Remember, kids are kids, not adults. They haven't gone through the fires of temptation and been burned, like you have. To them, temptations are just doors.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Kids home all day? Lock up your iPad with parental controls

June 16, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

The kids are out of school, but mom and dad are still gone all day. What's a bored little 10-year-old going to do?

The answer is one you'd rather not hear. That 10-year old will grab your iPad, close the bedroom door and curl up with stuff you'd never imagine could be on the Internet. Or your kid will discover gambling sites and run up your credit card faster than you can say "Jack, rob me some."

Think I'm kidding? Think this isn't a problem all over America? Can you spell "naive"?

So parents, guardians, grandparents, big sisters and brothers and everyone else responsible for the health and welfare of children, listen up. It's time to put a padlock on that iPad. You don't have to lock up everything, but you definitely should take your responsibilities seriously.

If your kids and their playmates can't be trusted no matter what, don't leave your iPad out in plain sight. Lock it up, literally. Or do what a lot of parents tell me they do -- they take their iPads to work and bring them home in the evening.

Remember, kids are kids, not adults. They haven't gone through the fires of temptation and been burned, like you have. To them, temptations are just doors.

Keep those doors locked or monitored using the parental controls on your iPad. The most important control by far -- don't ask me how I know -- is to block unauthorized purchases from any of the online stores reachable through the iPad. That includes, of course, the App Store and the iTunes and iBook Stores, but also such online stores as the Kindle and Nook book stores and such obvious attractions as the Amazon and Google online music stores.

Start by opening the Settings app. It's the one with an icon that looks like a gear. Choose General, then Restrictions. Tape "Enable Restrictions" and enter a passcode (a password using only numbers). DO NOT FORGET IT. If you do, you'll have to wipe out your iPad and reinstall everything. Write it down as the last four digits of a fictional coworker's phone number (xxx-1234, that kind of thing) and put it in your wallet. Don't tell any non-adult in your family what the passcode is.

Setting restrictions is pretty much self- explanatory. You'll be surprised at how many restrictions you can place on how your iPad is used. You can even keep Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, from responding to bad language. Note that you can keep unauthorized users from installing apps and deleting apps and from seeing movies with adult ratings.

If you set up restrictions that allow game playing and usage of other apps, be sure to block in-app purchases. Unlike App Store purchases, buying an extra feature while using an app can seem innocuous to children -- and to adults, too. In-app purchases can add up quickly.

One restriction you should always set is on Accounts. Don't let anyone using your iPad change settings for mail, contacts, calendars and other vital personal data.

One more piece of advice: Don't use "1234" as your passcode. Please. Your kids are not THAT dumb.