Parents say Apple’s parental controls are failing them, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The company has acknowledged the issue and promised to make “updates to improve the situation.”
Issues with Downtime and Family Sharing have been reported as far back as 2020 in Apple forums.
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Some families who use Apple products say they’re having issues with the parental Screen Time controls, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Apple introduced Screen Time in 2018, and it included a setting called Downtime. The feature is meant to allow parents to restrict apps and limit screen time on their children’s iPhones, iPads, and iPods from their own devices.
Lately, parents are reporting that their changes haven’t gone into effect, and kids are getting extra time on their apps or even facing no restrictions on adult content.
“We are aware that some users may be experiencing an issue where Screen Time settings are unexpectedly reset,” an Apple representative told the Journal. “We take these reports very seriously and we have been, and will continue, making updates to improve the situation.”
When iOS 16.5 was released in May, Apple said the update would fix “an issue where Screen Time settings may reset or not sync across all devices.”
It’s unclear when the issue first began, but an Apple discussion page has complaints of parental control issues from as far back as 2020 and as recently as this month.
“I’ve used screen time for my kids to limit time on certain apps,” one user wrote in December. “It worked well for years, but now I will set the limits and then they will suddenly disappear after a day or even less.”
Others in the thread said they’d struggled with the issue for “months,” with some contacting Apple directly for help.
Mark Rowe, a CEO based in Boston, told the Journal he noticed one of his four children had no limits on their access to adult websites when he checked the Family Sharing settings.
“It’s frustrating that something that’s so simple and should work doesn’t,” Rowe told the newspaper. “How much time can I spend on this every week?”
In April, Apple CEO Tim Cook advised parents to set “hard rails” on their children’s screen time, and he’s previously voiced his concerns with technology usage in schools.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside regular working hours.
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