My eleven-year-old daughter just received a new iPhone for her birthday. This was unchartered territory for our family, and I was a little uneasy about how to set it up and make sure we had settings and parameters in place to keep her safe.
I found out through friends and a little bit of trial and error, but I wanted to share the settings we personally use that have given us peace of mind.
1. Family sharing. First of all, add your child as a family member. You can go to Settings>Apple ID>Family Sharing.
2. Purchase sharing. Scroll down a bit and you will see several radio buttons. Find Purchase Sharing and turn this off. We do not want our daughter making any purchases on her phone.
3. iCloud Storage. Directly below Purchase Sharing is iCloud Storage. We do have this and I did turn this on. I always think it’s wise to back up data.
4. Location Sharing. We allowed this. We shared locations with each other. I want to know her location at all times and I am fine with her knowing mine.
5. Screen Time. There is so much to be found in this setting. Turn it on, then click on it to reveal the options pictures below. I also love the visual of the graph that lets us easily monitor the time she is spending online.
6. Downtime. This allows you to choose what time your child can get on their device in the morning, and what time they need to be off in the evening. We are on summer break, so hers will most definitely change once school starts.
7. App Limits. This is what I really wanted to know when I was setting up her phone! How to limit the number of hours she can be on her phone. You’ll find it here.
8. Allowed Communication During Screen Time. I chose contacts only. Then further down you can choose exactly the contacts you wish to allowed. Our daughter has 8.
9. Allowed Communication During Downtime. This is for when she’s used up all her screen time. We only allow my husband and I as contacts. We need to be able to reach her at all times, but don’t want anyone else to.
10. Content & Privacy Restrictions. This is an important section! Be sure to click on each option to select the content, movie ratings, to block explicit lyrics and more.
In addition to these iPhone settings, you may consider the Bark App, Life 360 or Disney Circle.
I want to end by saying our child is a great kid. We really do trust her! We love her to pieces and want to do our best to keep her safe online and protect her innocence, while still letting her have a phone like the rest of her peers.
If you are reading this and have any other suggestions, apps, or settings that we should be using or putting in place, I’d love for you to share. We are all better together!