Making Our Everyday Better with Technology

It’s On!

The labyrinthine process of figuring out Apple's Parental Controls

 The Labyrinth Of Apple’s Parental Controls 

Dear Friends,

Really, truly, I can’t take it anymore. I went to another parent’s tech night at my daughters’ school and listened to a most impassioned speaker, Polly Ely of the Lab Method, expound on the impact devices are having on families. As a marriage and family therapist, she had many poignant and heartbreaking examples to share: kids stumbling upon pornography, parents feeling anxious, and the incessant pull of these devices on the parent-child bond. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard these themes–Delaney Rushton, the pediatrician and moviemaker behind Screenagers, has also underscored the severity of these issues, and many of us have our own personal experiences.

I too have a deep concern for parents raising kids in this Digital Age, and while I see our major role as helping our children to develop healthy habits, we are now parenting technology, and it should be so much easier. Over the last 18 months, I have studied Apple’s parental controls and this past Monday, sent Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, a letter documenting my findings, with a sincere offer to share my insights with his engineering team. While Apple might like to think its parental controls are intuitive, I can tell you it would take 393 steps to set up the five iOS devices I manage.

It’s hard to understand why Silicon Valley isn’t listening to us…what will it take to get through? Do they not realize the true nature of our power? As the Chief Financial Officers of our households, we make 85% of all purchasing decisions. Single-handedly, I have purchased over 20 Apple devices within the last 13 years and can only imagine how this extrapolates across our demographic. It is time to make our voice heard and hope you will join us and two of Apple’s major shareholders in calling for the Change We Want To See. It’s ON!

With best wishes,

Julie Paul
Founder and CEO

For the CHR in You…
Should our kids be spending more or less time on screens? 

Do you ever feel like you have an angel and a devil sitting on your shoulders when it comes to managing technology for your kids? When you’re playing the role of Chief HR Officer, you’re ultimately looking out for the well-being of your children, and we have all heard about the dangers of screen time and how the effects on developing brains are largely unknown. And we’ve all seen firsthand how cranky our children get after spending too much time entranced by screens.

Yet, we are also tasked with preparing our kids for life in the 21st Century, which means developing strong technology and creative skills for future STEM careers. It can be totally confusing, especially when our kids want to use iMovie, watch origami videos on Youtube Kids or use Book Creator to write stories with images.

In October of 2016, The American Academy of Pediatrics changed its screen time recommendations to reflect the major distinction between passive consumption and interactive play and learning with screens. Parents are now encouraged to think of the overall context, and how they can steer their children toward a quality learning experience.

Seeking to understand what your child is trying to accomplish, and how you can keep them focused on that, instead of switching to Netflix, is key. This is tricky to manage, and that’s why we need better parental controls. Ultimately, we want to give our kids more freedom and latitude to make their own decisions, but we need better tools to support the progression. In the void left by Apple, other third parties have risen to the occasion, and OurPact is a current favorite.

Boost Your Tech Savvy – Tech Tip #4Heard It From A Friend: Tech Tip #4: How to Use Guided Access and set time limits on your iphone
Guided Access: The one parental control I wish I’d known about, 5 years ago!

Guided Access allows you to lock any device to just one app and shut the device off after a set period of time. You can feel assured that your children are really just reading on the Kindle App or practicing their math facts. Here’s how to set it up:

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility

Step 2:  Find Guided Access (at bottom of the screen), Toggle button on (green)

Step 3: Tap Passcode Settings to enter a passcode (one your kids won’t know). If your child has Touch ID enabled on her device with her fingerprint, make sure you turn off Touch ID.

Step 4: If you want your child to receive a verbal warning that her time is almost up, tap Time Limits > toggle Speak on.

Step 5: Easy access to Guided Access is key, so turn on the Accessibility Shortcut. Now when you triple click the Home Button.

Step 6: Pick an app to lock with Guided Access. Once it’s launched, triple click the Home Button.

Step 7: Triple click the Home Button again and enter your password to set the time limit. Tap Options.

Step 8: Slide Time Limit to select. I recommend keeping the other settings in their default positions.

Step 9: Hit Resume to start. If you want to end earlier than the selected time, press End.

Generally, I think Guided Access works best for younger children, but if your kids use apps for homework assignments, you might find it useful. It never ceases to amaze me how many parents don’t know about Guided Access (it’s actually been around since 2012), so please help to spread the word! I think it can really help parents and kids get off to a good start with technology!

Our seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become our life. Get boosted!
Be In The Know…
Our OP-ED: Apple, it’s time for a BIG change!

Raising children in this Digital Age is incredibly challenging for parents. 78% of teens now have iPhones, and 48% of parents say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle” (as reported by the American Psychological Association).

We strongly believe that Apple should be doing more to support parents and protect children. We have spent 100+ hours delving deep into Apple’s existing parental controls to fully understand the issues, and estimate that it would take 119 steps to properly setup the first device and 71 steps for every additional device thereafter.

Apple’s shareholders, Jana Partners and CALSTRS, have called for more accountability, and we completely agree that Apple needs to substantially overhaul its parental controls. It’s time to make our voices heard and to let Apple know how strongly we feel. Please join us in Being the Change We Want To See.

[poll id=”15″]

Be In The Know…
The best of what we’ve been reading this week:

We’re busy building a platform to connect women around running the “Family Business” and to make our everyday better with technology. Our membership-based community will be launching soon, but we’re starting now with our weekly Friend Letters to give you a peak at the useful resources we’re collecting and assembling.

We hope you come to think of our Friend Letters fondly, like getting together with friends for Friday lunch. Because this is a community built by friends for friends, we value your opinion and would love any feedback to help us to continue to zero in on what matters to you most.

We have also made it super-easy for you to invite your circle to Be In The Know and to Boost Your Tech Savvy. In one click and a few keystrokes, you’ll be on your way to helping women get more leverage and to BFF status–we always like to give our friends credit :).

It’s time to make technology a part of our every day conversation, and we invite you and your friends to join in the collaboration around running the “Family Business“. We know we always get the best information from our friends…

Invite Friends!


To sign up for Friend Letters, click here.

©2023 Heard It From A Friend

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