Navigating the rapidly advancing digital world as a parent can be a bit daunting. And with nearly every child getting a tablet in their hands for remote education or entertainment, knowing how to keep kids safe with devices can be a bit...overwhelming.
Thankfully, the iPad comes with various parental controls to help you lock down your device and teach your kids how to use it safely. And once you know how to put in place the right settings, you can use the iPad to help your kids learn, play and grow.
Why Make An iPad Kid-Friendly?
You may be wondering - why take steps to make an iPad or other device "kid-friendly"? What does a kid-friendly device offer that other gadgets don't?
The answer is two-fold: to keep kids safe from inappropriate content and features while using the device and to help them build the habits and skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly.
Issues ranging from inappropriate online content to cyberbullying can be avoided by setting up parental controls on your child's iPad.
Getting Started: Set up a Child’s Apple ID
Before jumping into the parental control settings, you need to set up an Apple ID for your child. This is important because it gives you the ability to manage their downloaded apps, purchase history, safety settings, and privacy.
Here's a simple walkthrough to set up a child's Apple ID:
- Open the Settings app, tap your name, and then tap Family Sharing.
- Look for Add Family Members and then Create a Child Account.
- Follow the onscreen instructions by adding your child's birthday and agreeing to the Parent Privacy Disclosure.
- Verify your payment information, create an Apple ID for your child, and set a password.
Much like any other profile, your child’s Apple ID will need to be verified using two-factor authentication. You can choose between receiving a verification code via text message or through the Find My app on another Apple device. This will help ensure that only you and your child can access their account.
Activating Parental Controls on iPad
There are two primary ways to set up parental controls on an iPad. You can use built-in features within the operating system or install third-party parental control apps that give you more customization options and better reporting.
Let's see what Apple offers parents to help them manage their children’s iPads and iPhones:
Screen Time is the built-in parental control app that allows you to set time limits for specific apps, block certain kinds of content, and manage your child’s contact list. It also blocks access to websites and lets you review their activity report.
Screen Time provides various tools to control your child's device usage - from limiting app usage time to prohibiting certain types of content.
By promoting a balance between on-screen activities and other aspects of life, Screen Time can help your child develop healthy habits. Plus, it can enhance your child's safety by preventing access to inappropriate content and safeguarding their privacy.
How to Set Up Screen Time
- Go to 'Settings' on your iPad.
- Tap on 'Screen Time'.
- Tap 'Turn On Screen Time'.
- Tap 'Continue'.
- Choose 'This is My [device]' or 'This is My Child's [device]'.
As a parent, set up Screen Time and adjust device settings directly on your child's device. Or, use Family Sharing to configure your child's device from your own. Once set up, activate Screen Time for your child's device.
What Are The Features of Screen Time?
- Downtime: This feature allows you to set a specific schedule where only certain apps will be allowed, promoting healthier device habits.
- App Limits: You can set time limits for categories of apps, like games or social media, controlling how much your child can spend on these.
- Communication Limits: Control who your child can communicate with (via calls, FaceTime, Messages, and iCloud Contacts) during both Screen Time and Downtime.
- Content & Privacy Restrictions: You can block or limit specific apps, restrict settings for explicit content, and control privacy settings.
- Use Screen Time Passcode: This prevents children from changing the Screen Time settings, providing an additional layer of control.
Family Sharing is another great way to manage your child’s device. You can invite other family members (like a spouse or grandparent) to join Family Sharing and manage certain settings for their devices. With Family Sharing, you can set up things like shared calendars, shared iCloud storage, and more.
How To Set Up Family Sharing
- Go to 'Settings' on your iPad.
- Tap on your name at the top to access Apple ID settings.
- Tap 'Set Up Family Sharing'.
- Tap on 'Get Started'.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your family and invite members.
What Are The Features of Family Sharing?
- Share Purchases: You can share iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases, an Apple Music family plan, and an iCloud storage plan.
- Location Sharing: This allows family members to share their locations. Screen Time for Kids: You can view reports and adjust your child's Screen Time settings from your device.
- Ask to Buy: This allows children to request purchases. When a child initiates a purchase, an alert is sent to the parent, who can review and approve or decline the purchase from their device.
Family Sharing helps the family to share purchases, subscriptions, and more, without having to share accounts. It also allows parents to keep an eye on their children's digital habits and intervene if necessary. The "Ask to Buy" feature provides an additional layer of control over what content a child can access or purchase.
Third-Party Parental Control Apps
You can also opt to install third-party parental control apps on your child’s device. These can help you to monitor web browsing activity, block inappropriate content and websites, set time limits for how long the device can be used in a day, and more.
If you opt for this solution, make sure to do your research beforehand and choose an app that will best meet your needs.
There are many options available on the market, ranging in price and practicality. Some popular options include:
- OurPact: This is a parental control app that allows parents to manage their children's screen time, block apps, set daily screen time allowances, and schedule screen time according to the child's daily routine.
- Net Nanny: Net Nanny allows parents to monitor their child's online activity, filter content, and block inappropriate websites. It has a powerful real-time internet filter that can mask profanity, block adult content, and provides alerts and reports to parents.
- Kidslox: Kidslox is a parental control app that allows parents to manage their child's device usage, block distracting apps and websites, and set age-appropriate limits on how long the device can be used in a day.
- Bark: Bark monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and more than 30 other apps and social media platforms for safety concerns. Parents will get automatic alerts when Bark detects potential issues, like cyberbullying or online predators.
Other Tips for Kid-FriendlyiPads
Want to create the ultimate kid-friendly iPad? Here are a few other ideas that can help make it easier for you and your child to use:
Enable Guided Access
With Guided Access, you can keep your iPad focused on a single app and have control over the available features. It's especially useful for younger children who may easily get sidetracked by other apps or features.
- Go to 'Settings' > 'Accessibility' > 'Guided Access'.
- Turn on Guided Access.
- Within the app you want to lock, triple-click the home button (or the side button on iPads with Face ID) to start Guided Access.
Check and Update Privacy Settings
In some cases, you may have to check and adjust privacy settings for your child’s apps. Most apps will provide some type of setting or preference that allows you to control how much personal information is shared with the app.
- Go to 'Settings' > 'Privacy'.
- Select the type of data and then which apps have permission to access that data.
Use a Kid-Friendly Case
Physical protection is also essential. Use a durable, child-friendly case to protect against drops or spills, and consider a screen protector to guard against scratches. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches if you invest in an iPad case designed for kids.
Find The Best Kid Friendly iPad and More with TekReplay
With these helpful tips, you can turn your iPad into a kid-friendly device that is safe but also educational and entertaining. Technology has the potential to grow with your child, providing opportunities for learning and creative exploration.
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