Apple Families can help parents regulate their child’s screen time

New Delhi: Keeping a constant eye on children while they are using a smartphone or tablet can be annoying. Instead of fretting and nagging the child, parents can remotely control the screen time or what the child can or cannot access using various parental control tools which are already in place. Finding all these tools can be tricky, though.

To ensure parents don’t miss out on any of the features, Apple has added a new section called Families on its website on 15 March. It puts all the parental control options available to iOS users at one place, along with tips on activating them.

To restrict children from downloading apps that are not appropriate for their age, Families draws attention to the kids section and Ask To Buy on the App Store. Kids section restricts children under 11 from seeing anything other than the apps or games which are appropriate for their age group, while Ask To Buy requires a parent’s consent every time a child wants to download a new app. One can access it in Settings->Family Sharing->ask to buy. Users can learn more on it in the Families page.

More app developers are adopting the freemium model which compels users to pay real cash at regular intervals. The App Store has a section which restricts all in-app purchases inside apps and games. Parents can enable it in Settings->Restrictions->In-App purchases.

The Families page also talks about browser specific tools which restricts access to all websites except those approved by the parent or which carries explicit content. Users can specify the name of the websites they approve of or blocks access to adult websites in Settings->Websites.

Parents can also restrict apps from accessing information which pose a privacy risk to children in Settings->Restrictions->Privacy. Here users can block apps from sharing location, accessing photos, microphone or camera. Similarly, parents can set a maximum volume level on a device which will restrict children from increasing the volume beyond the level chosen by the parent. A lot of games have elements of social media allowing users to chat with other gamers or team up in multiplayer games. Parents can restrict these features in Settings->Restrictions->Game Centre.

The Families page also provides information on how to switch on the blue light filter to reduce stress on the eyes and activate the do not disturb mode so children won’t get notifications when they are sleeping or doing their homework.

Google has been equally vigilant when it comes to regulating a child’s screen time with parental tools for most content-based Google apps. Restricted access in YouTube and safe browsing in Google app can block all websites and videos which are explicit in nature. Play Store prevents children from downloading apps or games with mature content. Family Link app provides parents with admin level controls over their child’s Android smartphone. If a child wants to download an app from the Play Store, the app will notify the parent and will only allow the download after their approval. Parents can also lock the smartphone if it’s distracting children from focusing on their studylivemint