Childproofing Your iPad: Safety Measures for Kids
Dec 11, 2023
If you have kids, then you've probably lamented how much technology, in relation to their upbringing, has changed since you were a kid. Every generation goes through a similar thing, whether it's those crazy kids and their typewriters, kids spending all night on the Nintendo, or playing with their newfangled beepers.
These days, kids are basically born with an iPad in their hands, and as parents, we need to take steps to slowly integrate them into the chaotic world of the internet. Not just to protect them, but to educate them properly about the hellscape that is the modern online experience. Because childproofing isn't just about inappropriate content, but about ensuring tiny fingers don't accidentally max out your credit card with mindless microtransactions.
Apple has thankfully made childproofing your iPad a matter of tapping a few icons and entering a password or two. Here are some steps you can take to childproof your iPad, both inside and out.
Set up screen time restrictions.
There's just as much to turn off on your iPad as there is to turn off. First, set up a screen time passcode so your more tech savvy children won't be able to undo any changes.
Here are some of the things you can restrict through screen time restrictions on you iPad:
Facetime and camera: this helps prevent your child from answering calls ported to your iPad, and keeps them from filling up your iCloud with pictures of the ground.
iTunes and app purchases: often, kids don't know what they are pressing, especially if they think it's a game. This restriction saves you the frustration of trying to cancel an accidental purchase, and requires your permission for any microtransaction or app purchases.
Accounts and Siri: disabling Siri won't completely turn it off, but it will prevent the constant annoyance of grade schoolers tormenting an AI. And restricting access to your accounts saves your contacts, mail, and calendar items from accidental removal or addition.
Allow or disallow
Under the content and privacy restriction options you can go down the list of available iPad features to choose which ones you want your child to have access to, and which they shouldn't.
Some of the features here include location services, contacts, reminders, location sharing, photos, microphone, and Bluetooth Sharing. As your child becomes more savvy and mature with this technology, you can adjust these options based on their use.
While many streaming services already have options to lock down the content based on a child's age, you can also go with the black-out option on your iPad. For toddlers and small children, it's often easier to just disable the internet and app store, so they can only access content you install. For instance, if your toddler's iPad is just full of cartoons and movies aimed at their age, they probably don't need access to the internet. For older kids, well, they'll quickly figure out how to turn the Wi-Fi back on.
For these older children, you can adjust web content access based on age. This requires a password to change, so your kid can't break the code and up their content age. Categories for content age include 4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+. In this section you can also choose to allow or disallow web search content and explicit language.
Turn off notifications
Kids ask a lot of questions, and some of your notifications from your wild group chats are likely to prompt some very prodding questions from the little ones. To ensure your iPad isn't popping up the same notifications you receive on your iPhone, turn off iPad notifications in the notification center. You can put your iPad on do not disturb as well, but most children know how to turn that off.
Participate in their viewing
One of the best childproofing methods is to stay vigilant and engaged with your child's technology use. Watch movies together on your iPad so children get a sense of what's acceptable. It's also important to stay up-to-date with the latest Apple features, because each new iPad offers something new to help with protecting children. And make sure you backup your data, especially if you share your iPad with your kids.
Childproofing your iPad starts with apps and incidental purchases and moves quickly to its physical form. These are not cheap devices and no matter how careful you or your child are, things happen. Plus, cracked screens can lead to cut fingers.
So start with at least a screen protector. This will help protect your screen against scratches, dings, and accidental drops. Children try their best, they probably aren't intentionally damaging your iPad, but things happen.
Finally, picking the right case for your iPad can go a long way toward extending its life. This really helps when it's time for a new iPad and you can hand off your old one to a child.