It’s part of modern parenting: Hand your kid a smartphone or tablet and let them watch a few videos. One mother in China did that -- and found her phone disabled for 47 years.

According to a local report cited by the South China Morning Post, she gave her phone to her son to watch educational videos. But when she returned home, she found that he’d repeatedly entered the wrong passcode, locking her out of the phone for over 25 million minutes.

A woman in China holds an iPhone that says it’s been disabled for more than 25 million minutes (Source: Kankanews.com)

It’s part of a security feature in iOS that locks a device when a series of incorrect passcodes are entered, with each failed guess increasing the time you have to wait.

Six wrong guesses? Wait one minute. Nine wrong guesses? Try again in an hour.

It's one of the reasons Apple’s handsets are so hard to crack that even the FBI said it couldn’t hack into an iPhone. It protects the iPhone from brute force attacks, where hackers enter every possible passcode until they (eventually) land on the correct one -- a method that just isn’t practical with the increasing delay.

But the woman in China isn’t alone in being an ordinary person caught out by this feature -- others have experienced the same headache before.

How do you fix it? According to Apple, the only way to reset your passcode is to wipe all data off the phone and start over. The mother in this story was told she could either do that... or wait for years.

So far, she has waited two months -- only another 46 years and ten months to go before she can show another video to her son.