If your teen or tween has a cellphone, you likely keep a close eye on what they’re doing. These days, we definitely cannot be too careful when it comes to their safety. There is no such thing as “overdoing” it with our vigilance. When my girls were young, there were no smartphones. We all had flip-phones and life was SO much simpler, if you get my drift. I did not have to worry about which social networks they were on, how long they stared at their screen at night or what types of people they may be talking to. They were able to call and text – and that was that.
With the advent of smartphones came excitement. We all – including kids – could access everything the Internet has to offer. The problem is… much of the Internet is just not appropriate for kids. Thankfully, both Android and iPhones come with built-in parental controls that you can utilize to help keep your child safer.
It is worth noting, as well, that if you download the parental apps from your wireless provider, you can have even more control. My oldest granddaughter has an iPhone like her parents. My daughter uses the controls on the iPhone, as well as the ones Verizon provides. The Verizon parental app allows her to block content and contacts and even set time limits from her own phone, without having to go into my granddaughter’s phone and settings. I definitely recommend using the built-in parental controls on the phone AND downloading any parental apps from your carrier.
How to Use iPhone Parental Controls
Open up the ”Settings” on the child’s phone and tap the ”Screen Time” option and tap to turn on Screen Time.
The next screen will ask if this phone belongs to you or your child. You are going to want to choose the ”This is My Child’s Phone” option.
The next screen happens to be my daughter’s favorite: the dreaded ”Downtime”. On this tab, you will decide if and when to shut the phone’s capabilities off completely at night and when to turn it back on. For instance, my granddaughter is only 12. Her phone is set to shut down at 9:00pm and not turn back on until 6:00am. During the school year, the phone is also disabled completely from 8:00am until 3:00pm on school days.
The next screen is pretty cool, as well. This one is called ”App Limits”. You can choose to set a time limit allowed each day for every type of app on your child’s phone. For instance, you can allow one hour of game apps (cumulative for all games) per day, three hours for educational apps and so on.
Now you will need to enter a passcode that your child does not know and will not guess. This makes sure that they can not get around the controls you have set. Choose your 4-digit code wisely and then re-enter it to confirm.
The “Content and Privacy Restrictions” tab is definitely awesome. As you can see from the screenshot below, you can decide whether or not to EVER allow certain things to work on the phone. For instance, you may not want them to ever have location enabled. Great! Toggle this on here and they cannot add their location to anything within apps. Further down the screen, you can decide to allow (or not) the child to make changes to their account or even their own passcode.
Last – but not least, by far – is the screen where you can decide if certain things on the phone are ”Always Allowed”. You may want the teen to be able to access their calendar, alarms or other apps at times their phone is shut off. My granddaughter’s device has the ”Phone” feature turned on at all times in case of an emergency, so that she can call Mom or Dad… or even Nana!
All in all, the built-in parental controls on an iPhone are fairly good. As I mentioned, you can gain even more control by using the app from your service provider. My daughter uses the Verizon app to manage her daughter’s phone from her own, without having to wrestle the 12-year-old’s iPhone out of her hands. She can even track exactly where she is at all times… as long as the phone is on her person or in her close proximity. Let’s face it: at the age of 12, that thing is always on her person!
Do you have any questions about parental controls on the iPhone? How else can I help you?