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Apple's new 'Families' website helps parents curb their kids tech addictions

Written by  Feb 21, 2018

Apple's iPhone, iPad, Mac, and various other devices all come with limited parental controls that can be used to restrict usage and features for kids. But honestly, who really knows how to use them when they're buried within the ever-confusing Settings app?

To help parents better understand the controls they have access to and how to use them, Apple's created a new "Families" website with informative guides on how to better monitor their kids' device activities and keep them safe online.

For example, Apple reminds parents that the App Store has a kids section with content that they've "carefully curated" to ensure is age-appropriate. Additionally, parents can also use the "Restrictions" feature (Settings > General > Restrictions) to only allow their kids to download apps appropriate for their age. 

Lots of powerful parental controls in the Restrictions section within iOS's Settings app.

Lots of powerful parental controls in the Restrictions section within iOS's Settings app.

Image: apple

Same goes for restricting movies and TV shows to selected ratings, blocking music/news/podcasts with explicit content, websites with adult content, and more. 

Another useful parental setting many may not be aware of is "Ask to Buy." With this feature turned on, whenever a kid tries to buy or download an app, they'll need approval from their parents' device before they're permitted to do so.

Apple's Families website isn't all about locking down a kid's devices. It also highlights how families can share content.

Apple's Families website isn't all about locking down a kid's devices. It also highlights how families can share content.

Image: Apple

Other family-focused guides include teaching parents how to turn off in-app purchases, use the "Find My Friends" to keep track of a kid's location and "Find My iPhone" features to locate a lost device, and set up a family group chat in Messages that'll let parents "see where each person is, send your own location, and view all the photos the family has shared."

Apple's new website also shows families how to share content with "Family Sharing" and stay connected with photos, calendars, and storage that sync across all devices.

The site also details how to use features like Night Shift to get better sleep.

The site also details how to use features like Night Shift to get better sleep.

Image: Apple

And lastly, Apple outlines all of the features it's added to its software to help users stay healthy using the Health app, maintain their medical information, and set up the Emergency SOS setting.

Better communication

Technology, especially using our smartphones and tablets, is addictive. We can't help ourselves when there's an infinite amount of data literally available at our fingertips.

It's unfortunate that the technologies that were designed to bring us together have simultaneously torn us all apart.

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However, all hope isn't lost. The time is now for technology companies to start taking more responsibility for the very addictive activities they created. 

Apple's Families website is a step forward towards informing parents and all users on the how to curb their tech addiction. Other tech companies should take notice and follow Apple's lead.

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