10 Ways to Child-Proof your iPhone or iPad

childproofMost children are infamous for being “too curious” about the things that they see, or, even worse, for those they can get their hands on. Nowadays, as they grow up alongside the development of smart devices, children are becoming more comfortable with using a variety of tablets, phones and other mobile devices for entertainment and learning. Scores of apps and games for smartphones and tablets are specifically targeted for kids.

Unfortunately, access to technology gives kids too much freedom in the open world of the Internet. Many websites or social networks are inappropriate or even harmful, especially if these sites contain adult content. Another bad factor to flag is instant verification or purchasing that can easily be done through the Internet.

This bad side of technological development doesn’t register in a child’s mind, so, as adults, we have the responsibility to keep in check the information could be harmful to our children. As a parent, you can put certain restrictions on your devices so you can avoid mishaps altogether.

Apple engineered iOS to feature various parental controls that you could activate to protect your device against your child’s natural curiosity. Here are some things you can do to ‘childproof’ your iOS device:

#1 Activate a passcode.
Using a 4-digit code to prevent instant access usually does the trick in discouraging kids from unsupervised use of your device. Go to Settings > Passcode Lock, then create a combination only you or other older family members would know.

#2 Turn on Restrictions for your device.
The first thing children do when they get their hands on an iPad or iPhone is play games or browse the Internet. However, there are many games and websites that are inappropriate for children. Kids can also accidentally close browser tabs containing important information. iOS gives you the option to block access to any app you want.

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions. A window will appear and ask you to input a four-digit code. Set a code, and then choose which apps will be restricted by toggling their respective switches to On.

#3 Back up important files.
Children sometimes fiddle with a device without what they’re doing. This becomes a bad thing if they happen to accidentally delete important files that are saved in your iPad or iPhone. Prevent this from happening by regularly backing up your files (documents, photos, music, etc.) through any Cloud service. For Apple devices, you could always use iCloud or iTunes to back up your data on your computer or on Cloud storage. This will also make your data easier to access wherever you are and give your data a secure location.

Back up from the device: Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. Switch on iCloud Backup then select Back Up Now.

Back up from iTunes: Make sure your computer has the latest version of iTunes. Connect your iOS device to your computer then go to File > Devices > Back up.

For iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right-click the device from the list and choose Backup Now.

#4 Restrict installation and deletion of apps and in-app purchases.
Some apps are free, some are not. Most are fairly affordable, with a minimum of $0.99 for a game app and other widgets. But if it would be a multiple app purchase, you might be surprised with the bill, especially if you did not authorize the purchase. It’s even more frustrating when the apps you’re currently into suddenly disappear from your iPhone or iPad.

Avoid facing these scenarios by going to Settings > General > Restrictions > Installing Apps/Deleting Apps. Be prepared, not surprised.

#5 Disable the Erase Data option.
This feature comes in handy if your device gets stolen. After 10 incorrect tries for your passcode, your iDevice will automatically erase all your data, preventing strangers or felons from accessing your information. It would be very unfortunate if your child accidentally does this.

Always remember to disable this option when you’re at home. Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Erase Data.

#6 Enable Guided Access.
This feature comes in handy when you don’t want your current app to be closed especially when you need it. It will be active until you’re done with what you’re doing (AKA finishing that hard game level *wink, wink*).

Activate this feature by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Load the app you want to use then then press the Home button thrice. Doing this will lock the app in place. To close the app, press the Home button again three times then enter your passcode.

#7 Set an iTunes allowance.
Older kids can be demanding when they feel drama can be used against you. Things get even worse if they figure out how to go around your restrictions and disable them. This might lead them to think that they can have all the in-app purchases they want. Fortunately, iTunes has a feature where you can set a spending limit so you can strike a balance between your child’s wants and your budget.

Set up an iTunes Allowance by launching iTunes > iTunes Store > Buy iTunes Gifts > Allowances > Set Up an Allowance Now. Monthly budgets can go from $10 to $50 and can be credited to next month’s balance or be withdrawn if not used.

#8 Disable Location.
Social networking apps typically have location tracking as a bonus feature for users. Unfortunately, some people use this location information for malicious intentions.

Disable this feature if you think your child might be attracting some unwanted attention. Go to Settings > Privacy and toggle off Location Services for all or selected apps.

#9 Get a protective case for your device.
Some kids are just too active to be trusted with a mobile device. This could result to some accidents that might damage your beloved iPhone or iPad. The good news is that there are a variety of brands that offer cases made especially for Apple products. Life-proof cases, for instance, protect your device from severe environmental conditions and help absorb shock from a drop.

#10 Say no.
It’s not being mean to your kids. Give them something else to be busy with, like a book or a toy. Do something interactive with them; play games with them or teach them something only you know. Who knows, your kid might end up having more fun than an app can give him or her.

If your kid eventually succeeded in their plans and gave your device any technical problems, drop by MacMall retail stores at Santa Monica, Torrance or Huntington Beach to get professional advice and recommendations from our Apple-credited experts. Avail exciting promos and other exclusive deals when you visit macmall.com.

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