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How to Setup Screen Time for Your Kids

Kids these days are growing up as digital natives, and that presents parents with a new world to lean into. We don’t understand it and it feels new and foreign to us all. Using the line “I used to be your age, I know what you are going through” is no longer a truth we can parent by. Below we will teach you How to Setup Screen Time for Your Kids.

Times are changing and so should we! We must strike the balance of making sure our kids feel understood as they navigate their relationships now through these devices and we must put a healthy limit on screen time and what they can and can’t see.

Exclusive Bonus: Download our Family Cellphone Agreement to start the conversation between you and your kids.

Thankfully, Apple introduced Screen Time to iOS and it’s a great parental tool!

Here’s how to set up Screen Time for your kids so you can be sure they are being responsible and healthy.

How to Setup Screen Time for Your Kids

Regeneration recommends setting up Family Sharing on your iPhone first. The below walkthrough assumes that Family Sharing is already set up.

After you’ve added your child’s account to Family Sharing, you can control their Screen Time settings on your iPhone by doing the following.

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap on your Screen Time.
  3. Scroll down to your kids name.
  4. Tap on your Child’s Name.

The settings below are PER DEVICE and should be setup as such.

How to Setup Screen Time for Your Kids How to Setup Screen Time for Your Kids

Downtime

Downtime is a great tool to limit the overall availability of usage on your child’s device. You can set a schedule for time away from the screen, either daily or you can customize this for each day of the week or just the weekends. Once you get the hang of the From and To sections this is a great tool to help grow a healthy habit in your child’s device usage.

  1. Enter your Passcode.
  2. Tap Downtime.
  3. To turn it on, Tap Downtime.
  4. Select either Every Day or Customize Days.
  5. Decide upon the From and To hours. These are the hours the device is able to be used!
  6. Decide on whether or not you will Block at Downtime. This will turn off the apps that are not approved.

This is a more broad sweep in allowing app usage during certain hours of the day. For instance, not during school.

In the example above the device is locked down all day for certain apps.

App Limits

App Limits allow you to limit the apps to your child’s phone even further than Downtime. Downtime turns all apps off that are not on the Always Allowed list (see below) but App Limits can set daily limits for app categories (caveat) that locks those apps down till the next day.

  1. Enter your Passcode.
  2. Tap App Limits.
  3. To turn it on, Tap Add Limit.
  4. Select a category you wish to limit usage on your child’s device.
  5. Tap Next.
  6. Set the Time  limit for which you want to allow usage of this app.
  7. Tap Block at End of Limit.
  8. Tap Add.

This menu allows for a broad stroke at the category level, if you want more control over specific apps – check out the ***MUST KNOW TRICK***  under the Reporting section below!

Always Allowed

Always Allowed is a list of apps that are available at all times, no matter if you have setup App Limits or Downtime. Apps such as the weather app, music, or even the Bible app come to mind of apps my kids have open at all times.

This list should be set up as you see fit for your child.

  1. Enter your Passcode.
  2. Tap Always Allowed.
  3. Scroll to the bottom to see the list of installed apps on your child’s phone.
  4. Tap the +button next to the app(s) you want to allow your child to use at all times.
  5. Tap Your child’s name in the upper left to return to the main Screen Time screen.

Always Allowed is a great way to choose apps you do and do not want visible at all times.

Content and Privacy Restrictions

Content and Privacy Restrictions adds to the broad sweep but at the system level unlike the app level, we have been speaking of thus far. These settings impact things like “In-app purchases”, the installation of apps, the deletion of apps, allowing downloads and usage over cellular signals, and much more.

This list should be set up as you see fit for your child.

  1. Enter your Passcode.
  2. Tap Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Toggle them On.
iTunes & App Store Purchases

You have 4 total options on this screen. Installing Apps, Deleting Apps, In-app Purchases and then Require Password. We as a family always talk about apps before we install them so these are off on our children’s iPhones.

  1. Tap Installing Apps.
  2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
  1. Tap Deleting Apps.
  2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
  1. Tap In-app Purchases.
  2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
  3. Find Require Password.
  4. Tap Always Require  or Don’t Require.
Allowed Apps

The Allowed Apps section under Content and Privacy Restrictions pertains to system-level apps, not the same ones we spoke about above under the Always Allowed section. These apps are apps such as Safari, FaceTime, Camera etc.

  1. Tap Allowed Apps.
  2. Select the apps you want your child to have access to.
Content Restrictions

The settings in the Content Restrictions menu allow you to further manage your child’s device. From allowing explicit language on podcasts and music to being able to see rated R movies via iTunes. We would recommend you take a look at these settings carefully.

We will go through each menu below with broad strokes and screenshots to walk you through each one.

Allowed Store Content

    1. Tap Content Restrictions.
    2. Select the country you want to apply to these ratings. The USA is defaulted in.
    1. Tap Music, Podcasts & News.
    2. Select Clean or Explicit.
    1. Tap Music Profiles.
    2. Select Off or On.
    1. Tap Movies.
    2. Select Don’t Allow Movies, G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, Allow All Movies.
    1. Tap TV Shows.
    2. Select Don’t Allow TV Shows, TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-Y7-FV, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA, Allow All Movies.
    1. Tap Books.
    2. Select Clean or Explicit.
    1. Tap Apps.
    2. Select Don’t Allow Apps, 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+, Allow All Apps.

Web Content

    1. Tap Web Content.
    2. Select Unrestricted Access, Limit Adult Websites, Allowed Websites Only.
    1. Always Allow – add sites always allowed.
    2. Never Allow – add sites never allowed to be viewed.

Siri

    1. Tap Web Search Content
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow
    1. Tap Explicit Language
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow

Game Center

    1. Tap Multiplayer Games.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Adding Friends.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Screen Recording.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.

Privacy

    1. Tap Share My Location.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.

Allow Changes

    1. Tap Passcode Changes.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Account Changes.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Cellular Data Changes.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Do Not Disturb While Driving.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap TV Provider.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.
    1. Tap Background Activities.
    2. Select Allow or Don’t Allow.

You have made it! You now have the full power of Apple’s Screen Time at your hands. This powerful tool will aid in allowing the growth and health of device usage for your children.

Now the fun part begins!

Now that it’s set up, let’s begin using it to its fullest. Hang in there we have two more things to share with you.

Reporting

The reporting of Screen Time allows you to see either at a daily glance or even the Last 7 Days of usage. Most used apps, how many times a day they picked up their phone, Notifications and much more can be seen with just a few taps.

  1. Tap Usage Bar.
  2. Select Today or  Last 7 Days.

You can tap almost everything on this screen to see exactly what and when things were happening on your child’s device.

***MUST KNOW TRICK***

You may have been asking if there was a way to limit a specific app, rather than the entire category that the app is part of, and the answer is yes!

You can limit specific apps with Screen Time by following the below steps.

  1. Tap Usage Bar.
  2. Select Today or  Last 7 Days.
  3. Tap the App under the Most Used Area you want to limit.
  4. Tap Add Limit.
  5. Select Time.
  6. Tap Block at End of Limit.
  7. Tap Add.

Requests

Your children can ask you for more time! Say what now?

As part of Screen Time, it will show a screen that you have run out of time or are locked down and your child can request more access/or time to the app they want to use. For instance, if Avery wants to spend time on Spotify BUT her time is up for the day, she can request more time (which comes to my iPhone) on that app.

Once approved it will open right up for her to use more of.

Either a notification (if you have them on) or manual checking of the Screen Time app alerts you to the requests.

We hope you have enjoyed this exhaustive walkthrough of Apple’s Screen Time functionality.

Questions?

If we have missed anything above (which is possible) please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you out and update the above resource.

Thanks for being a great parent who wants their kids to know they are loved.

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