How to set up parental controls on your kids’ iPhones

Here’s some good news for those of you parents with children on iPhones. The latest software update from Apple has made it easier than ever to stay involved with your kids and their devices. There are now in-built functions that let you see how long they’re spending on their phones, on what, and even set up limits for their cell phone use.

Let’s walk through how to set this up, and some of the functions, step by step.

Setting up Screen Time

First up, how to set your family up in a function called “Screen Time’. Pick up your phone and head to Settings. Click on Screen Time. Here you’ll see a colourful graph which reveals how much time you’ve spent on your device in the last day and on what apps. Always a little confronting, if we’re honest, but just scroll past that for now!

Click on ‘Set up Screen Time for Family’ and then Add Child. Plug in your child’s Apple ID information, or set them up with an account, one for each child you think will be on a device. You’ll soon see them pop up under ‘Family’. Click on their name and select ‘All Devices’. From there, you’ll even be able to see how many times little Johnny is picking up his phone each day.

Four ways to set up boundaries

Next up? Here are four ways to set up boundaries on your kids’ devices.

1. Downtime
The first is Downtime. Here you can introduce hours in the day (or night) where your kids’ phone essentially ‘shuts down’ and only specific apps are available for use. You can keep the essentials like texting and phone calls – and Words for Friends because you’re beating them this round. From there, you can set the same Downtime hours to repeat every day or customise it so it starts a little later on the weekends.

2. App Limits
Next on the list is App Limits. Here you can put a cap on the amount of time your child spends on either specific apps or categories of apps each day – for example, Instagram or all Social Networking apps. They’ll get a little pop-up when they’re time is running out and the option to ask you for more time. It’s then up to you to say yas or no.

3. Always Allowed
Always Allowed is the list of apps you set up your kids can always access. Messages, Maps, Camera and so on. These are the apps they can use when Downtime is on.

4. Content and Privacy Restrictions
Last but not least – Content and Privacy Restrictions. This is the big one for blocking inappropriate content like porn. Click on Content Restrictions, Web Content and then Limit Adult Websites or if they’re a little younger, set up a specific list of websites they’re allowed to access.

The Safe Surfer app

Our friends Safe Surfer have come out with an app of their own which gives you even more options for the restrictions you can put on content. It works on any mobile device, not just Apple products.

These settings are great on their own but they work best when added to the conversations you have with your kids about screen time and staying safe online.

And just like that, your kids are now set up to use their devices safely and with your input. Here’s the thing – these settings are great on their own but they work best when added to the conversations you have with your kids about screen time and staying safe online. Family contracts are a great way to start those conversations and we’ve got some ready for you already.

This article is part of a paid partnership between Parenting Place and Safe Surfer.