How to set-up parental controls on your iPad

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Restrictions 04-15-15, 6.44.10 PMNow-a-days, kids are far more technologically advanced than most of their parents were at the same age much less now. This is both a blessing and a curse for us as parents, though. I think it’s great that my 7 year old can pick up an iPad and get his reading and math homework done using a touch interface that he is already very comfortable and proficient with. I find it helpful and thoughtful that his school supports a paperless initiative when it comes to the tools he uses for learning.

As a parent, the flip-side of this story is that there will come a time in the very near future—sooner than I probably would like to admit, that he will begin to explore the cyber-world outside of his academic bubble. This scare the hell out of me at times. The internet can be a wonderful learning tool, but it can also be a window to so much more—much of which can be very damaging to children—especially young ones.

I have already experienced a taste of this world with my oldest son who is 12. He is a very trustworthy young man, but he is also at an age of maturity and discovery and is naturally curious about everything else that goes along with growing up.

Luckily, when it comes the iPad, and iOS devices in particular, Apple has made it easier to monitor and prevent your child from being exposed to material you deem inappropriate for their age with the use of Restrictions. This is a very thorough, detailed section that can appear a little overwhelming at first with the sheer number of options.  However, if you take each section step-by-step, it’s really pretty self explanatory and fairly easy to understand.

How to decide which apps to allow

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Start by going to the Settings App–>General–>Restrictions.  Click on Enable Restrictions.  Once you do so, you will be prompted to enter a unique passcode–preferably one that is different from the unlocking passcode you set up on your iPad.  At this point you can choose which Apple apps to allow the user unrestricted access to.  Sliding the tab from green to white will remove it from appearing on the home screen of the iPad.  No worries, though, you can add back at any time.  In addition to restricting individual apps, you may also restrict whether the user can install or delete apps as well as if they have access to make in-app purchases.  The last one is a big deal, especially if you have children that either already know your iTunes password, or are aware that you have authorized a purchase in the last 15 minutes–which can activate protocols allowing for additional downloads or in-app purchases without a passcode when made less than 15 minutes apart.  You can even decide to enforce the entry of your iTunes password before free apps are downloaded.

How to monitor Content on your iPad

Monitoring the content that is displayed on your iPad is simple to adjust as well.  You can decide if you wish to permit the playing of explicit music as well as what rating system you want enforced for movies, music, books and more.  You can also limit what website data you want your child exposed to by limiting  the availability of adult content in Safari, in addition to blocking specific websites.

How to adjust Privacy Settings on your iPad

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Privacy Settings are a very important category on the iPad which encompass many categories–including…

  • Location Services
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Photos
  • Location sharing
  • Bluetooth Sharing
  • Microphone
  • Social
  • Advertising

Privacy settings are generally manipulated on an app by app basis, and can be adjusted for one or all of your installed apps in one central hub.  For instance–with location services you can set the permissions for all the apps installed on your iPad.  Most often you choose whether the app can use your location all of the time, or never.  In certain apps, though, you also have a third option which  allows location services when the app is being used.

How to restrict changes to core functions on the iPad

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The last important restriction setting is designed to oversee whether or not changes to certain iPad functions will be allowed by the user.  These include changes to account settings in Mail, Contacts & Calendars, control over Cellular data use, whether or not apps are allowed to refresh in the background, volume control limits, and Game Center settings.  Let us know if you have any questions making any of these adjustments to any of these settings on your iPad.

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