Child Internet Safety: setting up the iPod

If you are going to discuss child internet safety then you need to talk about mobile devices and no better place to start than with Apple. iPods, iPhones and iPads are invading our homes and our kids are learning to use them at younger and younger ages. In this post you will find the steps to take before you hand the iPod over to your child. These steps will not only protect your child on the mobile device but it may also save you a whole lot of money. I trust that parents will find these steps helpful but realize that there are a number of decisions to be made. Based on the age and maturity of your child you will need to decide how locked down you want the device. As they get older you may decide to loosen some items. This will be the first of two posts that describes how to first set up your child’s IPod.

Enable Restrictions 

 After you turn on the iPod go to the app called “settings” it looks like a gear. Tap it. 
– On the left hand column you will see a line entitled “General”. Tap it. 
– This gets you to the first step which is to turn on restrictions. This is important for child internet safety because it will allow you to limit the content that your child has access to. 
– Tap on restrictions. You will see it marked on the right. The red arrow is pointing to it. 
– Once you click on this the iPod will bring up another screen. At the top of this screen you will see “enable restrictions.” Tap it and it will bring up a number keypad for you to set the code. 
– The code is four digits and you want to make sure you put it somewhere that you won’t forget it. If you lose the code you will have to reset the IPod which will be annoying. You will be prompted to input the code a second time. 
– Next you will be able to set the restrictions to what you would like them to be. This begins the part where you need to exercise your parental wisdom to decide how strict you want the settings to be. 

Three Items to Disable 

This next picture points out three different items to disable. These items are important for different reasons. 
The first one to disable is Safari. Marked with the first red arrow. This is Apple’s web browser. Depending on the age of your kids will determine if you want to use this browser or another. You can access the history to see what kids have been looking at however Apple does not give you many options for limiting the content to be accessed. In another post I will discuss options to use for your child’s web browser. This will be important as I imagine there are a number of things you have not come to realize about browsers now days. 
– Second I would recommend turning off the ability for your child to install apps. This is marked with the second red arrow. If your kids have to come to you to install apps it will keep them from wandering upon inappropriate content. You will also always be aware of what they want to install and why because they will need to come to you to be able to install apps. Third it will keep them from accidentally purchasing an app. In the end it will save you time and money. There are so many apps available for your child to enjoy that they will not need to buy any for a while. 
– Have you ever heard the horror stories of parents being charged hundreds of dollars by Apple? This is typically the result of a child purchasing lots of items in an app while playing a game. The kids have a blast and you the parents end up a whole lot poorer. This is why you want to turn off the ability to make in-app purchases. This is marked by the third arrow. 
Take a moment to look at the rest of the other items you can disallow. The one you may want to consider is the iTunes Store. I don’t fully recommend this because you can simple tell your child that they can’t purchase items without your permission. If your child just won’t listen I would take the iPod away from them completely until they are willing to listen and respect your parental authority. For children four and under this is a great option. 
In the next post I will show you how you can limit the type of content your child has access to. I hope that this is of help to you. These steps allow you to make the iPod more safe for your children. Remember just disabling everything does not mean that you don’t need to be discussing these issues with your kids. The best protection for your kids is building a deeper closer relationship with them in which you have open discussion with your kids. 
Please let me know if you have any questions about these first steps.