While the district already enforces a series of restrictions on student iPads, it's possible to supplement these using Apple's built-in Screen Time & Restrictions features. This guide is intended to cover the main functions of these features, how they interact with the district's managed settings, and, lastly, how to configure them.
A Little Background Information
At its core, Screen Time is a usage tracker; it tracks how long apps are used on a daily and weekly basis. Restrictions are user-configurable limits placed on certain features of the operating system. Between the two, a user is able to:
- Establish "Downtime" hours where the device cannot be used (e.g. to prevent usage late at night)
- Set time limits for certain apps (by app category)
- Whitelist specific apps (more applicable to iPhones, where access to the Phone app is critical)
- Lock down additional apps/features beyond what the district has already put in place
Avoiding Settings Collisions & Other Snags
Screen Time and Restrictions both exist alongside the district's management settings, rather than in place of them. The district-applied settings are meant to serve as a secure foundation, which can be built upon, but not overridden. The district management settings already disable things like FaceTime & iMessage, the iTunes & App stores, and Game Center. The district's web filter automatically screens web traffic, blocking inappropriate content as needed.
Given the above, any settings you choose to apply that expand upon these district-applied settings are allowed so long as they do not interfere with the educational use of the iPad. In cases where a locally-set restriction interferes with instruction, we will change the settings in the least intrusive way possible. Because Screen Time passcodes are private, if one is present when we need to make a change, we will clear it and instruct the classroom teacher to contact you so you can re-apply the passcode once the changes have been made.
Configuring Screen Time & Restrictions
The steps listed below will serve as a quick start guide to enable Screen Time. Please refer to Apple's two detailed guides on how to setup Screen Time and local restrictions/parental controls for a deeper dive into all the available options/settings for both features.
- In the Settings app on your child's device, tap the "Screen Time" tab on the left side of the window, then "Turn On Screen Time".
- Tap "Continue" to proceed with the Screen Time setup process
- Tap the "This is My Child's iPad" option
- If desired, setup a Downtime window that doesn't interfere with school/homework hours (tap "Not Now" if you're not interested)
- Tap "Not Now" for the App Limits section. As of iOS 12.3 these limits only apply to broad categories. We do not recommend using this feature until specific apps can be limited.
- Tap Continue under "Content & Privacy"
- Choose a passcode to lock the Screen Time settings and prevent errant changes later.
Once the above steps are complete, you'll be sitting at the Screen Time settings pane where you'll be presented with four customizable settings areas: Downtime, App Limits, Always Allowed (apps), and Content & Privacy Restrictions. Tapping on each gives access to settings applicable to each feature, allowing you to make modifications or enable/disable the feature as needed.
In addition to the four feature areas above, you'll see four more options below to change your Screen Time passcode, share Screen Time info across devices**, set up family Screen Time**, and disable your Screen Time passcode. Please note the starred options don't apply to district-managed devices.