Managing your child’s access on iDevices…

Do you know how easy it is to set up restrictions on your children’s iDevices?

I’m a little late to this game, since my daughter got her first iPhone five years ago.  She was 11, and downloaded Instagram.   I didn’t know how important it was to make sure her location settings were turned off.  I wasn’t aware of the risks and dangers.  But, IF the ability to restrict her from apps rated over her age was available back then, and IF I had known about it, and IF I had known how easy it was to set up- I could have prevented her exposure to followers who had no business following a child and who posed a serious threat to her.

Before I go any further- yes, I know she was 11.  And the “legal” age for Instagram is 13.  But, I’m pretty sure my kid wasn’t the only user under 13 on Instagram.  This experience is ultimately what led me to create Frienedy.

So, to help other parents out there who have kids just getting their first iPhone, here are some things you can do to manage your child’s access to apps and other online content they now hold the keys to finding.

Step 1:  Tap on your Settings icon, and scroll down to tap General.

SettingsFrom Skitch

Step 2: Tap Restrictions.

When you enable Restrictions, you will have to create a 4 digit pin.  Make it something different than the pin to unlock your phone (if you have that enabled), and make it something your child won’t know/guess.GeneralFrom Skitch

Step 3: This is where the fun begins.  What do we want turn off?

Hmmm.  Do you want them to be able to buy and download books?  How about access to the iTunes store?  Slide the button to the left if you want to limit access.  Here’s another one- do you want to allow access to FaceTime? Podcasts? In app purchases (over my dead body- sorry sweetie- you don’t need to pay $1 for another life in CandyCrush:). It’s a judgement call- these are all choices you have and can change any time you wish, which is what I love about these restrictions.  That, and the fact that they are FREE.

RestrictionsFrom Skitch

Step 4:  Scrolling down the same screen, you arrive at “Allowed Content.”

Now, we’re cooking with gas.  If you tap “All” over to the right of any option, you will be able to choose the age rated content you want to allow your child access to.  For example, if your 9-year-old daughter just received her first iPod Touch for her birthday and has been begging for Instagram, (besides introducing her to www.frienedy.com:), you can also tap on Apps, and put check marks next to the 4+ and 9+ categories if you choose to restrict her to those apps only- conveniently cutting off access to anything rated over 9+ (which includes all public social media).

MoreRestrictionsFrom Skitch

Step 5:  Last step- but super important.

Don’t forget this one.  If you scroll down even further on the same page, you’ll find a “Privacy” heading.  Location Services is just below that.  Tap it and you come to a screen that looks like this.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this setting is. There is no one besides you who needs to know where your child is when he/she is using his/her iPhone (iPod, or iPad). There is no need for a child to check in anywhere (hello- predator bait) or to have location enabled for their camera.  By posting a photo anywhere online that has the location setting turned on when the photo was taken- the wrong people can very easily locate where your child was when the photo was taken.  Don’t learn this the hard way.

location servicesFrom Skitch

I have to say that Apple has done an impressive job with the restrictions they allow.  But, the one I’m really waiting for is the ability set time limits that cause apps to disappear at a certain pre-selected time.  No more worries about the faint glow of YouTube coming from under the covers when I go up to kiss my kids ‘good night.’  Of course, it’s easy to have a rule for phones/devices to be surrendered at a certain time every night, but I have a feeling this capability isn’t far off…

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