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Children and Media

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How to Set Parental Controls on the iPhone

By Common Sense Media


Getting Started

Kids love iPhones. And with more than 1,000 downloadable apps for kids in the iPhone store, you can find something to suit every age and interest. But there are also lots of apps with racy content geared just for adults that you don't want your kids stumbling across.

Fortunately, Apple offers parental controls, both on the iPhone and on iTunes. On your iPhone, you can turn on and off certain features you don't want anyone to access. At the iTunes store, you can restrict the types of content that can be downloaded.

How to Set iPhone's Parental Controls

To set up the Restrictions on your iPhone, touch “settings,” choose “general,” then choose “Restrictions.” Then you’ll be prompted to set up a PIN that gives you access to enable or disable Restrictions.

Here are the things you can restrict:

  • Explicit song titles
  • The Safari browser
  • YouTube
  • The iTunes store
  • Installing apps
  • The camera

When you disable something, its icon disappears from the Home menu. For example, if you don’t want anyone taking photos with your iPhone, just turn off the camera in the settings. When you go to the home menu, the camera icon will be gone.

The iPhone only allows you to turn on and off these programs. But let's say you want a little finer control over the types of content you can dowload. Go to the iTunes store on your computer. Go to Edit in the top menu, choose Preferences, and there you’ll find controls for what you can download and for which TV and movie ratings you’re OK with your kids downloading.

It's a similar situation with the iPhone’s browser. You can turn it on and off, but there's no safe-search setting to filter results. If you don’t want to turn off the browser but you do want to restrict the websites it can find, there are apps you can download to fine tune your browser search settings for kids.

It’s so easy to set these controls, the only problem is remembering which features you’ve turned off. But don’t worry — your kids will probably remind you.

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