We’re a pretty geeky family. Well, the husband and I are, at least. Our kids are tech-savvy, but that’s just a product of growing up in America today. I don’t think it necessarily earns you the ‘Geek’ title. Come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure what the requirement is these days.
At any rate, technology is here to stay, and some level of technical skill will be required in every career and field moving forward. Because of this new reality, Jeff and I have decided to embrace technology rather than fight it. (Plus we both really love it too.)
We’ve experimented with multiple tablets and devices and have found Apple devices to be the easiest to make kid safe, while still allowing access to as much as possible. Deep inside this is a painful statement for me to make. See, I am a PC girl, through and through. As a Journalism major in college, Macs were forced upon me. I had to use Quark, Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. At that time, these programs were only available on Macs, so I had no other choice but to bow my head and submit to Mr. Jobs.
If you would have told me back then that in the future I would actually choose an Apple product, I would’ve responded, “Yeah, right! Will I be drinking Pepsi, too?”
To avoid deep rooted shame, I have decided that the iPad and iPhone fall into the completely different category of handheld devices. For the record, I am still completely opposed to Mac desktops or laptops. 🙂
Alas, Apple devices allow for excellent restrictions and control. Here are the settings that we set up on devices that our children are allowed to use. The instructions are not written poetically, but I know when I am reading a ‘how to’ I prefer short and concise. The italicized words are the actual words that appear in the settings.
First, you must Enable Restrictions.
Go to Settings.
Click on General.
Scroll down and click on Restrictions.
Select Enable Restrictions. It will prompt you to set a passcode
Second, select the Apps you want to Block.
You simply slide the button to Off on application you want to block.
These are the settings that I have for my kids’ devices.
Some notes here: For Safari, you can choose to completely turn it off, but I select “Specific Websites Only.” There are preset websites listed, but you can just clear out the title and the web address and they will be deleted. Then I only allow sites that I deem danger-free.
Some of their allowed websites are PBS Kids, National Geographic Kids and OnePlace (where they can listen to Adventures in Odyssey). If the child clicks on a link to an external site or directly enters an address, a message pops up that says ‘This site is restricted,’ and they can’t get any further.
Third, set your preferred ratings for Music, Movies, TV Shows, Books and Apps.
Even if you don’t intend to allow your child to download any of these items, or at least not without your consent, I suggest setting ratings for them. It just provides an extra level of protection in unforeseeable circumstances.
Lastly, whenever possible, choose paid apps rather than free apps.
This isn’t a settings issue, but it is another way to block unwanted material. I know that it seems backwards to pay for something when you can also get it for free, but as we all know, free is never really free. Apps that are free to download make their money through advertisements, rather than purchase revenue. If you have the above settings in place, your child will not be able to access the app or product featured in an ad, however the images used in some ads are highly inappropriate for children, in my opinion.
So there you have it. Instructions to create a safer Apple handheld device for your kiddos. Let me again emphasize that I always suggest parental supervision when it comes to any kind of media, but these settings will allow for much safer screen time.
Stay tuned for my next post which will provide instructions on how to enable Apple Family sharing and creating child Apple accounts.