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Monitoring Phone Use
I’ve been contemplating how to monitor my son’s phone use, and researching apps that do just that. About a year ago we started using Circle to set time limits on the Xbox, and while Circle was able to restrict my eldest’s phone while he was on our WIFI, it did not work (without a subscription) when he was using cellular data.
With its most recent update, Apple has saved me from further contemplation with the creation of Screen Time, its new set of parental controls. Screen Time allows parents to set up various limits on cell phones including: Downtime, app limits and content restrictions.
What Controls Do I Set?
That’s really up to you. For my son, I am most concerned about learning how much he is actually using the phone and enforcing a bedtime (whenever he complains about being tired in the morning I have visions of him watching YouTube videos into the wee hours of the night). Additionally, I have concerns about him landing on an unexpected website and would like to filter out such content.
How I use Screen Time may change moving forward as it should give me a good picture of how he is using his phone, but for now that is what I have set.
Regardless of what settings you choose, they are all accessed in iOS 12 the same way.
How do I turn Screen Time on?
Assuming both you and your son have iOS 12 installed, you can access Screen Time either through your child’s device directly, or through your own device using family sharing. I turned Screen Time on using family sharing access on my iPhone.
Access Screen Time
- Go to Settings
- Click on Screen Time
Turning on Screen Time
- From the Screen Time page, scroll down to the family section.
- Click on the name of the child you would like to set up Screen Time for.
From Here, Apple will introduce you to Screen Time and walk you through the setup.
Screen Time Options
Allows you to schedule time when your child cannot be on his phone-think dinner or bed. If your child attempts to use his phone during downtime, he will need to ask permission. Later in the setup you will be allowed to determine which functions are allowed (or not) during downtime.
Set time limits for specific apps. Once you child uses up that time, he will have to ask permission for additional time.
Content and Privacy
Restrict inappropriate content in iTunes, App Stores, Music and websites. You can also set up the need to ask permission to make changes to privacy settings.
Screen Time has parents set up a four-digit code used to access these settings. You cannot change Screen Time settings without knowing it.
Chose functions that your child can always use regardless of Screen Time settings. Available options are Phone, Messages, FaceTime and Maps.
Once you have completed the setup, you can see and change settings from your child’s Screen Time page.
Now that Screen Time is turned on, the Screen Time page will display the total time your son has used his phone and a breakdown of how that time is spent.
Did you set up Parental Controls in iOS 12? What features are you using? Tell us about your choices/experience in the comments section.