Child-Proofing Your iOS Device

In the arsenal of parenthood, the cell phone has become an amazingly powerful tool. We stay in touch with babysitters, schedule multiple busy lives, scrapbook, document priceless moments in video and pictures, communicate with family members across the country, find encouragement on social media, and even give these devices to our kids so we can have a moment to ourselves.  Someone once told me you can make phone calls with a cell phone too, but I don’t put much stock in rumors.

If you’re like me, your kids are too young to have their own mobile device or handheld gaming system without making you look like a negligent and enabling parent. However, I don’t mind if my kids find some kid-safe games on my phone so I can have some quick Me-Time.  I had a horrible moment when my son learned how to edit the home screen on my iPhone and pushed on the little “x” then deleted my Angry Birds app.  I had almost beaten every level and was waiting for the next update, but when I re-installed the app, all my progress was gone!  I was heartbroken and in need of an answer.  The following is what I found to help keep my kids out of my stuff, or from buying anything in a game with real money.

 Enable restrictions
  • Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and tap Enable Restrictions. You will be asked to create a passcode, which can be the same as your current one, or a new code if your kids already know that one. You will then be able to turn on or off certain services or native apps like Safari, the App Store, the camera, and more.

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Turn off In-App Purchases
  • 2013-03-30 13.42.15In-App Purchases are the worst thing ever, because you are literally buying the ability to waste more time in games that are already addictive.  And this ploy works. However, in order to keep your kids from buying and buying and running up a $1600 bill (which was in the news this past year), you should turn this function off if you are going to allow your kids to use your devices.  From that Restrictions sections, scroll down to where it says In-App Purchases and turn those bad boys off.
Hide your Favorite Apps in “Boring” Folders
  • I have some obvious folders of fun and kid friendly games, but then I have my own favorite game apps hidden among boring apps.  The key is to put them at the bottom of the folder so the kids don’t see the app when the folder is still unopened.

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Do Your Best To Outsmart Your Kids

Regardless of how you choose to let your kids use your device, or when you let them have their own device, they will always try to get around your limits and restrictions.  Be on your toes and continue to build responsibility in them, and accountability so that there will be less f a need for limits when you decide to open up the world of technology to your kids.  The best of luck to you all.

Comment below with what has worked for you, or ways kids have circumvented your best efforts.

~JB

Comments

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Comments

  1. In app purchases officially turned off! My kids aren’t old enough yet (I think) to make such purchases, but it’s always been in the back of my mind as I’ve seen my 5yo lurking in those areas, looking at how he could obtain more gems for our dragons, but I’ve always told him that stuff was off limits and he gets it. But now I can just removed any worry from the equation.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • My daughter likes to show me the other apps she wants me to buy. It just gives me some peace-of-mind, and lets them know the boundaries.

  2. UPDATE:
    I have an HTC ONE in hand and am playing around with the child-proofing tools available to Android phones. A similar post will be coming in the next couple weeks as I give my kids a chance to test out the limits.

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