Screen Time is a good tool built by Apple. It allows you to decide what type of content appears on your device. You can block inappropriate content, purchases, or downloads. But, like any tool, you have to 1) learn how to use it and 2) recognize its’ limits.
Enabling Screen Time and Creating a Passcode
To limit adult content, you must use Screen Time. Follow these six steps to enable the Screen Time feature:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone® or iPad®.
- Select “Screen Time” and then tap “Turn On Screen Time.”
- A brief description of what Screen Time can do will appear. Tap “Continue.”
- You will be asked whether you are setting the device up for yourself or your child. For the sake of focusing on the content restrictions best paired with Covenant Eyes, select “This is My iPad®/iPhone®. (If you select This is My Child’s iPad/iPhone, you’ll first be directed through setting up Downtime and App Limit restrictions.)
- You’ll be directed to the Screen Time settings. On this screen, select “Use Screen Time Passcode.”
- Then enter in a 4-digit passcode (the Covenant Eyes member should not know this code). You will be asked to re-enter the code for verification. Please note: This is an Apple operating system passcode. Once the passcode is set, there is no way to reset or retrieve it if it’s forgotten.
Activating Content & Privacy Restrictions
- Within Screen Time, select “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
- To activate “Content & Privacy Restrictions” be sure the toggle switch is slid to the right. It will appear as a white circle in a green oval.
Limiting Adult Websites
If you would like to limit objectionable content, then complete the following steps:
- Within Screen Time, tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
- Now tap “Content Restrictions.”
- Select “”Web Content”.
- By default, “Unrestricted Access” is the selection. Change that to “Limit Adult Websites.”
Warning: Holes in the Screen Time Filter
Changing the Web Content setting from “Unrestricted Access” to “Limit Adult Websites” will certainly make a difference, but it might not be as complete as you’d like or expect. Unfortunately, some sites containing adult material are not automatically filtered out by Screen Time. These sites will need to be added to the Never Allow List (instructions are in the next section):
- Dogpile.com (easy to toggle off safe search even with Screen Time enabled)
- Excite.com (old search engine, can toggle off safe search even with Screen Time enabled)
- Flickr (lots of inappropriate content)
- Yandex.com (Russian search engine)
- https://youtube.com (if you want to completely limit YouTube access, even if someone sends a video link in an iMessage – text).
A special word of appreciation to our friends at Protect Young Eyes: they found this first and continue to update the list on their September 21st blog post. That blog entry also contains extra details for parents using Screen Time as a tool for controlling their child’s iPhone® or iPad®.
Never Allow List
Navigate/Tap to “Content & Privacy Restrictions” > “Content Restrictions” > “Web Content.”
- Just below “NEVER ALLOW:” tap “Add Website.”
- Type in the website you wish to block, and press “Done.”
- The site should now be listed in the “NEVER ALLOW” section.
Note: Be sure to add covenanteyes.com to the “ALWAYS ALLOW” list. Due to the subject matter on our site, the Limit Adult Websites setting will block your access to covenanteyes.com.
Protect Young Eyes
One of our friends, Protect Young Eyes, is a strong advocate for online safety. They “help create safer digital spaces” and they specialize in educating parents. One of their articles contains detailed instructions about setting up other Screen Time features in iOS 13, these can also be done in iOS 14. Parents, we encourage you to check out the PYE website.