3 Tips to Make Your iPad More Kid-Friendly

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Whether young children should use tablets is still hotly debated. But for the purpose of sharing these quick tips, we're assuming you already let your child use a tablet for specific parent-approved apps. But you might still not want to grant them full access to specific features of the iPad, which is the focus of our three parent-friendly settings tips...

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1. Using Guided Access to Create Parent Approved Use: If you're an educator chances are your school has Mobile Device Management software (MDM) which enables educators to keep access on tablets limited. Here's how to set up the iPad in a similar "limited access" mode using Apple's Guided Access at home:

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  1. After accessing the iPad's Settings icon, tap General, and then Accessibility.
  2. Choose Guided Access. From here you can choose to lock the iPad into a single app and allow you to control which features are enabled (e.g. you can lock out the ability to buy any in-app purchases or prevent launching messaging or social features)
  3. Set a 4 character Passcode (to turn on Guided Access).
  4. Now open any app you want to set up with restrictions, and then triple click the home button to enter Guided Access.
  5. Circle areas of the screen you want to disable (if any).
  6. In Guided Access you can also disable the sleep/wake button as well as the volume buttons, in addition to turning off touch and motion controls (turning off touch is just mean though).
  7. Press 'Start'.
  8. Set a passcode to turn off Guided Access and you're done!
  9. To turn off Guided Access: triple click the home button and enter that passcode that you set.
  10. Tap 'End'.

These video instructions are for iOS 6, but remain similar in iOS 7.

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2. Setting Up Restrictions: If you're concerned about your child installing apps, using FaceTime, or accessing explicit music in iTunes, those controls all fall under Restrictions. As shown in the screenshot below, many features and applications can be set for parental controls. A passcode will be required to make any changes, so be sure to use a numerical code that your child won't easily guess!

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You can restrict access to the following applications and features on the device:

  • Safari
  • Camera (also disables FaceTime)
  • FaceTime
  • iTunes Store
  • iBooks Store2
  • Installing apps
  • Deleting apps
  • In-App Purchases
  • Siri
  • AirDrop

You can also prevent access to specific content types, changes to privacy settings, changes to settings and accounts, and restrict features within Game Center.

3. Disable Multitasking Gestures: The last quick tip has more to do with how your child uses the iPad than restricting their access. Many young children can get confused with multitasking gestures, leading them to become frustrated when they lose the app they were in, and in turn launch a different app. To turn multitasking gestures off, go to Settings -> General and then down to Multitasking Gestures and slide it off to disable four or five finger gestures, which tend to frustrate young users.

(Images: Flickr member Brad Flickinger licensed for use under Creative Commons; Joelle Alcaidinho)

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Family, Tech, Elementary, iPad

Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.