While some parents are reluctant to buy smartphones or tablets for their kids, an iPad can be a great device for children to use for both learning and entertainment. iPads can be used to read books, watch movies and even attend online classes. Furthermore, Apple’s iOS has several features which make internet browsing and using apps safer for kids. Whether you’re buying a new iPad or reinstalling an older device, follow these instructions to safely set up an iPad for your children.
If you are giving your child an older iPad or you purchased a second-hand device, it’s always good practice to erase all content and settings before setting up the device. Simply head over to Settings → General → Reset → Erase All Content And Settings. This will reset the software to factory settings.
Enable Screen Time
- Set Downtime Hours
- Restrict Content Access Including Websites & Browsing
- Restrict Privacy Settings
The first feature you’ll want to enable is Screen Time. This allows you to schedule downtime, restrict activities and apps, limit which content is available and track how much time kids are spending on the iPad and which apps they use.
1. Head over to Settings → Screen Time → Turn On Screen Time.
You’ll be faced with a prompt which explains some features of Screen Time. Tap “Continue”.
2. Next, you will be asked if this is your iPad or your child’s iPad. Choose Child’s iPad.
3. Next, you are able to set Downtime to restrict access during certain hours of the day.
This feature is useful when you want to limit the iPad use to certain hours of the day. Let’s say your kids go to bed at 8 PM and start their day at 9 AM. Set these times as downtime and the iPad will automatically lock itself during these times. If you want to be more strict, you can allow your kids to play with the iPad for a maximum of 2 hours per day. In this case, set the downtime from 8 PM to 6 PM (or any preferred timing). This allows your kids to use their iPad for 2 hours in the evening.
Note: you can still grant permission for kids to use the iPad during downtime hours with the Screen Time passcode. They will just need to ask for your permission first.
If you want to be more specific, you can also set time limits for app categories. Let’s say your kids use iPads to read books and play games, and you want them to be able to read books as much as they want but limit the amount of time spent playing games. In that case, simply choose the category of apps that you want to limit.
The most important feature of Screen Time is restricting content and privacy settings.
Restrict Browsing Access
Since children are vulnerable and the internet provides access to many types of websites, you will want to restrict this access in many instances (think about pornography, violence, explicit language or music, shocking movies, etc). Enabling this feature will provide kids with filtered access to websites, providing them with a safe and responsible browsing experience.
Choose Screen Time → Content Restrictions
There are two basic ways to limit access.
- Block Adult Content Websites (less strict)
- Only Approved Websites Allowed (more strict)
Restrict Photo, Video, Location Sharing
Privacy settings can also be controlled from Screen Time. Let’s say you don’t want your children to call strangers or send videos online. You can simply block access to the camera and microphone with these privacy settings. Maybe you don’t want them to share their location with third-party apps or share family photos online. Once again, you can block app access to location services and photos.
Much of this depends on the age of your children and purposes for using the iPad, so you will want to explore the settings and see which ones are suitable for your kids.
Enable Family Sharing
Family Sharing is another great feature of iOS where you can share music, movies, TV shows, apps, books, an iCloud storage plan, subscriptions, and more all without sharing an Apple ID. Some parents make the mistake of creating one Apple ID for themselves, their wife and their kids. This becomes very disorganized in a short amount of time. Contacts, reminders, photos, music, movies will all be shared on the same iCloud account.
The smarter thing is to enable Family Sharing and create separate iCloud accounts for each individual. This will allow contacts and files to remain separated, while also allowing you to share files easily with the family. Here are some cool features of Family Sharing:
Create Family Album: Create a shared photo album where everyone is able to upload their favorite pictures with the family. This is especially useful when you’re traveling and each member has their own iPhone or iPad. Simply pick the best travel pictures and upload them in the shared album where everyone can access them.
Approve Payments: If you don’t want your kids to purchase apps or content on their own, you can allow them to ask permission before buying. When your kid sends a request, you can instantly approve or deny the purchase from your own device.
Share Apple Subscriptions: If you purchase iCloud storage, it’s cheaper to share one big storage plan with multiple people instead of purchasing several smaller packages. You can find the latest prices for iCloud storage plans here. With Family Sharing, you can do just that! You can also share Apple Music, Fitness+, News+ and TV+ subscriptions, so everyone in the family has access to the same content.
With the right settings and restrictions enabled, iPads can be a great device for children to learn, play games or watch movies. The App Store has a great selection of educational apps and fun games, and now you know how to set up your device so that your children can enjoy some of them!