If your child is anything like mine, she ALWAYS wants your smartphone! In our house we are constantly on FaceTime as all of our family lives out of state. So our daughter thinks the phone is awesome. Nevermind the fact that there are pictures and movies on it! No matter how much we try to limit screen time, the reality is that our kids are going to be on our phones at some point. So how can we keep them from wreaking havoc on our expensive smartphones? Like many things, there’s a setting or an app for that.
iPhone’s “Guided Access”
If you have an iPhone and don’t know about the “Guided Access” settings, you’re about to be one happy parent. By enabling guided access, you pick the parts of the screen that become inaccessible by touch in an app or during a phone call. It also disables the home button. To enable guided access, go into Settings->General->Accessibility. Then scroll down and you will see Guided Access under Learning.
Once you turn guided access on, your phone will prompt you to set a passcode to use to disable the feature when you are done, and each time you use it on a new app, it will ask you to choose what screen area you’d like to disable. To begin guided access, triple click the home button. To end guided access, triple click the home button, enter your passcode and tap “end” in the upper left corner of the screen. The only tricky part is that if your child flips the phone sideways and the screen shifts, you have to set the guided access for that also. I learned this the hard way!
Android phones have a feature called “Screen Pinning” that locks kids into an app, but they can still interact with the screen and therefore get into things they shouldn’t. However, there is an app called “Touch Lock-Touch Blocker” that works similar to iPhone Guided Access and has some great reviews. I asked some of my mom friends with Android phones to try it out. The overall verdict was positive; the app was easy to use and seemed to do the trick! It walks you through the setup and everything.