Avoiding Distraction with Guided Access


Contributed by Bill Campbell, Academic Technology Director

While digital technology provides access to an abundance of tools and resources that are helpful and are becoming a part of daily life, it also requires us to work at avoiding distractions. Last month I suggested scheduling Do Not Disturb mode on an iPad or iPhone as a way to avoid interrupted sleep by muting notifications. You can also enable it manually while working on any iOS device by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and tapping on the moon icon. However, another method to avoid distraction when you need to work in only one app is the Guided Access feature.

Guided Access allows you to lock your iOS device into one app until you disable it by entering a password you choose. For example, enabling Guided Access while reading an eBook is a good reminder to stay focused. Directions from Apple on how to setup and use Guide Access are available at https://goo.gl/Di4PNV I recommend this to help a willing student or adult to self-regulate and manage distractions as opposed to being a restriction imposed by someone else. (Some also find it useful when giving an iPhone or an iPad to a young child to use for a few minutes or when sharing a device to show photos.) Attempting to impose this on a middle-school student may not work because it is easy to defeat the restriction by simply doing a forced restart of the iOS device as Guided Access will be off when the device restarts. Managing digital distractions has become a life skill in the 21st century, and choosing to use Guided Access may help.