Saturday, 1 July 2017

Family tech | An easy Apple hack to stop your kids straying online

How to use guided access app for kids and children
Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

8.13am: I'm writing this from my bed, cup of tea on the go, while a houseful of kids who've been up since 6am are in various rooms on various screens. A familiar picture up and down the land, I'm sure. But recently I learnt an amazing hack that has changed the way we use screens and given massive peace of mind. What to know what it is?

Guided Access. This amazing function was shared with me by another parent and I couldn't believe it wasn't better known. When you switch on GA (found in Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access for iPad and iPhone) you can choose to temporarily restrict access to a single app. So if, like me, you think your precious kid is watching something wholesome on the BBC or getting a bit of extra schoolwork in with Reading Eggs only to find they're watching unboxing videos on YouTube, Guided Access fixes this. They can only access the app they're in, the app that you've set.

Or, you can disable various parts of the screen, e.g. the in-app purchasing or buttons they accidentally but frustratingly press repeatedly, thus requiring your assistance every ten seconds.

Or, you can put a timer on the app which automatically cuts out when the countdown is complete. I find this one particularly useful as I often grant them half an hour on the iPad, only to forget what I said and when, or get distracted with my own tasks.

All of these functions can be set with a passcode and it's easy to switch GA on - just a triple-click of the home button once you've switched it on in Settings.

Honestly, this one is LIFE CHANGING, I tell you!


Did you know about Guided Access? Do you think it would help in your house? Perhaps you already have your own ways to manage kids and screen time. Or do you believe in a more self-guided approach? Let me know in the comments. We're all navigating this stuff together in the dark, right?


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