The age of the iPad: 9 tips to manage kids

By Fiona Connor

There are many ways to make sure your child's tablet usage is safe for them and tolerable for you. Photo / Getty Images
There are many ways to make sure your child's tablet usage is safe for them and tolerable for you. Photo / Getty Images

It might provoke a disconcerting feeling to see a 2-year-old pick up an iPad and use it with more accuracy than someone much (much) older, however the age of the iPad is here.

For the digital natives, aka kids, navigating these devices comes without a second thought making it easy for Mum and Dad, still learning about the device, to go wrong.

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure safety and control around the use of iPads within the home.

1. How can I control what my kids are able to access on their iPad?

You can block explicit content, restrict which movies your kids can watch based on their rating, and restrict their access to apps, websites, social media, advertising and services like Siri, iCloud and FaceTime by turning on Restrictions.

HOW TO: Limit what your kids can do with their iPad by turning on Restrictions:
1. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions
2. Enable Restrictions and create a passcode
3. Choose the apps and features that you wish to restrict

2. How can I make sure my child stays in the app that we've agreed on?

Guided Access can be used to temporarily limit your device to a single app, as well as letting you control which app features are available. Once it's turned on, via a triple click of the Home button, your kids won't be able to open other apps or content.

HOW TO: Set up Guided Access
1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
2. Turn Guided Access on
3. Enter a passcode and re-confirm it

3. How can I stop the "just 5 more minutes" debate from lasting for hours?

We've all heard the plea: "Please mum, just 5 more minutes!" only to be met with a tech-tantrum when the extra time is up. Guided Access lets you set a time limit on how much longer your kids can use an app. The iPad will give your child a 30-second warning, and will go to sleep when time is up - just in time for their own bedtime.

HOW TO: Set a time limit on a Guided Access session
1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
2. Tap Time Limits
3. Choose a Sound to be played when their time is up
4. Open the app you want to use
5. Triple-click the Home button to turn on Guided Access
6. Tap Time Limit Options to set a time limit
7. Tap Start

4. How can we share content across all of our family's devices?

These days, the average family home contains multiple tech devices - and each one probably has different apps, books, music, movies and TV shows loaded on to it. You can access all of your purchases from all of your devices by setting up Family Sharing, which makes it easy for up to six family members to share each other's content, without sharing accounts.

HOW TO: Set up Family Sharing
1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing
2. Invite other family members to join, and create Apple IDs (usernames) for younger kids
3. Set up a shared payment method

5. When should my child have their own account?

Your username, or Apple ID, syncs things like your purchases, personal messages, contacts and calendar across your devices. Many parents don't want their kids to be able to open (then accidentally reply to or delete) their emails, social media feeds or photos, which is very possible if you're all sharing the same Apple ID.

Setting up an Apple ID for each of your kids allows you to set individual controls for what they can use, without impacting your own access. With Family Sharing, you can create Apple IDs for children under 13, then monitor and manage what your kids download.

HOW TO: Create an Apple ID for your child:
1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family > Create an Apple ID for a child
2. Enter the child's birthday and tap Next
3. Review the Parent Privacy Disclosure and tap Agree
4. Confirm a payment method and tap Next
5. Enter your child's name, tap Next, then create their Apple ID ( and tap Next
6. Follow the instructions to set a password, choose security questions, and set up your child's account

6. How can I make sure my kids don't download anything without asking for permission?

Ask to Buy with Family Sharing gives your kids the freedom to make their own choices, while you keep an eye on their downloads and spending. Before your kids download anything from the App Store, iTunes or iBooks Store, they must ask your permission. You will receive a notification of the requested download on your iPhone or iPad to review, to approve or decline.

For kids under 13, Ask to Buy is turned on by default. You can also turn it on for any member of your family group that's under 18. It applies to requests to download new content, In-App Purchases and even free downloads.

HOW TO: Turn on Ask to Buy:
1. You'll be asked to enable Ask To Buy for any under 18s when you first set up your Family Sharing group
2. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family
3. Tap your family member's name
4. Tap Ask to Buy

HOW TO: Review a request
1. Open the notification on your iPhone or iPad to see what your child wants to download
2. Approve or decline the purchase
3. If you approve, you need to sign in with your Apple ID and password to make the purchase

7. I don't want to be the only Download Cop - can my partner help too?

You can also give another parent or guardian in your family group permission to manage Ask to Buy requests. Only one adult needs to manage each purchase.

HOW TO: Choose another approver
1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family
2. Tap your family member's name
3. Tap Parent/Guardian

8. I don't want my kids spending wildly on my credit card - how can I avoid this?

By now, you've already set up Ask To Buy, so your kids can't make purchases or download content without your permission. A good way to begin to teach them the value of money and how to manage a budget is to give them a small iTunes Gift card "allowance". You still have to approve all content downloads through Ask To Buy, but the purchase is deducted from their own iTunes credit, not your credit card.

HOW TO: Give an iTunes Gift
1. You can buy iTunes Gift cards at many stores, or
2. Go to the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks
3. Scroll to the bottom of the main page
4. Tap Send Gift
5. If you're not already, sign in with your Apple ID and password
6. Enter your recipient's email address and add a message if you want to
7. Enter the amount that you want to gift, then tap Next
8. Select a theme for your gift, then tap Next
9. Tap Buy and confirm your purchase

9. I can barely hear myself think - how can I stop them blasting the volume?

If your kids sometimes pump up the volume too far, you can set a limit to how high they can turn it up using Volume Limit. And if you live with a budding tech genius, you can also stop them from re-setting this limit by selecting "Don't Allow Changes" to the Volume Limit in Restrictions.

HOW TO: Set a maximum volume
1. Go to Settings > Music > Volume Limit
2. Set the maximum volume level for your child's device


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