Digital ParentingDec 23, 2021

How To Set Up Your Kid’s New iPhone

How To Set Up Your Kid’s New iPhone

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means new devices for a lot of families. If you’re going to be hearing the pitter-patter of little thumbs on screens this year, read on! We’ve put together a handy how-to that will help you set up iOS devices for safer, happier screen time. (If you’re going the Android route, check out How to Set Up Your Kid’s New Android Phone instead!)

How to set up Family Sharing for iPhone

If you’re a family of Apple users, you probably want to set up Family Sharing. This allows everyone with an Apple ID in your family to share music, movies, apps, iCloud storage and pretty much everything else you use your phone for, without having to share a single device (as if!).

You can set up Family Sharing from any iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac in the family. Make sure to use an adult’s device to do this, as this will be the device from which you can make changes and monitor all other devices as needed. To set up Family Sharing from your phone, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings icon, or search “settings” in your phone
  2. Tap on your name in the main Settings menu
  3. Tap “Family Sharing,” then “Set Up Your Family”
  4. Follow the onscreen prompts
  5. Voila!

Once Family Sharing is set up, you’ll be prompted to invite family members to join, which you can do using their individual Apple IDs. If your kid doesn’t have an Apple ID, you can easily set one up for them using your own device.

How to set up Screen Time controls for iPhone

Screen Time is an iOS feature that provides real-time reports showing how much time you and each member of your family spend on their devices, as well as on specific apps and sites. You can also use it to set parental controls. You can set up Screen Time through Family Sharing, or directly on your child’s device if you aren’t using Family Sharing.

To set up Screen Time using Family Sharing:

  1. Navigate to Settings on your own device
  2. Tap your child’s name under Family
  3. Tap “Turn on Screen Time”
  4. Follow the prompts to set up your preferred parental controls
  5. Tap “Use Screen Time Passcode.” Make sure to use a passcode your child doesn’t know, so they are not able to access and change Screen Time settings.

If you’re not using Family Sharing, you can set up Screen Time using your child’s device directly:

  1. Go to Settings on your child’s device
  2. Tap Screen Time, then Turn on Screen Time
  3. Tap “This is My Child’s Device”
  4. Follow the prompts to set up your preferred parental controls
  5. Tap “Use Screen Time Passcode.” Make sure to use a different passcode than the one your child uses to unlock their phone, so they are not able to access and change Screen Time settings.

You can set up as many or as few Screen Time restrictions as is appropriate for you and your family, and you can change these restrictions at any time through Family Sharing. Some of the things you can restrict include access to specific apps or types of apps, screen use during certain times of day, ability to make purchases and access to explicit content. You can also set time limits for various apps to help your child make balanced decisions about how they’re spending their screen time.

Some families find it helpful to set up a plan for earning independence over time. For example, you might remove or reduce restrictions or time limits as kids demonstrate responsible use of their devices. As with anything, this conversation will vary from family to family and kid to kid, and might not work for everyone.

How to talk to your kids about their new iPhone

Of course, no number of parental controls can replace an open, ongoing conversation with your kids about safe and healthy screen habits. Kids are likely to find (or google) a way around many security features, so checking in regularly is key. Be open and curious about what your kid is getting up to with their device, the same way you would talk to them about a book they’re reading, or join them in playing a sport they love. And make sure they know they can always come to you to talk about anything they encounter online, without fear of getting in trouble.

Happy screen time and happy holidays!

Editorial Credit: FellowNeko / Shutterstock


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