Father watching son looking at his mobile phone.

Every parent knows that with some toys, you either have to restrict how often they’re used, or take them away entirely, sometimes permanently. It’s true of iOS devices as much as video game consoles or other complicated toys. There are less draconian ways to keep kids’ device use under control, and they begin with device-issued parental controls. If you need to restrict or block an app, here’s how you can take care of it.

Parental control apps.

In the 40s and 50s, psychologist B.F. Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, better known as the “Skinner box.” You’ve likely heard of it: A rat is put in the box, and if it hits a lever, it gets a food pellet. The rat, over time, does nothing but work the lever. And while we’re more intellectually complicated than rats, social media and apps use similar techniques to keep kids and teens hooked. Here are five app features parents should look for, and how to manage them.

Mobile phone home screen with app icons.

In theory, data about children is not supposed to be collected online, under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. But according to the FTC, YouTube broke that law with its ad tracking tools. The FTC accuses the site of failing to protect kids’ privacy, bringing a multi-million dollar fine down on the Google empire that owns YouTube. While YouTube is making efforts to solve the problem, it only raises some wider questions about kids and the internet, and who should be responsible for them.

Characters from the Roblox gaming platform

Apps and online game trends come and go, but one of the most popular mobile games has stayed in the top spot for kids and tweens for several years. Roblox has taken its place in pop culture as one of the most popular games for elementary school and middle school

Group of students looking at a computer monitor together.

As schools become more tech-savvy, kids are spending more time at computers, on tablets, and otherwise working with screens. But should that count as “screen time” for parents’ purposes? It depends on how much time is spent, and why you’re concerned.

A group of school kids play on their phones as they lean against a wood fence

For many kids across countries, August or September means back to school. The transition from lazy summer days to studious school routines might be a tough adjustment for kids—especially those who favored screens over other forms of entertainment. Gone are the days and nights of gaming, chatting and watching videos

How Parents Can Block Apps on Their Child’s iPhone
Every parent knows that with some toys, you either have to restrict how often they're used, or take them away
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5 Features That Keep Kids Hooked on Apps and What Parents Can Do
In the 40s and 50s, psychologist B.F. Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, better known as the “Skinner box.” You've
Read more.
Parent Concerns Over YouTube Don’t End After FTC Fine
In theory, data about children is not supposed to be collected online, under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. But
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Complete Parent’s Guide to Roblox
Apps and online game trends come and go, but one of the most popular mobile games has stayed in the
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Should Screen Time at School Count Toward Kids’ Total Screen Time?
As schools become more tech-savvy, kids are spending more time at computers, on tablets, and otherwise working with screens. But
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Back to School: Screen Time Limits for Kids
For many kids across countries, August or September means back to school. The transition from lazy summer days to studious
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Yolo App for Snapchat: A Guide for Parents
Snapchat hasn't endeared itself to parents, with features like Snapstreaks that encourage using the app mindlessly. But a new addition,
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Monitor Your Kids with Cell Phone Tracking
Today, the average child receives their first cellphone when they are 10 years old. If you aren’t monitoring your child’s
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How to Transition Kids to School Year Screen Time Rules
It's almost time to head back to school, and for kids, that's always going to be something of an adjustment.
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