There are a ton of Apple iPad guides and tutorials over the web. But very little info to guide parents of children under 5. If you are a parent, or about to be one, read this post.
A shiny toy/device like the iPad invariably draws children to it and there is little you could do to stop them from messing about with it. A bawling child is a argument you can’t win. And almost every time the iPad can act as a high-tech pacifier to get your child to do anything(stop bawling, eat their food, divert attention from other gadgets and give you some breathing time!).
Steps to defend your iPad
Familiarize yourself with the Settings –> General section. Almost all the stuff you have to do resides here.
Man the Gates with Passcode
This is your first line of defense.
Go to Home –> Settings –> General
Choose Passcode Lock and turn setting to on. You will be asked to select a four digit number. This will be your primary lock down step.
Note the Erase Data setting. After 10 unsuccessful logon tries the system would wipe out your data. Be careful with this. I have chosen to keep it on.
Next step is to enable various restrictions on what can be done on your device.
Right below Passcode Lock, you will find Restrictions entry. Switch this on and you will the screen shown here.
Again, to get here follow Settings –> General –> Restrictions.
Below entries should ideally be turned “OFF”
i) Installing Apps ii) Deleting Apps iii) Accounts iv) Location v) In-App Purchases vi) Multiplayer Games vii) Adding Friends viii)Safari ix)YouTube and x) iTunes
Of course doing this restricts capabilities of the device and makes it a little dumb but the whole point is to prevent kids from doing things you don’t want them to do. You can selectively enable these options when you want to.
If restricting all online media consumption options seems tyrannical then you can notch down things a little.
Choose the country you are in to get ratings relevant to your region. So this is Settings –> General –> Restrictions –> Ratings For.
All apps on the Apple platform are rated just like media.
This is a truly a smart way to think about Apps on a device like the iPad. Curation of apps by Apple ensures there is consistency in the ratings.
Select Allow Apps Rated. Choose the ratings relevant for your child’s age group.
Allowed Music & Podcasts
Select Allow Music & Podcasts Rated.
Turn this Explicit setting to “OFF”. You certainly don’t want kids watching dodgy stuff. Of course you can turn it back on when you are using the device.
Choose the option Allow Movies Rated. Select the rating options relevant again.
Allowed TV Shows
Select the Allow TV Shows Rated option.
Select the options most relevant for your child.
The Last Lockdown
After all this, you might get a little complacent and think you are safe. But kids have a way of getting their fingers into screens you never thought existed. This skill will put them and you in trouble especially when connected to the Internet. So my step is to shutdown ability to get online.
Go to Settings –> WiFi.
Switch the WiFi setting to “OFF”.
This would stop your iPad from getting online. This is most useful and can be used as a master switch, without fiddling with allowed ratings for various types of content and apps.
Important Note : On iTunes, ensure you don’t save your password. Require to provide this password every time. That way when your kid somehow gets to iTunes on the iPad or tries to buy something the password request dialog box will act as another line of defense. Remember, your credit card details are on iTunes and a simple click can wipe some serious money from your account.
Some Parting Words
It is a delight to watch your child pick up the UI idioms without blinking, as if it were all obvious. And therein lies the magic of what Apple has managed to deliver. For all the Android and other tablet fans out there, I really would like to see a first generation device that can be used by a child.
All said, if you are a new owner of an iPad, hearty congratulations. As an individual and as a parent it has exceeded my expectations in the first few days and am sure it will do the same for you. And do not take your child’s time with the device lightly, always ensure you have some adult supervising its use. Have fun.