Apple Introduces a New Parental Control App for iPhones and iPads With ios 12 Called Screen Time
Apple’s iPhones and iPads feature new parent controls through iOS 12, released September 17th, with an app called Screen Time. The new app will give parents more information, on their kids’ device usage, as well as give parents more options to control where and when they spend their time online.
Some of the settings of Screen Time will be familiar if you’ve used Apple’s Family Sharing and Restrictions. But iOS 12 adds new valuable features that will help parents take a closer look at the details of their kids’ media use and offer more options on setting appropriate boundaries, all of which will be extremely beneficial in teaching responsible online behavior.
The Screen Time App features the following parental controls:
Using Screen Time can allow parents to see how much time and when they are on their iPhones or iPads.
Using Screen Time, parents can see how much time kids spend on their phones and tablets, the times of day they are most active, and how much time they spend on each of their apps.
Both kids and parents can track their device usage with daily and weekly reports that give important insights into how much time their kids are spending online and specifically which areas they might be spending too much of their time and when. (ie: 2 hours on Instagram from 4-6pm, 4 hours on Fortnite from 8-10pm)
This is an excellent tool for parents to use in discussing time management and helping our kids stay accountable for their online activity. Monitoring kids’ device use by viewing these details will help kids get a better understanding of exactly how much time they spend in these apps and how they can be more responsible in setting appropriate limits for each one.
*Using Screen Time, parents can set time limits on any apps or areas of use to help control online activity. They can also schedule down time where the device will shut down after a certain amount of time or for a specific amount of time during the day.
Setting particular apps to shut down after a specific amount of time will help kids learn more appropriate time frames for their online activity. This will also assist them with setting healthy boundaries when they aren’t able to successfully do this for themselves. Scheduling down time at various points of the day when their devices will shut off can give kids a much-needed media ‘time-out’. This offers parents an excellent opportunity to help kids learn to set important screen time limits and put down their devices and engage in real life.
Using Screen Time, parents can continue to filter inappropriate content.
Parents can still control specific web content usage through the Restrictions section, where they can also turn off app purchases, location services, etc. while restricting any other specific media use. It is imperative that parents continue to monitor these restrictions to prevent our tweens and teens from having access to both dangerous and damaging web content. Many kids are unable to control their impulsive actions and don’t yet understand the negative consequences they may face in exploring new unfiltered areas of the web.
Streamlining all this information in a visual form will benefit parents greatly as they try to teach their kids how to manage their devices.
Having the visual insights into the time kids spend on their devices and where they are devoting much of their time will be an excellent tool to use in discussing their personal experience in each of those particular apps/areas and the impact it has on their wellbeing. With the ongoing challenges parents face in helping their kids set healthy boundaries on their devices, this app will offer valuable feedback that can be used to set appropriate parameters on their online behavior.
Most tweens and teens are not mature enough to manage their own media time.
Tweens and teens need guidance in navigating all the online options available to them and they often aren’t mature enough to structure their media use successfully. Parents can have important conversations with their kids about the benefits of setting boundaries online in areas their kids can’t keep under control, while agreeing on specific time frames to shut apps down. Regular reinforcement on these limits will help kids practice appropriate time management; a skill they need to develop in this day and age.
Screen Time will be a productive teaching app parents can use to help their kids better understand how to not only manage their media time, but also develop a better understanding of why they engage in online activity and how it makes them feel. Having conversations around why kids enjoy certain apps and talking about their involvement in games, social media, and any other web content will give parents an opportunity to teach their kids about healthy and safe ways to enjoy the online world.