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Put an iPad and a child in the same household, and you may have trouble separating the two. Children gravitate toward iPads. What’s more, they seem to intuitively figure out how to use these devices in a way that never ceases to amaze. But therein lies the problem. If you’re not careful, you might find junior downloading inappropriate apps or ringing up charges on your iTunes account that you didn’t anticipate. You can relieve yourself of these worries by taking a few simple precautions. These tips also apply to child-proofing your iPhone.
Turn off the erase data option
A thief gets hold of your iPad. If this person fails after 10 unsuccessful attempts to enter the correct passcode, your iPad automatically reformats itself, erasing all of your data, contacts, phone numbers, everything. Sure, this feature is a blessing if your iPad falls into the wrong hands, but not if those hands belong to your precocious four-year old. To keep your data intact, turn off the erase data option on your iPad. To do so, tap ‘General’ and ‘Passcode Lock’ and toggle ‘Erase Data.’ Make sure to back up your iPad regularly as an added precaution.
Apple has included a full bevy of parental control options in its iOS 7. To find them, tap ‘Settings,’ choose ‘General’ and then ‘Restrictions.’ On the next screen, tap ‘Enable Restrictions’ and you’ll be asked to enter a passcode. You will probably want to choose a different passcode than the one for you iOS device.
Once you enter a passcode, you’ll be presented with a long list of options for limiting what junior is allowed. At the top of that list are apps and features you can toggle on and off. Start by disabling ‘Installing Apps’ and ‘Deleting Apps.’ This way, your child will need to ask permission before downloading a new app. If your child is a gamer, you may also want to turn-off ‘In-App Purchases.’ This option disables the ability to buy costly extras within games and apps.
Continue scrolling down and you’ll find plenty more options, including those that let you restrict certain types of content for media you don’t want your child to access. You can block music with explicit lyrics and TV and movies with specific ratings. You can also limit access to adult content on the web or restrict web access to a handful of selected sites. If you have a younger child, another option is to disable Safari (Apple’s default browser) completely and install a child safe browser such as Net Nanny or Mobicip.
Set an iTunes allowance
As kids get older, they become ready for more responsibility, but too much too fast is no good. A good idea for limiting iTunes purchases is to set your child up with a separate iTunes account with no credit card associated with it. This way, if your child wants an app, movie or song, you can simply gift the item to him or her. Another option is to set up an allowance for $10 to $50 a month. To do this, go to the iTunes Store, select ‘Send iTunes Gifts.’ From there, scroll down to the allowance section and click ‘Learn more about gifting.’ You can change the amount of an allowance or stop it at any time.
Invest in a sturdy cover
Kids can be rough on iPads, so you’ll want to get a durable cover that protects your device from random drops and falls and other mishaps. If you share your personal iPad with a child, consider something like the CaseCrown Omni, which provides protection on all four corners of the device yet is still appropriate for adult use. If your child has his or her own iPad, you might look at the Gumdrop Bounce, a rugged silicon case designed for classroom use. Or for even younger children, the Speck iGuy has arms that serve as handles and feet that make for a fun way to stand the iPad up when watching movies.
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