Apple rolled out a new iOS 13.3 software update today and along with it came additions to its Screen Time tools for the iPhone as well as the iPad that enables parents to monitor and control who their kids talk to via text messages, FaceTime and phone calls.
New Parental Control features
The new addition will let parents set restrictions over who their children can talk to and text with during a specific number of hours during the day. These limits will be applied across all means of communication including phone calls, text messages and FaceTime.
For instance, parents can prevent their children from talking to their friends if they've exceeded their screen time. This won't help if your kids use third-party apps to communicate with their BFFs, but it's a start.
Parents can choose to either let their kids contact or be contacted by everyone or only specific contacts in their phonebook, in order to prevent unknown people from calling them. This means parents could stop the child from texting or video chatting with friends late at night or during school hours.
The feature also allows the elders to manage the child's iCloud contacts remotely, making it easier for them to share phone numbers with their kids. But it also gives the parents full control of the contact list, which means only they can make changes to a contact's information.
Apple's solution to curbing tech addiction
Apple users and investors have urged the company to look into the way its devices and the innumerable apps available on them affects children as there is a mountain of evidence to support that increased phone usage among young kids is having a negative impact on their lives, including mental health problems.
The American multinational technology company responded by introducing Screen Times functions with iOS 12 last year, which helps parents keep track of what apps their kids are using and when, as well as create monthly and weekly reports that provide a detailed breakdown of the time they spend on the phone and for what.
How to download the update?
The iOS 13.3 update is now available for download on compatible iPhones and iPad OS 13.3 for compatible iPads. Downloading the update is quite simple, launch the "Settings" app on the device and then choose "General," followed by "Software Update," and then tap on "Download and Install." The update shouldn't take long to download if you have a fast broadband connection.