“Help! I can’t figure out how to protect my children when they’re on my iPad”! That is perhaps the most asked question in my presentation related to the Responsible Use of Technology. As I have discussed many times, parenting today is much more difficult in many ways than just 10 years ago. For example: Ten years ago we had smart phones – but they were only used by people in business. Apps were more related to business software than for education or entertainment. Times have changed my friend. So, how can you quickly turn that wonderfully sleek and powerful iPhone or iPad into a device for your children? Let’s take a look.
The fastest way is to possibly purchase one of the many mobile monitoring program on the market. However, they each come with their own set of consequences. For example: They tend to eat the battery life of your child’s phone and your’s. Additionally, depending on how you have the system installed, they might overburden you with more information about your child’s activity than you have time to view. That said, there are many great programs such as uKnowKids, Phone Sherriff, mSpy and many others. You can read more about several of these at http://cell-phone-monitoring-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
It’s all in the Restrictions
We must first take a look at turning on our restrictions. As the word implies, this allows you to restrict what applications you wish to allow on the iPad or iPhone. NOTE: For the sake of ease I’ll use the term iPad throughout this article.
First, access your iPad’s setting by clicking the gear icon your screen. Now choose the GENERAL settings from the menu on the left and then scroll down until you see RESTRICTIONS – which is about midway down the screen on the right.
Touch the RESTRICTION settings – and then touch ENABLE RESTRICTIONS at the top. So, you’re thinking, “Oh no, not another code or password”? Well, yes, but this will ensure that your child can’t go back in and make changes.
Enter a code that your child won’t easily figure out. Now you’re set to begin.
Something to consider: Disabling Safari and YouTube
Two programs that come preinstalled on your iPad are Safari and YouTube. You can’t delete them – but you can restrict or disable their use. How? Simply flip the small switch on the screen that is adjacent to Safari and YouTube to OFF. Don’t worry; you can just as easily flip them back to ON when you wish to use the device.
I’m not suggesting that you disable Safari because as you’ll see, you can limit the websites that your child visits through other actions. However, if you decide to disable the browser, there are other kid-friendly browsers that you can install. For example, if you click this link you can learn more about the Mobicip Browser. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobicip-safe-browser-parental/id299153586?mt=8
Now… back to disabling apps. You can do the same thing with each of the apps that you see on your screen after disabling Safari and YouTube. For example the teen favorite “FaceTime”. Although you may wish to use FaceTime to communicate with out-of-town family and friends – you may not want your child using the app without your permission. Remember, you can always enable any of these apps when the time is right.
Some parents might wish to disable iTunes.
Although understand there is a lot of good programming and age-relevant music and videos through the app. But keep in mind, iTunes will ask you for a password before you or your child can download. As long as you “own” and don’t share that password with your child, there is little or no chance of them downloading something you’re not aware of. Moreover, you can choose the appropriate age restrictions of that music as well. As with FaceTime, iTunes downloads may be turned on when needed and then of courses turned off again following the downloading of the content.
What About email Accounts?
There may be a reason for you to disable the addition or changing of email accounts. To accomplish this action – simply access the Accounts tab under ALLOW CHANGES.
My kids are always using apps. Do I really need to manage their website access?
The short answer is… Of course you do. But it’s not that difficult. Keep in mind that there are many ways to control websites that your child might visit simply with the built-in features of the iPad. For example: while in the RESTRICTIONS area, simply go to ALLOWED CONTENT. Toward the bottom of that area is an option called WEBSITES. You may instruct the iPad to allow all websites; limit adult content; or you may simply add the websites that are accessible on that iPad.
You can also enter age restrictions and allowed content for most other media.
Should I Consider Turning Off App Downloads?
I recall many years ago various faith-based groups would rate movies based on their moral compass. It worked as long as your compass was calibrated similarly. Although Apple does a better job than most on their ratings – they might not sync with your family’s values. My suggestion is to turn off app downloads completely. That will assure that your child doesn’t stumble upon something you may need to explain over dinner in front of the rest of your family.
You might also wish to turn off the ability to delete apps. This will eliminate your child deleting something that you might want for your own use.
Turn Off In-App Purchases
Then there is the illusion of FREE. You know those games and apps that suggest an exciting game or self-help app that comes without cost? Well, nothing in life is free – the same is true with apps. These apps are marketed as free – but they are chock-full of in-app purchases. These purchases, can easily add up to an unexpected credit card disaster. Moreover, they have a tendency to leak your data – such as name, email, address etc. Why take the chance?
In essence, when you take the time to turn off in-app purchases, your child will lose the ability to buy these extras within games and apps. Your heart rate will be reduced and you’ll sleep better at night. The turn off In-App Purchases can be easily accessed in the same general area as all other restrictions.
Hey! Somebody told me I should turn off my Wi-Fi!
Depending on what you’ve got going on in your digital family, you might want to consider turning off your device’s Wi-Fi. However, if you’ve followed the other instructions we’ve described, it’s generally not necessary. Essentially, you’ve locked down your child’s iPad. There aren’t many things they can do without your knowledge.
For example: If you’ve disabled apps like Safari and YouTube and disabled the ability to download new apps, you have managed what your child can and cannot access. But if it makes you feel better to turn off their access to Wi-Fi on that device you can do the following:
If you have a secured Wi-Fi network, simply tell the device to forget your Wi-Fi password by accessing the available Wi-Fi networks and touching the blue button pointing to the right. The iPad will provide a screen with information about your Wi-Fi connections. You may select choose “Forget this Network”. In the future, anyone using that network will need to know the password to activate the connection.
Now, make certain your child can’t access an unsecured network in your neighborhood. These will show up as networks with an open lock when you access the Wi-Fi button. That means anyone can access the network. It also means that if you login to such a network you have no idea if your iPad is being compromised by what is known as a sniffer or side-jacker. Such activity allows a hacker to monitor what you’re doing while you’re on their network and steal your information. You can learn more about such activity by clicking this link. http://securityonipad.com/ipad-security-are-public-wifi-hotspots-safe#.VE6NKvldVq0
If you don’t have a secured Wi-Fi network at home… shame on you. However, this article should help you in achieving such security. http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/secure-home-wifi
If that’s too confusing… simply unplug your router from the wall.
Great! Now I’ve eliminated the ability to download apps! What now?
Have no fear, all you’ve done it make the iPad kid-ready. But you can easily add other relevant, age-related apps.
There are two ways you can download apps to the iPad once it has the restrictions in place. First, go back to the RESTRICTIONS page and turn on app downloads. Now you may download the app or game. When finished, you can turn app downloads back off again.
Another method is to download the app or game using you PC and iTunes. When finished, simply sync your iPad to your PC. See, it’s not that difficult.
If you’re one of those people that learn better by seeing rather than reading – I have embedded a YouTube video that provides some similar information. I hope that you have found this helpful.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time at the following addresses:
Stephen J Smith
Director of Educational Leadership
4600 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212
Out of the box, the ipad lacks the same controls of a pc. In this video i will demonstrate how to enable parental controls that make the ipad safe for kid use. Also, I will show you a kid friendly browser that supports parental controls. the browser is called Mobicip