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Apple's new Families page details ways to monitor kids' iPhone use

The company, facing backlash over children's phone addiction, is trying to make it easier for parents to know what control features are already available.

apple-families-site

Apple launched a new site with information about tools to monitor kids' device usage, among other features. 

Apple

Apple is taking its first steps toward making it easier for parents to control their children's devices.

The company this week launched a new section on its website called "Families." The page includes information about parental controls, do not disturb and other features to help monitor kids' device usage. 

"You want to do what's best for your family. So do we," Apple said on its new page. "We're continually designing new features to help make sure kids use [their devices] in the ways you want."

None of the features detailed by Apple are actually new, though. They're simply now compiled in one place, making it simpler for parents to discover what they can do. 

Apple has been facing backlash from investors and device users over concerns about phone addiction among children. A 2016 report by social agency Influence Central said the average age for children to get a phone was 10.3, and Apple's devices remain among the most desired by children and teens. 

Two of Apple's major shareholders published an open letter in January that asked Apple to take a socially responsible approach toward children's device use. It cited concerns about mental health problems and other issues that come from heavy phone use. In response, Apple vowed to introduce new features to help parents manage their children's use of its smartphones. 

It's likely to be a topic Apple will address during its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 4 in San Jose, California.

The new Families page, meanwhile, gives parents information about usage monitoring tools, tracking capabilities, family sharing features, health programs, privacy, and classroom use of Apple devices. 

It noted the Kids section of the App Store includes "carefully curated" apps that can be restricted by whatever age parameters parents desire. Parents also have the ability to prevent kids from installing new apps or can enable a feature called "Ask to Buy" that requires the parents to approve or decline app purchases and downloads from the adults' device. 

Parents have the ability to keep track of where their kids are through the "Find My Friends" feature. They can share movies, games and other items through a shared iCloud storage account, among other family friendly features. 

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