Kids circumvent Apple’s ‘Screen Time’ parental controls with ease

Reed Albergotti for The Washington Post:

Helen Glaze didn’t think anything of it when her two sons told her they were looking for ways to get around Screen Time, Apple’s built-in tool that gives parents control of their kids’ phones. Then she discovered her 9- and 12-year-olds watching Minecraft videos at 2 a.m.

Kids are outsmarting an army of engineers from Cupertino, Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. And Apple, which introduced Screen Time a year ago in response to pressure to address phone overuse by kids, has been slow to make fixes to its software that would close these loopholes.

Everywhere from Reddit to YouTube, kids are sharing tips and tricks that allow them to circumvent Screen Time… “These are not rocket science, backdoor, dark web sort of hacks,” says Chris McKenna, founder of the Internet safety group Protect Young Eyes. “It blows me away that Apple hasn’t thought through the fact that a persistent middle school boy or girl can bang around and find them.”

McKenna said he’s miffed that Apple doesn’t fix the loopholes faster, despite its size, its massive hoard of cash and its copious profits. “In one day, I’m confident Apple could clean up all these loopholes,” he said.

MacDailyNews Note: McKenna has been compiling a list of loopholes of which he has informed Apple. He recently posted a how-to online in an effort to warn parents of these Screen Time loopholes and to help them close them when possible.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ladd” for the heads up.]


  1. I weep for this country if todays parents are that inept at being parents that they need a stupid built in tool on their smartphone to control their kids viewing time. The kids don’t need Screen Time to limit their viewing on their iPhones, iPads, or iMacs, they need Parenting! Here’s a crazy thought. If you don’t want to catch your kids watching Minecraft at 2 am, confiscate the damn phone at the dinner table and give it back to them the following morning.

    I have one set of parents that homeschooled three girls. They had tv for two months in the summer time, but when their schooling began, the TVs were put away up in their attic. #NoGarbageTVforYou

    Another set of parent with two boys, only had one computer for their boys to use, and if they wanted to use it, the boys went to the kitchen where they had it set up on a small desk. #NoPornForYou or #NoOccultForYou or #NoGarbageInternetForYou

    It’s really not that hard people.

    1. Actually, with your parenting style, I can certainly see why kids go wrong. Authoritarian style just doesn’t work anymore, as you will find out in about 10 years.

    2. Competers are INCREDIBLE research tools. TV provides plenty of excellent, educational content. That much restriction is, I think, foolish in the extreme. My homescooled kids are WAY beyond their peers in several areas… because of motivated research in areas that interest them.

  2. I won’t criticize parents who have difficult kids. It’s not hard to be a parent with angelic kids. Every kid has their own nature. Some have a strong stubborn streak and some don’t. Can’t be helped.

    Part of the issue with kids evading controls is that most parents are busy with jobs and other responsibilities, kids have way more time and curiosity and inventiveness and a lot friends to help them evade controls.

    I agree though that the best control is to set rules for when and where technology of all sorts can be used.

  3. We always delt with this by having our kids charge their devices in our bedroom at night. Problem solved.

    “But! They need their cellphone as an alarm clock.” Nope, go to Target, stand alone alarm clocks are under $10.

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