How to Stop Kids Getting Around Parental Controls

Any parent knows kids have a knack for finding a way around almost any obstacle.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve hidden the snacks, the iPad or those presents you put away for their birthday, they WILL find them.

Their problem solving skills can be so advanced they take us by surprise, especially when it comes to technology.

Kids have figured out how to bypass parental control on devices, making certain screen time and safety settings on phones and tablets almost useless. With a few taps, kids can access apps they’re not allowed to access and exceed screen time limits you’ve put on their devices.

What can you do to make sure the measures you put in place for their safety actually stay in place?

Let’s run through a few ways tech savvy kids are bypassing settings, what you can do to stop it and how a device like Spacetalk Adventurer can drastically reduce the chance of your child taking advantage of loopholes.

Screen recording
As the name suggests, screen recording is a feature on devices that records a video of whatever is happening on the screen, which is then saved to the camera roll to watch back later. This is how kids figure out your passwords.
How kids use it: 
It happens like this: Your child wants to download an app but needs your password. They start the recording before handing the phone over to you, where the screen recording captures the buttons you tap. Once you hand the phone back, all the child has to do is stop the screen recording, watch the saved video and see what you typed.
Now they have your password, they can log into anything, change family settings and access apps you would rather they didn’t.
Here are guides for how screen recording works on iPhone and Android.

How to stop it: You can disable Screen Recording in settings, but this isn’t always helpful as kids can always turn it back on if they know where to look.
Because of this, it helps to be mindful and know what to look for. On an iPhone, there will be a red bar at the top of the screen, a big indicator a screen recording is in progress.

Uninstalling and reinstalling apps
Clever kids have figured out that some apps like Instagram will delete screen time data when uninstalled and reinstalled, letting them stay on apps longer than they’re allowed.
How it works: Kids use this trick to get around screen time limits. If your child is approaching their limit for a particular app, they simply uninstall and reinstall the app to set their screen time for that app back to 0.
How to stop it: Change your phone settings to set delete apps to “don’t allow”.
If you ever want to delete an app, simply switch the setting off, delete the app, then turn that setting back on.
You can’t rely on settings and apps to monitor your child’s screen time, so being mindful is essential. If you only allow your child half an hour of screen time after school, set a timer to make sure your child turns their screen off when the limit is up.

Turn back time
Downtime is a setting under the Screen Time umbrella on iOS devices that stops kids accessing apps after a certain time limit, set by you.
Kids have discovered a simple way to get around these limits, and it’s all to do with time zones.
How it works: By changing the devices settings to an earlier time zone, kids can literally turn back the clock to bypass your time limits.
How to stop it: Apple have fixed this trick in iOS15, but it might still work on older devices, but being mindful of when your child is on their screens is one of the best ways to keep track of their screen time. 

What else can I do?
If devices and screen time settings on phones and tablets aren’t fool proof, what are the alternatives?
Switch to devices made just for kids: Smartwatch phones like Spacetalk Adventurer are designed to keep kids connected without any unnecessary extras.
Unlike a regular phone, Spacetalk has no access to the internet or social media. Kids can’t trick or hoodwink their watch settings either, as you are in complete control over their watch from the Spacetalk app.

Get to know your settings: Being familiar with the settings on your family's devices and how they work is essential, as it makes you better equipped to notice when something is amiss.
Updates happen all the time, so it helps to spend some time looking through the settings and looking up guides online- there is a wealth of amazing information out there.

As parents we have to be one step ahead at all times, which is hard with clever kids! Thankfully with the above tips and knowing what to look for, you can ensure your child’s screen time stays at a healthy level.