Kid-Proofing FaceTime

You guys. This is huge. My family lives an ocean away, and my husband’s family is also spread out over two countries. FaceTime is how they stay in our lives. My kids recognize all their grandparents and can keep up a relationship with them, and that’s worth it to me.

When my daughter was born, I was adamant we wouldn’t allow any screen time. That all went out the window as she got older and I had another child… although we did eventually pretty much ban devices — I control the TV, we’ve disabled auto-play on Netflix, etc. — so I feel more comfortable about that than devices where she ends up GLUED and had serious meltdowns when I have to take it away. (We do keep it for road trips/plane rides, although if I hold off on it it’s amazing how long she can keep herself entertained in the back seat!) Anyway. I have a lot to say about media coming up soon, (no judgment here, by the way… we’ve been all over the spectrum ourselves) but in the meantime I wanted to share a quick tip that’s super helpful for that grabby phase our baby Jonas is entering into! (by the way, I originally wrote this post when Adelina was one, so this was such a trip down memory lane… )

FaceTime is the one big exception to allowing our kids to use our phones/iPad, and I’m just not going to guilt-trip myself about it because this is our reality in a digital age with a family stretched out across the globe. In this case, we’re just going with the lesser of two evils.

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That being said, there’s a reality to all of this: kids love to touch stuff (<– understatement of the century). Especially shiny red buttons that pop up before you even touch the iPad screen. It was the bane of my existence when our daughter got more mobile and grabby — impossible to FaceTime because she WANTS TO HOLD THE PHONE NOW and cries if I hold it tantalizingly in front of her face (can you blame the child?) or inevitably hangs up on our family if I do. I just figured I should give Apple some feedback about the app and hope for a future update, but my mother-in-law suggested I google it.


Turns out it is incredibly simple to lock the touch screen while in an app. Problem solved! Here’s how:

Go to Settings > General >  Accessibility > Guided Access (under Learning)

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Activate Guided Access and make sure to also activate Accessibility Shortcut and set a Passcode. Once this is done, you’ll be able to triple-click the home button after starting a call and lock the touch screen (either the entire screen or just a portion of the screen). Then when you’re ready to unlock it, triple-click the home button again and enter your passcode. Done!

On the iPad you can lock the entire screen, on iPhones though you only have the option to circle a section of the screen you want to lock, which is weird. I just make the biggest circle I can and it usually works. Now, Jonas can “talk” to our family members without hanging up on them!

And can we talk about how ADORABLE Baby Adelina was?!?! I’m dying at these photos!!! ❤


One quick but important note: make sure you have the latest iOS version, at one point Apple had gotten rid of this function (I think it was iOS 7) and I happened to have that version when I tried this on my iPad. It was extremely frustrating until I did some searching and found out people were so upset, Apple eventually brought it back! As of January 2018, this still works!

Of course this doesn’t take care of the drooling/grimy fingers issue… but that’s an other issue entirely, ha! This post gives some extra tips for older kids, it’s pretty nifty. Isn’t this world amazing?


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