The Many Scenarios of Screen Time

Screen Time Comes in All Different Shapes and Sizes

The scenarios below can give you a flavor for what’s possible with Screen Time, and how you can use its features to help you ‘Parent Technology’. If you need more personalized support, book time with us through iConcierge Services.

One of the main features of Screen Time is the Dashboard where you can monitor which apps your child is using and which websites he/she has visited. It is by tapping on the Dashboard, that you can set specific time limits and group apps together to create customized limits (it is very confusing because most people would think to do this by tapping App Limits in the section below)!

HIFAF Recommendation:

The Dashboard is blank when Screen Time is first set up, and only registers activity once an app or website has been opened for at least 5 seconds on your child’s device. This is why we recommend that parents have access to their child’s device when setting time limits for specific apps–you can speed the setup process by opening them on your child’s phone. Otherwise, you’ll will have to wait until your child has accessed all of his/her most used apps and web sites.

Once Screen Time is active, go to Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Profile to review activity from the convenience of your phone

  • From the Dashboard for your child, tap on the graph to see a detailed view, including a 7 day history 
  • Scroll down to the list of the Most Used, and it will show you a list of all the websites and apps your child has accessed (note: you cannot view pages within the website)

 

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You can also review every app downloaded on your child’s device(s), by going to Always Allowed from your child’s profile and scroll through the list.

[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””]There are several known issues mentioned at the end of this roadmap , where kids have figured out how to bypass Screen Time. While the Dashboard is a great resource to monitor Screen Time activity, it is no substitute for a parent!

Apple allows parents to set a different Downtime for different days, giving your family more flexibility for weekdays, weekends and vacations. To schedule Downtime:

  • Go to Settings, Screen Time and tap Downtime from your child’s profile page
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  • Enter your Screen Time Passcode
  • Make sure Downtime is toggled to the ON position
  • Select a Start and an End time
  • Make sure Block at Downtime is toggle on
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[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Your child’s device will shut off except for any apps that are designated Always Allowed. To review your settings:

  • Go to your child’s profile page, and tap Always Allowed. Make changes by clicking the red minus Botton and the green plus button.
  • Parents should know that FaceTime and Messages are defaulted to Always Allowed, and Apple does not allow users to turn off the phone.
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Also, if your child has multiple iOS devices, this Downtime will carry over if you select Share Across Devices. From your child’s phone:

  • Go to Screen Time and scroll down and make sure Share Across Devices is toggled to the ON position.

Apple gives parents the option, to designate any app as Always Allowed, meaning it will remain active 24/7 and will not be blocked by Down Time. By default, Maps, FaceTime and Messages are set to Always Allowed, and parents should know Apple does not allow users to turn off the phone.

To make changes:

  • Go to Settings, Screen Time, and tap Your Child’s Profile
  • Enter your Screen Time Passcode
  • Tap Always Allowed
  • Make changes by selecting the green plus or the red minus sign
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Any app that is not designated as Always Allowed will remain active until Downtime kicks in.

  • Go to Screen Time, scroll down and make sure Share Across Devices is toggled to the ON position.

To shut off your child’s device(s) from your phone*:

  • Go to your child’s dashboard, Select Downtime (found in Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Name)
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  • Make sure that Downtime is toggled to the ON position
  • Then set the Start time for one minute after the present time. For example, if it is 5:49pm, set the time to 5:50pm
  • Decide when you want the device to be unblocked by setting the End time
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  • Make sure Block at Downtime is toggled on
  • If your child has multiple iOS devices, these changes will apply provided you’ve selected Shared Across Devices. From your child’s phone:
    • Go to Screen Time and scroll down and make sure Share Across Devices is toggled to the ON position.
 HIFAF Recommendation:

While effective, this multi-step process is not the most elegant solution. You also will then need to remember to change the Downtime and Always Allowed settings back! We recommend using Siri to set a reminder.

*The above assumes that you and your child are both running iOS 12.

For some parents, all screen time is created equal, and they just want to set a general allowance time for All Apps & Categories. When the allowance time is up, the device will shut off, except for any apps that have been designated as Always Allowed which are available 24/7. To set this up:

From your child’s profile page in Screen Time:

  • Tap App Limits
  • Enter your Screen Time passcode
  • Tap Add Limit
  • Select All Apps & Categories and hit Next
  • Scroll to set the desired time.  If you want to set different limits for different days, first tap Customize Days, adjust accordingly and then tap Back arrow
  • Next tap Add
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By now we’ve all heard of the addictive nature of Fortnite. To set time limits, here’s what you can do:

  • Be sure your child has played since you’ve set up Screen Time; otherwise, you will need to set a limit from your child’s device
  • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Profile
  • Tap the Dashboard
  • Scroll down until you find Fortnite under Most Used Apps and tap
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  • Scroll down until you see Add Limit
  • Set the time; if you want to set a different time limit for different days, tap Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Then tap Add top right
Tap on photo to zoom
 HIFAF Recommendation:

While Screen Time measures the cumulative time spent on Fortnite regardless of whether your child is accessing the web browser or the app, this time limit will only apply to iOS devices, not PlayStation consoles or computers.  To set time limits on Mac computers, see Our Complete Guide to Mac’s Parental Controls and Our Complete Guide to Circle which controls every internet-run device. 

If you’re uncomfortable with your child using YouTube because of the potential for mature and questionable content, you can block it from your child’s device. Navigate to www. youtube.com on your child’s device. To register on your child’s Dashboard so you can block it, you must be on the site for at least 5 seconds.

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Profile 
  • Tap the Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll Most Used to find youtube.com and tap
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  • Tap Add Limit
  • Set the time to 1 minute (Apple doesn’t allow you to set a 0-minute time limit
  • Tap Customize Days to make sure every day is set to 1 minute
  • Tap back (top left arrow)
  • Tap Add (top left)
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[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] This limit will apply to both the browser version and the YouTube app, so you’re covered in any scenario. There is also YouTube Kids which has pre-filtered content.  For information, continue on this Screen Time Roadmap

 HIFAF Recommendation:

We recommend that parents turn on YouTube’s Restricted mode and set Safari Restrictions. 

While Screen Time measures the cumulative time spent on YouTube regardless of whether your child is accessing the web browser or the app, we suggest that parents discourage their children from using the YouTube app. Unfortunately, YouTube’s Restricted mode is easy to deactivate, but Safari Restrictions will still provide some protection on youtube.com. Continue the journey on this Screen Time Roadmap for more direction. 

Monitoring what videos your kids are watching is always a good policy! 

Option #1: Turn Safari Completely Off

Some parents aren’t ready for their children to use Safari, so the good news is they can be completely turned off.

  • From Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Dashboard, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
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  • Make sure Content & Privacy Restrictions is toggled to the ON position
  • Tap Allowed Apps
  • Turn off Safari and (and while you’re here, any other apps you don’t want to allow)
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See other stops in our Screen Time Roadmap  for more information about content and privacy restrictions.

HIFAF Recommendation:

We recommend that parents limit their kids to one browser to sidestep having to set parental controls in multiple places. We tested Safari Restrictions extensively and think they are fairly effective as they:

  • Automatically disable the Private Browsing Mode
  • Can be enabled for on all iOS devices and Mac Computers
  • Work when using cellular or Wifi, so your child’s web-browsing activity is covered at home and on-the-go
  • Can be locked with a passcode, so children can’t turn them off

Parents should know that if they don’t take action to limit Safari, it will be available until Downtime kicks in.  There are many popular games and video sites that have a browser version (amazon.com–can view Prime Videos, youtube.com, fortnite).

You can set a specific time limit for Safari, but it must have been running for at least 5 seconds on your child’s device following the setup of Screen Time. Go to:

  • Settings > Screen Time > tap your Child’s Dashboard 
  • Scroll down to Most Used
  • Click on Safari
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  • Hit Add Limit
  • Choose a time limit; if you want to set a different time limit for different days, select Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Add (top right)
Tap on photo to zoom
 HIFAF Recommendation:

Without a specific time limit for Safari, it will remain open until the scheduled Downtime. Parents will likely want to consider setting time limits for YouTube.com (Scenario #7) to prevent binge-watching on the web browser version. And you may also want to set specific time limits or block other web-sites (e.g. ESPN or Facebook). 

Instructions to enable Safari Content Restrictions are included in Step #8. Continue on the Screen Time Roadmap, and we will also provide recommendations for web filtering and browsers. 

When considering setting limits for social media apps, you must first consider your parental view on texting because texting (via Messages) is counted under Apple’s Social Network Category. You have four options:

Option #1: Leave Messages Defaulted to Always Allowed

To review your child’s settings, go to:

  • Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Profile Page
  • Tap Always Allowed to confirm that Messages is designated as Always Allowed
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This means that Messages will remain active 24/7.

Option #2: Set a limit on the Social Networking category

  • Go to App Limits (from your child’s profile page) and tap Social Networking
  • Tap Next
  • Scroll to select the time; if you want different time limits for different days, select Customize Days, adjust, tap Back (top left)
  • tap Add (top right)
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If you’ve taken Messages out of Always Allowed, parents should know if they set a category limit, then it’s possible for a child to spend all his/her time on just one app (e.g. Instagram), so you’ll want to factor that in when setting allowance time.

 HIFAF Recommendation:

Based on an extensive review of the latest research, we recommend limiting a teen to 1-2 social media platforms and spending no more than approximately 30 minutes on each platform

Option #3: Block Messages only at Downtime

This requires setting a time limits for all OTHER apps included in the Social Networking Category. It’s best to do this from your child’s device, or make sure that every app has been opened for at least 5 seconds after setting up Screen Time

In this scenario, we take you through setting a combined 1 hour limit for Instagram and Snapchat  

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time> Your Child’s Profile
  • Tap your child’s Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down under Most Used until you find Instagram
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  • Scroll down and tap Add Limit and select 1 hour; if you want to set a different limit for different days, click Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Edit Apps, and tap Snapchat
  • Tap Add (top right)
  • Tap Add again (top right)
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Or, to set an individual 30 minute limit for Instagram and Snapchat:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time> Your Child’s Profile
  • Tap your child’s Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down under Most Used until you find Instagram
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  • Scroll down and tap Add Limit and select 30 minutes; if you want to set a different limit for different days, click Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Add
  • Tap back (top left) to return to Your Child’s Profile
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  • Repeat steps for Snapchat

Option #4: Set a separate time limit for Messages and specific limits for all remaining apps in the Social Media Networking Category. This is best to do this from your child’s device, or make sure that every app has been opened for at least 5 seconds after setting up Screen Time

Begin by setting a time limit for Messages (for example, 1 hour).

  • Go to Your Child’s Dashboard and tap (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down to Most Used Apps and tap Messages
  • Scroll down and tap Add Limit and select 1 hour; if you want to set a different limit for different days, click Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Add

Then create a combined 1 hour limit for Instagram and Snapchat  

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Your Child’s Profile
  • Tap your child’s Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down under Most Used until you find Instagram
  • Scroll down and tap Add Limit and select 1 hour; if you want to set a different limit for different days, click Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Edit Apps, and tap Snapchat
  • Tap Add (top right)
  • Tap Add again (top right)

Or, to set an individual 30 minute limit for Instagram and Snapchat:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time> Your Child’s Profile
  • Tap your child’s Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down under Most Used until you find Instagram
  • Scroll down and tap Add Limit and select 30 minutes; if you want to set a different limit for different days, click Customize Days, adjust, and then tap back (top left)
  • Tap Add
  • Tap back (top left) to return to Your Child’s Profile
  • Repeat for Snapchat

Option #1: Turn off FaceTime and Messages altogether.

Some parents aren’t ready for their children to use FaceTime and Messages, so the good news is they can be completely turned off.

In the default settings, FaceTime and Messages are Always Allowed apps, so the first step is to remove them:

  • From within Screen Time, click Your Child’s Profile, tap Always Allowed
  • Remove FaceTime and Messages 

To turn off Messages and Facetime, you need to make sure the apps have been open for at least 5 seconds following the set up of Screen Time, so that it registers on your child’s Screen Time Dashboard.

  • Go to Your Child’s Profile Page (from Settings > Screen Time)
  • Tap the Dashboard (where you see Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll through Most Used and tap Messages
  • Tap Add Limit
  • Set the time to 1 minute, select Customize Days to confirm that 1 minute is set for every day
  • Tap back (top left)
  • Tap Add top right
  • Repeat for Facetime

[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Apple does not allow you to set a 0-minute time limit, so technically, Messages is not completely off 🙂

Option #2: Set specific time limits for FaceTime and Messages

To set specific time limits, you need to make sure the apps have been opened for at least 5 seconds following the set up of Screen Time, so that it registers on your child’s Screen Time Dashboard.

If you want to set specific time limits for FaceTime and Messages, first you need to check to see what the current settings are: 

  • From within Screen Time, click Your Child’s Profile, tap Always Allowed
  • Remove FaceTime and Messages 

Now you have two choices: you can group FaceTime and Messages together and set one limit for both, OR  you can set individual time limits for each.

a) To group FaceTime and Messages together:

  • Go to your child’s Dashboard (from Settings > Screen Time) and tap (you will see your child’s Screen Time activity)
  • Scroll down to Most Used
  • Click on FaceTime
  • Scroll down to Add Limit

  • Select the time; if you want to set different time limits for different days, select Customize Days first. Make adjustments as needed and click back arrow (top left)
  • Next select Edit Apps
  • Select Messages and click Add at the top right

b) To set a separate time limit for FaceTime and Messages:

  • Go to Your Child’s Dashboard (from Settings > Screen Time) and tap where you see your child’s Screen Time activity
  • Scroll down to Most Used
  • Click on FaceTime
  • Scroll down to Add Limit
Tap on photo to zoom
  • Select the time; if you want to set different time limits for different days, select Customize Days first. Make adjustments as needed and click back arrow (top left)
  • Select Add and then back arrow labeled Today (top left)
  • Repeat for Messages
Tap on photo to zoom

The time spent listening to music is not counted against Screen Time limits; however, the time you spend in the app scrolling playlists or searching for songs will be tabulated.  If you leave music to its default settings, it will shut off once Downtime kicks in.

If you music to be available outside of Downtime, then you can move it to Always Allowed.

  • Go to your child’s Screen Time Profile Page, select Always Allowed
  • Add the music app with the green plus button

 HIFAF Recommendation:

Apple currently categorizes all games together, but if you’re of the opinion that some games have more redeeming value than others, then you can create customized groups. We recommend grouping ‘higher value’ games and setting a specific time limit. With the remaining ‘entertainment’ games, we recommend grouping them with the other entertainment apps (e.g. Netflix), and then creating a time limit for these.

When grouping apps, you first need to make sure they’ve been opened on your child’s device for at least 5 seconds following the activation of Screen Time. This is so they appear in the Dashboard section.  It’s best to do this from your child’s device so you can be sure you’ve assigned every game and entertainment app.

In the example below, we’re granting 15 minutes per day for these ‘higher value’ apps: eg. Solitaire, Mad Libs, Hangman together, and 1 hour on weekends for ‘entertainment’ games and apps which include Crossy, Candy Crush, Netflix and Prime Video

  • From Your Child’s Device, open every game and entertainment app for at least 5 seconds
  • On your Phone > Settings > Screen Time > Your Child
  • Go to your Child’s Dashboard
  • Scroll down to Most Used
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  • Click on Mad Libs
  • Scroll down to Edit Apps and click Solitaire, Mad Libs and Hangman
  • Click Add
  • Set a time limit for 15 minutes and hit Today (back arrow)
  • Now group the other ‘entertainment’ games and apps by tapping on your Child’s Dashboard
  • Select Netflix, Add Limit
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  • Scroll down and select Edit Apps, choose Prime Video, Crossy and Candy Crush
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  • Click Add and then set time limit of 1 hour
  • To grant for weekends only, select Customize Days
  • Next select 1 minute for Monday through Thursday (this is the only way block time on weekdays)
  • Tap Today (back arrow)
  • Tap Add top right
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[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Every other app on your child’s phone will remain open until Downtime kicks in unless you set further time limits, or they’re designated as Always Allowed which means they’re available 24/7.

Why It’s a Good Idea to Limit the Number of Apps Your Child Uses

If your child is using lots of apps, it is a challenge to keep up with them, and time and again, we have been unpleasantly surprised.  Here is the issue with so many apps: if children want to keep playing they are required to watch ads, which may also be gamified, meaning that children earn extra points or special rewards for watching. We find the underlying manipulation deeply concerning. Here is one example of an ad that appeared when my daughter was playing Wishbone, an app rated 12+ that is a seemingly harmless would you rather game: movie vs. read a book, hamburger vs. pizza.

Further, because these aspects of an app may not be readily apparent, we do encourage parents to spend a few minutes playing the games, so you are fully informed. Establishing content parameters is especially helpful, and we have a section for this in our Family Agreement.
  The Fewer the Apps, the Better!

 HIFAF Recommendation:

We recommend creating your own customized groups because Apple’s categorization system is inflexible, and you can’t re-assign apps to different categories. Also, we recommend turning off the App Store because any app downloaded after you’ve set up these customized group will remain active until the scheduled Down Time unless you take further action. To turn off the App Store go to:

  • Content & Privacy Restrictions
  • Enter Screen Time passcode and make sure Content & Privacy Restrictions are toggle on
  • Tap iTunes and App Store Purchases
  • Tap Installing Apps and tap Don’t Allow
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Some parents really like to slice and dice Screen Time–they want to encourage creativity, for example, but don’t want their kids to be glued to devices all the time. If this is your scenario, you can set a category limit or group individual ‘creative apps’ together.

Option #1: Create a category time limit

In this example, let’s say you wanted to give you child 1 hour on weekends for to use iMovie and Photos for creative purposes.

From your Child’s Profile in Screen Time:

  • Tap Add Limit
  • Enter Screen Time Pass Code
  • Tap Add Limit
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  • Select Creativity
  • Tap Next
  • Select 1 hour, Customize Days and set to 1 minute Monday through Friday
  • Tap back arrow (top left) and tap Add
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Option #2: Group ‘creative apps’ together and set a limit

In this example, let’s say you wanted to give you child 1 hour on weekends for to use iMovie, Photos, and Book Creator for creative purposes.

When grouping apps, you first need to make sure they’ve been opened on your child’s device for at least 5 seconds following the activation of Screen Time. This is so they appear in your child’s Dashboard.

  • From Your Child’s Device, open iMovies, Photos and Book Creator for at least 5 seconds
  • On your Phone > Settings > Screen Time > Your Child
  • Go to your Child’s Dashboard
  • Scroll down to Most Used
  • Click on Photos
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  • Click Add Limit
  • Scroll down to Edit Apps and click iMovie and Book Creator
  • Click Add
Tap on photo to zoom

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  • Set a time limit for 1 hour, and select Customize Days
  • Next select 1 minute for Monday through Thursday (a 0-minute setting is not an option)
  • Tap Today (back arrow)
  • Tap Add top right
Tap on photo to zoom


[icon name=”arrow-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””]
 Every other app on your child’s phone will remain open until Downtime kicks in unless you set further time limits or they’re designated as Always Allowed which means they’re available 24/7.

My 13-year old has both an iPhone and iPad–Screen Time limits are shared across both of her devices. Here’s her setup:

Her iPhone is for communicating and productivity purposes primarily:

  • Downtime is set from 8:30pm to 7:30am (she is not permitted to use her phone on campus, so it’s not an issue)
  • Messages and FaceTime have been removed from Always Allowed, but no further limits (we want to encourage social communication and are not concerned about over-use)
  • Safari Restrictions to limit adult content are active, and a time limit for Safari is set for 20 minutes (to encourage curiosity)
  • Content Restrictions are enabled to limit explicit content
  • Youtube Restricted mode is set on the browser version (the app is not allowed), and also there’s a time limit for 15 minutes (some good with YouTube, some bad, so trying to minimize exposure)
  • A few ‘higher value’ apps (e.g. Solitaire, Hangman, Mad Libs) are downloaded in the rare instance that she needs a distraction while waiting somewhere. These are grouped together and assigned a 15 minute time limit.
  • Productivity apps such as Notes, Calendar, Mail are active until Downtime
  • No other entertainment apps, games, or social media apps are downloaded (she’s not interested in social media yet)

iPad: for entertainment

  • Downtime is set from 8:30pm to 7:30am
  • Games and Entertainment Apps are grouped together with a time limit of 1 hour Friday-Sunday only; the other days are set to 1 minute
  • Safari Restrictions to limit adult content are active and a time limit for Safari is set for 20 minutes
  • Content Restrictions are enabled to limit explicit content
  • Youtube Restricted mode is set on the browser version (the 15-minute limit set above carries over)
  • Netflix parental controls are enabled
  • Prime Video parental controls are enabled

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