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Kids as young as 7 are finding ingenious ways around Apple's screen time controls

child iPhone apple
child iPhone apple

Getty Images/Mario Tama

  • Kids are finding ingenious ways to get around screen time controls on their Apple devices, according to reports from parents posted online.

  • One seven-year-old tricked the feature by uninstalling and reinstalling apps.

  • A 13-year-old changed the date and time on his device to circumvent the "downtime" his parent set.

Children are confounding their parents by finding ingenious away around Apple's screen time controls.

The British press picked up on an r/apple Reddit discussion, which features bemused parents sharing stories about how their kids are gaming the settings on their Apple devices.

Apple introduced "screen time" as a new feature on iOS 12, released earlier this month. It allows users to set restrictions on how much time users spend on apps, and schedule "downtime" in which they cannot use them.

Parents can use the feature to impose restrictions on their children's device usage — or so they thought. One Reddit shared the story of how their seven-year-old had gamed the feature, sparking a chat that has nearly 500 comments.

"When iOS 12 came out I limited my 7-year old son's screen time through the family share. For a few days I felt like he was playing a bit more than he should, but I couldn’t figure out why," u/PropellerGuy said.

"Finally today, my son revealed his hack: When he runs out of screen time and his games get locked, he heads to App Store, downloads a previously installed (but later removed) game through the cloud icon, and it works without limitations!"

"What can I say," they added. "I'm not even mad. That's impressive."

Another parent asked Apple's support forum how to get a step ahead of their teenage son, who had reset his phone's time and date to trick "screen time."

"I was so excited to turn on the screen time restrictions in the new iOS. Until my 13 year old found a work around within 2 minutes of handing his phone back to him during 'down time' — he went to settings and changed the date/time of his phone to an unrestricted time and voila! Free screentime again."

Simple yet elegant.

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