New iPhone or iPad and managing how the kids use themRoddy Bergeron
If your family is like a large portion of the USA and one of the kids got a new iPhone or Ipad for Christmas, then the next step is making sure that they use it in a way that you are comfortable, but still get the most out of having this device. You are probably hoping they will use it for educational games and watching cartoons and not stumbling upon content for grownups online or buying apps that you don’t want to pay for. If you are loaning the little ones your own smartphone, you risk them deleting your email, contacts , or texting people.
Managing their access is possible by combining a few specific apps and taking advantage of some of the features on the device itself. Using the “guided access” feature, you can prevent any touches from doing anything and disable any gestures for certain areas of the screen. Here is a link from Apple on how to set up Guided Access. You basically go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access and you can disable touches or whatever you need to do to make sure the intended task isn’t abandoned. Now, when you give your child your phone to watch Netflix shows, you don’t have to worry about anything else being clicked or accessed.
There are also apps that you can download that allow you to monitor, regulate, approve, and filter the content and access the phone has. This article covers ten various apps that can do these things. Some highlights are a youtube filter app called Kidsafe Youtube Lite. This app runs Youtube, but filters out content so that only child friendly content is accessible. It also has a timer that you can set that only lets them watch it for a set amount of time. Along that same line of thinking, there are at least 3 apps on the list that are safe web browsers, that come with time limits as well. In some cases, you can remotely monitor which sites they are going to.
Other existing tools on iPhone software
Those third-party tools, and standard features of the iPhone software allow you to play Big Brother to the kinds pretty easily. For instance, with the Find My iPhone app, you can ease concerns or just double check to make sure they are where they need to be (home, practice, en-route to the house) without calling or anything via your own phone or a web browser. A valuable option for any free-range parents with kids biking around the neighborhood.
If you are needing to access text messages, you can create a new device for iMessages to go to for that purpose. Regular sms texts will not appear, but ones to other iPhones will.
There is even an app that you have to subscribe to for the service, that allows you to control which apps are accessed and you can control multiple devices from your own “parent” app. Restrictions are available by either app or by timeframe, allowing you to disable access after bedtime if needed. This is the app called ParentKit.
Whichever you use, remember that the internet is a vast sea of information and at some point kids will stumble upon content that provides teachable moments. Being prepared for those moments can be a bit better now that you know some of the features available to you.