How to set up iPhone parental controls

Just how safe is it for your child to use an iPhone? We’ll consider the challenges and how you can set up parental controls on your (or their) smartphone.

Why should a parent look at child safety on iPhones?

It can be a bit of a conflict at times; the pull of the iPhone versus the natural desire to get children running around or reading a book instead. On the one hand, a sensible approach can help you have a healthy and positive relationship with your kids and their iPhone usage; so you can set boundaries and give them rules they understand.

On the other, there are tools and parental control apps for iPhones that help to limit their screen time, giving you more control as a parent. Let’s take you through some of the features you can use to restrict certain apps and screen time on the iPhone…


How to put restrictions on an iPhone

Using the Apple operating system, or iOS, you can tweak some settings for parental control on an iPhone. Whether your child has their own phone or they are using yours, you can use Screen Time to manage the content privacy restrictions and limit in-app purchases. Here’s how to do it in a few steps:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
  2. Hit Continue and then select My [Device name] or This is My Child’s [Device name].
  3. If it is a shared device and you would like to make sure settings are not altered, tap Use Screen Time Passcode. Then re-enter the passcode to confirm. If it’s your child’s iPhone, you can follow the prompts until you get to Parent Passcode; from there you can enter a passcode and then re-enter to confirm it.

Creating a Screen Time password will allow you to access a whole host of further settings to help protect your kids. Dive in for more detailed restrictions on their access.

Further parental controls on iPhone apps

Now that we’ve covered how to put restrictions on an iPhone, let’s look at other parental controls you can put in place.

Parental settings and dealing with adult content on iPhones

When your children are using their various devices, one delicate area of concern is always adult content. It’s not something you want your kids to see at various ages, so as parents you do what you can and try and put some limits on their technology – and iPhones are no exception.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if some mature or adult material does get to your child, hopefully you’ll have an open and supportive relationship so they could talk to you about any issues – this is ideal and not always the case of course.

Set up an approved and blocked web list

All iOS devices allow you to automatically filter out certain website content in the Safari browser and apps on the phone. You can also add specific websites to both an approved or blocked list. To safeguard your kids or other family members from viewing or accessing harmful content, this is what you do:

  1. Go to Settings and Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content and Privacy Restrictions and enter your Screen Time passcode.
  3. Then hit Content Restrictions, followed by Web Content.
  4. You can then choose Unrestricted Access, Limit Adult Websites or Allowed Websites Only.

Set up parental controls on social media apps

We’ve covered how to put the right parental controls in motion on your child’s iPhone. But as they get older, the need to join different social media platforms will increase. Or, maybe they’re already asking to join Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or another app. If you choose to let them create an account you should consider adding a few parental controls to them too, that way you’ll keep your child safe from any predators or inappropriate content.

Read our guides on parental controls.

Disable social media apps

If you don’t want your child using social media, it’s fairly easy to disable the apps on your iPhone or your child’s device. Simply do the following:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content and Privacy Restrictions. Enter the passcode if prompted and then toggle the switch next to Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Tap Allowed apps.
  4. Tap the switch next to the social media apps you want to block your child’s access to.

Internet Matters

For more information on setting controls across a range of devices, apps and platforms visit Internet Matters

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