How do you turn off parent permission for apps?

In today’s digital world, smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous, even for children. While these devices provide many benefits, they also come with risks like exposure to inappropriate content, overuse, and overspending on in-app purchases. This is why many parents set up parental controls that require their permission before kids can download or use certain apps. However, as kids get older, excessive restrictions can feel stifling and damage trust. So when is the right time to start removing parent permission requirements for apps?

When should you stop monitoring your child’s app permissions?

There is no set age when parent permissions for apps are no longer needed. Every child matures at a different pace. However, there are some general guidelines based on child development stages:

  • Ages 5-9: Keep parent permissions enabled for all apps. Closely monitor app usage and set time limits.
  • Ages 10-12: Consider removing permissions for educational and creative apps rated age appropriate. Keep monitoring entertainment apps.
  • Ages 13-15: Remove permissions for most apps but maintain control over social media, web browsers, purchase permissions. Monitor from afar.
  • Ages 16-17: Remove most parent permission requirements other than purchase approvals. Move to coaching rather than monitoring.

Regardless of age, open communication and trust are key. Explain your rules and reasons to your child. Involve them in app and permission decisions as they gain independence. Monitor and guide usage rather than control. Adjust restrictions as needed rather than on a fixed schedule.

How to remove parent permission requirements on iOS

If your child has an iPhone or iPad, follow these steps to remove your permission requirements for specific apps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your child’s iOS device.
  2. Tap “Screen Time” or “Parental Controls”.
  3. Enter your parent passcode if required.
  4. Tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions”.
  5. Select your child’s name.
  6. Tap “Allowed Apps”.
  7. Find the app you want to update and tap it.
  8. Toggle off “Require Parent’s Approval”.

This will allow your child to use that app without needing your permission each time. You can toggle parental approval back on at any time for any app.

How to remotely manage app permissions on iOS

If you want to manage your child’s iOS permissions from your own device, use the Family Sharing features:

  1. On your device, open Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing > Screen Time.
  2. Tap your child’s name.
  3. Tap “App Limits” to set daily time limits for app categories or individual apps.
  4. Toggle off “Ask for Approval” for each app you want to remove permission requirements for.

Removing parent permissions on Android

For kids with Android phones or tablets, use these steps:

  1. Open the Family Link app on your parent device and select your child’s name.
  2. Tap “Manage Settings”.
  3. Select “App Permissions”.
  4. Choose the app you want to update.
  5. Toggle “Ask for approval” off.

This will stop notifications from appearing on your device whenever your child tries to use that app. Repeat for each app permission you want to remove.

How to remotely manage app permissions on Android

To update Android app permissions from your parent device:

  1. In the Family Link app, go to Manage Settings > App Permissions.
  2. Tap “App approvals”.
  3. Toggle off “Require approval” for each app permission you want to remove.

You can also set time limits for app categories or individual apps here.

Removing app purchase approvals

Even if you remove app permissions, you may still want to keep approval requirements for purchases to prevent surprise bills. Here’s how for iOS and Android:

iOS purchase approval settings

  1. On your child’s device, open Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases.
  2. Choose whether to block app purchases entirely or keep “Always Require” enabled to force approvals.

Android purchase approval settings

  1. In Family Link on your parent device, go to Manage Settings > Purchase approvals.
  2. Toggle app purchase approvals on or off as desired.

Even with purchase approvals off, be sure to occasionally monitor your child’s app spending. Set clear expectations for appropriate purchases.

Tips for loosening app restrictions

As your child grows up, you can gradually remove app permissions to grant them more independence. But avoid removing all restrictions overnight. Follow these tips for handling this transition:

  • Have an open conversation explaining your reasons for changing app permissions.
  • Agree on app and usage limits together to help them learn self-monitoring.
  • Spot check device use and set usage times when you have full access.
  • Reinforce responsible usage and have them earn your trust before removing more permissions.
  • Keep purchase approvals on until your child consistently demonstrates good judgment with spending.
  • Develop a parent-child contract formalizing app usage rules and consequences for violations.

Using app restrictions appropriately

App permissions and parental controls need to adapt as your child grows up. Consider these tips on age-appropriate restrictions:

Ages 5-9

  • Enable permissions for all apps to avoid unapproved access.
  • Only allow educational, creative, and rated age apps.
  • Set 1-2 hour daily screen time limits split across devices.
  • Disable in-app purchases entirely.
  • Keep devices out of bedrooms overnight.

Ages 10-12

  • Allow access to general audience apps and websites unless concerning content is found.
  • Permit productivity and learning apps without approval.
  • Increase overall screen time to match needs for homework.
  • Keep app purchase approval required.
  • Monitor search and viewing history periodically.

Ages 13-15

  • Remove permissions for benign apps but maintain control over social, browser, purchases.
  • Allow access to mature apps if age appropriate.
  • Disable restrictions during school and homework time.
  • Enable location sharing and safe riding modes.
  • Communicate and set expectations for appropriate usage rather than rely solely on controls.

Remember that app permissions are not a foolproof parenting method. No tool replaces open communication, good judgment and mutual trust between parents and children.

Encouraging responsible use

Here are some ways to teach your child healthy app usage habits before fully removing restrictions:

  • Model good habits yourself. Follow your own rules about device usage times and avoiding distractions.
  • Help them self-regulate. Let them participate in setting screen time limits and usage rules.
  • Suggest alternative activities. When they’ve hit app limits for the day, nudge them towards outdoor play, reading, family time, and other screen-free fun.
  • Set usage priorities. Require homework and chores to be finished before entertainment apps.
  • Enforce etiquette. Require polite usage without devices at the dinner table, during conversations, and in other social settings.
  • Verify content suitability. Occasionally review their apps, social feeds, and browsing history to catch problems early.

Building responsibility and trust takes patience, but pays off with kids who make wise usage decisions without constant monitoring. Stay engaged and offer guidance to prepare them for the freedoms of adulthood.

Signs your child is ready for less restrictions

How can you tell when your child is mature enough to start backing off app limitations? Watch for these positive signs of responsibility:

  • They abide by current app restrictions without trying to circumvent them.
  • They demonstrate good judgment about content and spending when given freedom.
  • They moderate usage on their own without parental reminders.
  • They comply with household device usage policies and rules.
  • They fulfill school & other major priorities before recreational app use.
  • They show honesty about their activities and app interests when you check in.
  • They demonstrate growing maturity and responsibility in general.

While age is a factor, mental development matters more than numbers. Gauge their demonstrated readiness before granting more digital autonomy.

Alternatives to app restrictions

Limiting apps is a common initial approach to managing kids’ digital lives. But as they grow, you may want to transition to less restrictive methods like:

  • Family media plan: Agree on device rules together and formalize expectations.
  • Digital citizenship lessons: Teach topics like privacy, safety, etiquette, and media literacy.
  • Active co-use: Stay involved by gaming or browsing together and discussing content.
  • Monitoring accounts: Follow their social media and YouTube activity for problems.
  • Open conversation: Maintain an open, non-judgmental dialog about their online activity.

Staying involved, teaching self-monitoring skills, leading by example and trusting their progressing maturity will serve you better than rigid restrictions.

Fostering digital wellbeing over restriction

The goal of limiting a child’s app access is ultimately to teach moderation and foster healthy digital habits. Rules alone can’t achieve this – it takes engagement and guidance. Here are some ways to promote kids’ digital wellbeing beyond restrictions:

  • Discuss online safety and ethics so they learn to self-regulate wisely.
  • Explore apps and games together so you understand what holds their interest.
  • Listen without judgement when they share their online interactions and concerns.
  • Equip your home with screen-free zones and activities to encourage balanced living.
  • Model prudent habits yourself like putting away devices for focused conversation.
  • Guide kids to use technology as a tool for learning and enrichment rather than just entertainment.

As digital natives, children need parents’ active participation more than just restrictions. With support and room to gain experience, they can thrive online and off.


Parental controls over apps provide necessary safeguards and structure in younger kids’ digital lives. But as they approach the teen years, excessive limitations can impede maturity. With open communication and demonstrated responsibility, permissions can be pulled back gradually according to each child’s readiness. Maintaining coached oversight and accountability rather than restriction allows appropriate freedom. While technology always requires vigilant parenting, building digital ethics, literacy and self-control equips kids to make wise choices even without constant monitoring. With care and wisdom, parents can guide their children’s journey to digital adulthood.

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