Being the remote master is a coveted position in our home. You’d think Dad would have that by default, and he does when he uses his app to override us all, but most of the time its one of the girls. Many times over this last summer I wished that I had remote control over access to my children’s devices. Especially the amount to time they spend on them. Welcome to ParentKit, an innovative app to control and schedule usage of your child’s iOS device.
Opening a ParentKit account enables you to upload a profile on their device that puts you in control, as much control as you feel you need. When you open the app you will be asked to create an account, from there you can add multiple devices to oversee by sending out an email that you open on their device. Follow the link to establish and install the profile. They won’t be able to see it unless they hunt for it. Once the profile was installed I could sit in my closet, if I chose, and exercise the power of Mom. I set up custom schedules of when the device is available for app use. I turned on and off FaceTime. I disabled Safari, YouTube and other media and listened to the kids try and figure out why things weren’t working or best, where all their apps went when I locked the iPods out . (When they came back on we found that the apps were scrambled all over and apps that had been grouped in a folder no longer were. Oops, it appears I made a mess for them to clean up ? Luckily they couldn’t hear my maniacal laugh.)
During the profile set-up I had a question about one of the instructions. It tells you to change the pass code on the device so that your child cannot delete the profile. I wanted to know just how easy it was to delete and why I had to change the code for everything. So I sent a message to support and was surprised by how quickly the developer got back with me. This is her helpful response and includes spoilers for the deletion.
When you send the email to your child’s device a profile is uploaded to it. This profile can be deleted. To protect against this happening, you can use a pass code. When you attempt to delete the profile you will be prompted for the code. To find the profile go to Settings> General> Profiles. Ideally we would like to pass code lock just this profile section of the device but Apple won’t allow us to do this. So for now it can only be protected by the general pass code you enter from the lock screen.
For my older teens who use their iPhone/iPad/iPods at school for research, changing their pass code isn’t ideal. Since I let them know last night with my power play that there is a profile on their device, I’ll ask them to leave it installed. Luckily for me they are pretty respectful and I’m not too worried they’ll delete it. Using my master control reminded them that when I think they are abusing their privileges I can in fact shut them down. One drawback for our family is that ParentKit doesn’t work on all our devices. Little Sis is fortunate enough to have an iPod to use whenever she wants. But, since she didn’t purchase it on her own it’s a hand-me-down 2nd gen and isn’t covered with the Kit.
I think the developer is on to something really good here and her quick reply from tech support shows her commitment to app users. If I were giving a younger child their first device I would be sure to install a profile and start them off with healthy viewing habits, I’d probably limit their ability to install or purchase apps until I know they understand about cost and purchase power. I think ParentKit is also a good tool when someone abuses their privileges and needs a gentle reminder of the rules. Overall this Mom says “Well done!”