Keeping an eye on all of your child’s online activity is close to impossible these days, especially with the recent surge of 3G/4G capable mobile devices. Smart phones have landed in the hands of almost every tween and teen, and as a result, it has left parents with even more concerns about the instant connectivity that it allows our children…..despite the fact that many of us all rushed out and bought them. And though we can install parental controls and security software on our home computers, the struggle that most parents face is the fact that our children have the entire Internet in their pockets, and with a touch of their finger they can access everything that those parental controls and security software’s were meant to keep out.
With that said, in this article I want to show parents how they can set the parental controls on their child’s iPhone. I’ve received a lot of requests from parents on this exact issue, so here it is. I tested it all out myself, and it’s safe to say that it does what it’s supposed to do. By following this guide, you’ll be able to lock out certain iPhone features altogether, including Safari.
First things first – Go into the phones Settings.
Once in Settings, go to the tab called “General”
Next, scroll down and look for the tab called “Restrictions”. Currently, it should say “Off”.
Once you’ve tapped on that, at the top, click on “Enable Restrictions”. This will trigger a prompt for a password. Don’t forget this password, there’s no way to retrieve it.
Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to:
- Remove/restore certain apps from the device.
- Set restrictions for the App Store.
- Set content restictions for videos and music.
Re-enabling these functions is as simple as following the same steps, re-entering your password, and turning the functions back on. Again, this password is for YOU to know, not your kids!
One of the most important things you can do here is switch Location to “off”. This is the geotagging functionality that allows other people to see the exact physical location of your child. To learn more about the safety and privacy risks tied to geotagging, click here.
Safari, YouTube and App Store
UPDATE: If you have iOS7 installed on your child’s iPod Touch (and I recommend that you do), you’ll notice that Apple has integrated some very effective and easy-to-use parental controls in Safari. You can see a detailed breakdown of how to set this up, here.
If you want a safe web browser for your child’s iPhone, disable Safari and download one of these browsers. I definitely have my favorite, but here are a few to choose from:
It’s also worth noting that the YouTube app cannot be filtered with YouTube Safety Mode, so like I did with my son’s iPod Touch, you might find it necessary to completely disable YouTube app. You can still enable Safety Mode by opening your newly-installed web browser and going to the full web version of YouTube. Simply open the mobile browser and go to youtube.com. You’ll automatically be presented with the mobile version of the site, so just scroll all the way down to the bottom and select the link called “Desktop”. This will change the page to the web version of the site. From here just follow these directions to set up and lock YouTube safety mode. This will prevent your child from coming across any risky videos.
And finally, I turned off the ability for my son to install apps without my permission. Turning this off removes the App Store button from the device entirely. In my opinion, the App Store is still a little too much of a free market, and because of this, there are far too many inappropriate apps available to children.
From there you’ll want to set the content restrictions for movies, TV shows and music.
Note that setting the Explicit setting to OFF makes it so any explicit songs that your child may already have on their iPod become unavailable. It also disables all explicit purchases in the iTunes Store.
There’s also the option to set the age restrictions for downloading apps from the App Store, but I found this to be somewhat useless as it still allows your child to see the adult apps and read the description. They are only prevented from downloading it to their iPod.