Screen technology provides amazing entertainment, convenience, and communication as well as a wide range of problems, particularly for kids and teens. Parents and professionals complain they can’t find the perfect tech toolbox to help. There are a lot of costly third-party solutions out there, but where do parents start? None seem to cover all the bases! Apple may have helped us by launching the Screen Time setting in the new iOS 12 update. Promising more speed, the ability to FaceTime up to 32 people at once, new personal animojis, stickers, and filters, augmented realities, easily sharable photos, searching, and shortcuts, Apple is committing to more “power” overall. Features that promise to help us control our use include auto turn-off Do Not Disturb, Instant Tuning to selectively turn off notifications, advanced shortcut and privacy features, and Screen Time tracking. Find out what you need to know in today’s GKIS article.
Tracking Your Usage
This update offers Screen Time, which will allow you to see which apps you use most often and how much time you spend on each activity with an easy-to-read bar graph and data count. Screen Time also allows parents to see which of your kids is the Twitter addict and which is up past their bedtime watching YouTube videos. You can monitor multiple devices linked to your iCloud account.
The Screen Time feature also tracks how many notifications you receive and from which apps they are coming from. Screen Time even tells you how many times you picked up your phone, a number that may surprise you.
There are several limits that you will find with this update. If you see that social media is taking up a majority of your child’s day, you can set a timer on that category and for the entire day they will only have a set time to use their phones for that specific purpose. If your concern is about a certain app, like Snapchat, then you can just set a limit on that app alone.
Another useful tool is the Content and Privacy Restrictions, which allows you to monitor your child’s internet usage and their app store purchases. This is a simple way to ensure that your child is not viewing graphic or inappropriate internet content.
The last major setting that can be utilized by this new update is called Downtime. Downtime allows for you to schedule time for yourself or your family to disconnect from the distractions of your apps. This may sound a lot like Airplane mode, however the difference with Downtime is the ability to allow certain apps to continue to be used. Calls and texts come in automatically with Downtime, but if you can’t be without your emails you can allow that to remain active during this scheduled break.
With the new Screen Time feature, your kids may feel like their privacy is being infringed upon, and you aren’t giving them enough space. However, we at GKIS feel that filtering inappropriate content and monitoring screen use is an important aspect of parenting, especially for younger kids and teens.
Rather than avoid the discussion and lock their screen use down, negotiate what seems reasonable for your family. Have spirited conversations. Share important facts about risk and benefits that you learned from GKIS articles. Team work builds stronger relationships.
There is no more influential tool for screen safety than a healthy parent-child relationship. Trust is earned on both sides. As stated in Dr. Bennett’s book, Screen Time in the Mean Time, your attachment to your child is a relationship built upon communication, negotiation, and fun. It’s important to ensure that your children’s privacy is something that is as important to you as it is to them, and that seeing where their time on their phones is spent is a way to look after their digital health and social well-being.
- You can see which apps are the most used and for how long
- You can set limits to specific apps and categories of apps
- You can set content restrictions for internet and iTunes usage
- You can set a bedtime for yourself and your children
Thanks to GKIS intern Adam Ramos for keeping us up on the latest! We at GKIS are big fans of Apple’s new Screen Time innovation. It is worth carving the time out of your chaotic parenting schedule to check this one out. It’s easy to use, free, and a giant step toward personal screen time accountability. Need support how to start these important family conversations, set your home up for safe screen use with handy tech tools, and get your family behind sensible rules? Check out the GKIS Home Starter Kit. In 10 easy steps and in as little as two hours, you can make several giant steps toward a closer relationship and better screen safety in your home.
I’m the mom psychologist who will help you GetKidsInternetSafe.
Onward to More Awesome Parenting,
Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty