Tips & Tricks
Do It Now
Always have passcodes, passwords, email addresses, etc. No passcode = no phone.
Start the conversation
Don't wait to talk about sexting. Create an opportunity to have a conversation: go for a hike or out for ice cream. A favorite time to talk is in the car, it’s less threatening because there's less eye contact, which makes it less awkward.
It's good to have monitoring software, but physically checking the phone regularly is a must. Open all apps and take a peek at what's going on in them. Spot check Snapchat and Instragram messaging. We also have a "how to" look for hidden apps in our Device guides. Let your kid know you will be doing this!
When possible, put the app on your device and login with their credentials. (This works with Instagram.) Then you can see what they're posting, and can spot check direct messages.
Get the same apps your kids are using and follow/friend them. This also helps you become familiar with the app, which aids in conversations.
Lock It Up
Set a curfew
Set technology curfews. For example, no devices between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.
If your child sends or receives an inappropriate picture or video, delete it immediately. Don’t copy, send or show it to anyone. Showing someone a picture on your device is considered distributing child pornography, which can be a felony.
Lock up or get rid of old phones, tablets, computers, etc. These can connect to WiFi and be used.
If you aren’t comfortable with an app, game or website, say no. Plain and simple.
Turn off in-app purchasing to block spending and spare your wallet. To do it on iOS (not Screen Time):
Go to Settings > Restrictions, enter your passcode, scroll down and turn In-app Purchasing off
Believe it or not, some kids will go to great lengths to get around rules. For example, if they aren't allowed to use a certain app, they will download it to their device, log in, do their thing, then log out and delete the app. One way around this is to block the ability to delete apps. (Or don't let them download at all.) See our Devices section for help.
Stop use of screen recording
Kids are getting around Apple’s restrictions by using the screen recording functionality. Here’s how:
- turn on screen recording
- hand a parent their device and ask them to login to Screen Time to change a setting or upload an app for them
- the recording, which is saved to their phone, shows the Screen Time passcode
- with the passcode, they can turn off restrictions
Two ways to stop this:
- In Screen Time, turn off screen recording (under Content & Privacy Restrictions > Content Restrictions)
- If your child hands you their phone to do something, look for a red bar across the top of the screen, or the red recording icon at the top right. If you see either, they are recording
Turn off the Webcam
You'll find step-by-step instructions to turn off webcams on Windows and Mac in our Computer guides. In the meantime, put a piece of tape over the camera lens, usually found around the top/center of the screen. (You can also put tape over the microphones!)
If your child was caught sexting, help them create healthy boundaries, rules and guidelines -- especially around digital behaviors. Ask for suggestions and have them participate in the rule creating process. (Get more important steps in our guide, Sexting: What to Do When It Happens.)
Turn off Location Services on the device so apps can't track where they are. On an iOS:
On their device, go to Settings > Privacy, turn off Location Services