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You've Got the Power! How to Turn Off Your Child's Phone Remotely
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  • Ending screen time can be challenging, with your kids negotiating for an extra hour or two with their phones or tablets. We’re sure you’ve heard pleas and have made deals with them, with some children promising to turn their devices off on the agreed time. But do they really stop using their gadgets?

    How to turn off your child’s phone remotely

    Taking away his phone at night isn’t the only way to make sure they get a good night’s sleep (and avoid any inappropriate late-night use). You can enable settings that lock phones from dusk 'til dawn — or any other time you want to make them unavailable. Aside from looking into devices and apps with parental controls, here are more hacks to help you manage your child’s screen time:

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    How to turn off iPhones

    You can accomplish this by enabling Downtime in the OS. Located in the Screen Time settings, Downtime makes an iPhone more like a regular phone: Kids can still call, text, FaceTime, and use any apps that you allow, such as a music-streaming app. But you can also turn off everything but the calling feature if you wish. You can enable Screen Time on your kid's phone and protect the settings with a pass code, or you can remotely manage your kid's phone by setting everyone up on Family Sharing.

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    • Go to Settings on your kid's phone.
    • Tap Screen Time.
    • Tap Use Screen Time Passcode and enter a pass code (this locks the setting so kids can't change it back).
    • Tap on Downtime, toggle it on, and set a Start and End Time.
    • If you want to turn off messaging and FaceTime during Downtime, go to Screen Time/Always Allowed/Allowed Apps and remove them.
    • If you want to manage your kid's phone using your own phone, first set up Family Sharing and then enable Screen Time settings.

    How to turn off Android phones

    Google's Family Link app allows you to schedule a span of time for the phone to be off, such as bedtime. But you can also completely lock the device so kids can't even get into it. Family Link requires two downloads, one for your phone and one for your kid's.

    • Download the Family Link for Parents app on your phone (available for iOS or Android).
    • Download the Family Link for Children & Teens on your kid's phone (available for Android only).
    • On your phone, create a family manager account.
    • Once your kid's profile is set up, select Bedtime and set the span of time your kid can't use their phone.
    • If you want to completely shut down your kid's device, go to their profile and tap "lock."
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    How to turn off any phone on the network

    If you're somewhat tech savvy, you can see if your router software (which you can find on your main home computer) offers the ability to disconnect devices from the network. Otherwise, get in touch with your internet service provider to inquire about this. Some ISPs also offer robust parental controls, such as content filtering, website blocking, and location services, as a built-in feature or a service that you can access through an app.

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    Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out its ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org and sign up for its newsletter to read more articles like this.

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