Scroll forward 10 years later, when those same kids we made sure were wired for screens acquire language and ask for a smartphone: We just hand one over. Heaven forbid we send our progeny out into the playgrounds of the world as little, unwired pariahs.

It seems normal to give our teens and tweens frictionless access to the internet via palm-sized pipelines, but in doing so we should remember we are connecting them to hordes of friends and strangers on social networks (pdf), violent gaming worlds rendered in 3D, and porn on demand.

And while not every child will end up cyber-bullied or cross paths with a predator, I’d put money down that at best, every household with a child and a smartphone has spent time fighting about oversharing, overstimulation, lack of focus, and hours lost IRL.

Let’s be honest: As adults, we have trouble wrangling own our online habits. How do we model self-regulation? We rush though Goodnight Moon so we can binge on Game of Thrones.

Some parents cope by creating contracts. Many, too busy sustaining an income, don’t have time to police their kids’ screen use. Others, fumbling with the technology themselves, have thrown up their hands.

Though it’s tempting, we can’t lock up our kids until their brains develop executive function. We can, however, lock up their iPhones.

Here’s how:

Setting up parental controls

First, set up parental controls on your child’s phone. To do this, you need a four-digit PIN that acts as a lock. Do not lose or forget this PIN. It will cause all sorts of headaches down the road.

Now, you can create all kinds of guardrails for your kids.

Turning off app downloads

Restricting app downloads

Restricting specific apps

Turning off the camera

And if all else fails? Just confiscate the device. It works wonders. For a while.

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