Apple Watch: A Viable Substitute for a Smartphone?
Apple's Family Sharing feature enables you to configure an Apple Watch for your child, managed entirely through your iPhone. This presents a fantastic compromise for children who aren't quite ready for a smartphone but are mature enough to handle some digital connectivity.
Let's delve into how it works and evaluate its safety.
Prerequisites for Implementing Screen Time Parental Controls on an Apple Watch:
1. A Series 4 or newer watch equipped with a cellular plan.
2. A new or factory reset watch.
3. An iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14 or newer.
4. Separate Apple IDs for yourself and the family member being added.
5. Two-Factor Authorization enabled on your Apple ID.
6. A Family Sharing group inclusive of the watch user, with you as a parent/guardian.
Guidelines for Setting up an Apple Watch for Your Child:
Provided you have an Apple Watch and an iPhone that meet the prerequisites, and a child eager to explore digital connectivity, follow these steps:
1. Strap on the Apple Watch and power it on.
2. Bring your iPhone close to the watch, wait for the pairing screen to appear, and tap continue.
3. Configure Screen Time on the watch via Apple's parental controls.
4. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
5. Tap My Watch, then Family Watches, select your child's watch, and tap Done.
6. Tap Screen Time, then Screen Time Settings, and finally, Turn on Screen Time.
If you've previously interacted with Screen Time features on an iPhone, the Apple Watch setup will feel familiar. You can now manage Communication Safety, screen time, app limits, etc. It's advisable to disable the App Store on the watch.
Take advantage of the Schooltime features, exclusive to Apple Watch, which allow parents to create customized daily schedules. Also, remember to set a 4-digit passcode.
In an emergency, children can briefly exit Schooltime by scrolling the Crown and selecting Exit. Detailed Schooltime reports available in the Apple Watch app document every exit, its duration, and timing.
Apple Watch mirroring, a feature that permits remote watch control via your iPhone, can be helpful, given the watch's smaller screen size.
To Enable Apple Watch Mirroring:
Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Apple Watch Monitoring.
To disable Monitoring, tap the gray X.
Checking Apple Watch Schooltime Logs:
- 1. Open the Watch app on the companion iPhone.
- 2. In the My Watch tab, tap on All Watches.
- 3. Open the watch in question, in the Family Watches section.
- 4. Tap on Schooltime.
- 5. Swipe up to see the reports. They show in which days, at what time, and for how long Schooltime was disabled.
Tip: You can also view Schooltime reports straight from the Apple Watch. Press the Digital Crown to open the Settings app, and then select Schooltime.
Despite all these controls, a tech-savvy child might find ways to exploit certain loopholes.
The Apple Watch has hidden browser access via Siri, Messages, and Mail.
Browser apps are available for download on the Apple Watch, but you can restrict App Store purchases from the Screen Time settings.
Children can now watch YouTube on an Apple Watch via the third-party app, WatchTube.
Spam texts can be monitored using Message Filtering under Screen Time settings.
Proceed cautiously with Apple Pay on the Apple Watch as it can send and receive money through iMessage. All transactions can be tracked via your iPhone.
Apple Watch Final Thoughts:
In conclusion, the combination of Family Sharing, Screen Time, and Schooltime renders the Apple Watch an enticing alternative to smartphones. However, it's vital to remember it remains a powerful device with some smartphone-like features. We advise against it for Elementary or early Middle School children. It could serve as a stepping stone to a smartphone for children transitioning into eighth grade.