the device requiring the Passcode.
♥ Note: Older children may come wise to your method and realize they can go into the Clock App and add more time, or turn off the timer all together. Fair warning. Still works for my youngest though 😉