My eldest son has been begging me for a smartphone for months, and although I’m not ready, he does have an iPod and the use of an iPad and laptop. We’re big Apple users in our family and I’ve literally been pulling my hair out trying to get my head around parental controls.
Some of you may have seen me ranting on my Instagram Stories about internet safety for kids. It all started with Alexa giving us access all areas to content which is pretty terrifying! My husband handed me the responsibility of parental controls, and I have to admit, it did not go well.
After much surfing the web, I honestly thought I’d mastered the art of parental controls on the devices that my children have access to. What I didn’t realise is that it would restrict me and my husband from watching anything over a PG rating. You can imagine how thrilled this made my husband, and the worst thing was that it was so complicated to set up, I had no idea how to reverse things.
Red Maple Technologies are known for being the best in the business when it comes to internet safety so I gave them a call. After a day sitting around my kitchen table we finally had the answers to at least one area of internet safety for children. Because my family are mostly Apple users, Red Maple Technology has written us a very simple four-step guide to Apple Family Sharing, which I really hope you find useful.
For me, the key is managing content restrictions which means I can drill down and manage my children’s screen time in a thoughtful way. My kids love story tapes but I don’t love them acting as resident DJ after 8 o’clock at night, so with content restrictions, I’m able to shut down Apple music at 8 pm for the day without interfering with audiobooks.
My advice to any struggling parent out there is to set aside an hour of your time to implement Apple Family Sharing. I’m pleased to confirm from first-hand experience, that with this guide it’s much easier than I expected it to be.
Why do I need Apple Family Sharing?
- Protect your family when online
- No need to share your Apple account
- Prevent access to adult content
- Only allow access to specific websites
- Share backup storage
- Share control with your partner
- Manage the family from your device
- Manage a child’s device time
- Share apple services, save money
How-To Steps to set up Apple Family Sharing* (focusing on content restrictions):
- Enable Family Sharing
- Create or add family accounts
- Manage content restrictions (Screen Time)
- Add additional services
1: Enable Family Sharing
- Apple Family sharing can be accessed from your own Apple device, under Settings then select your name at the top.
- Select “Setup Up Family Sharing”, start with Screen Time, https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201088
- If you need to create child or family accounts, see Step 2.
- To use Family Sharing devices need to be running iOS 8 or newer or OSX Yosemite or newer, which is most modern Apple devices. Screen Time (content restrictions) requires iOS 12 or newer.
2: Create or add family accounts
- You will need to add family accounts to use Family Sharing services.
- Check your child’s Apple devices have their own Apple ID, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205763
- If a child doesn’t have an account, create one for them from Family Sharing on your device
- Another adult family member can share the management of Family Sharing.
- Recommendation: Don’t reuse your Apple ID on your child’s device, this will limit the control you have. If you’re using your old devices, sign out of your Apple ID on that device.
3: Manage content restrictions
- You can use Family Sharing on your device to remotely manage your children’s Screen Time.
- Screen Time is used to manage application time limits and content restrictions. Only a child’s account Screen Time can be managed, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208982
- Content and Privacy Restrictions can be used to limit adult content or only allow specific websites, https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201304
- If your child has multiple devices, Screen Time settings can be shared across devices.
- Does your child fall asleep with audio? You can set Always Allowed for specific apps.
- Recommendation: Use a Screen Time Passcode to restrict changes to your child’s restrictions, and don’t use a code they can guess.
4: Add additional services
- Family Sharing has multiple additional services, including; location tracking, music sharing, storage and purchases.
- Location Sharing can be enabled for specific devices and Apple IDs.
- iCloud Storage can be shared to save on subscription costs and ensure all you families devices are backed up. Backups allow quick recovery if a device is lost.
- You can share an Apple Music subscription, with each family member with each family member has their own personal music selection.
*Full details of setup available from Apple at https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201088
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