Contrary to popular belief, letting your kid use an iPad from time to time can be beneficial. This device provides access to countless educational apps, games, and activities that help nurture creativity. They’re also more beneficial to children than watching TV due to their interactive nature. On top of that, there are plenty of PG-rated YouTube channels that your child can watch to learn in an entertaining way without the excessive amount of advertisement that TV comes with. However, the internet can be a dark place, and an iPad left with your toddler unattended could easily expose them to topics that are too mature for their age. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this, so you don’t have to worry about leaving a device with your kids.
Wait for the Right Time
Before we go through parental control settings and apps, it’s important to understand when kids should start using an iPad. The best time to introduce a child to an iPad is after they celebrate their second birthday because it’s critical for babies to interact with their environment first. If they’re absorbed by an iPad, they might miss some important steps in this vital development stage.
Restrict Time Spent on the iPad
Even after the two-year mark, kids shouldn’t spend too much time on the iPad. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a maximum of two hours per day is recommended for children between three and five. As they grow older, you can extend this period to four hours when they’re preschoolers and around seven hours from the age of eight all the way up to 18. Of course, time spent on technology when they’re at school also counts.
This is extremely important because too much screen time can result in trouble falling asleep, eyesight problems, and lower grades. Moreover, physical activity is necessary for children – they won’t do any if they spend all their time playing on the iPad. Thankfully, technology is prepared for this. On the iPad, you can use the screen time settings so the device locks when your child reaches the time limit.
Research Apps Before Installing Them
The iPad is home to millions of apps, and many of them are developed with children in mind. They help kids hone their math skills, teach various subjects in an entertaining way, improve their motor skills, and more. However, it's essential that you do your own research to make sure that the app is safe. Go to the App Store reviews to find what other parents think about the app or read through the software's description to understand its ins-and-outs. We recommend staying away from apps that include advertising, as the algorithm may show something inappropriate by mistake.
Take Advantage of Apple’s Parental Control Settings
Apple products already come prepared to help control device usage. For instance, the iPad allows you to set up a separate account for your child where they only have access to a restricted number of apps. Additionally, you can prevent your child from making iTunes or App Store purchases, installing or deleting apps, and accessing specific apps, websites, or explicit content.
Use YouTube Kids
YouTube is extremely popular with kids. They can listen to music, watch cartoons, follow kid-friendly YouTubers, and so much more. However, from people playing violent games to YouTubers talking about famous murders, YouTube also includes many channels that are inappropriate for kids – and we all know how YouTube recommendations aren't always what we would expect. That's where YouTube Kids comes in. It's a child-friendly version of the website available for the iPad, where you’re able to set up strict parental control settings. It’s easy to select the content your kid can access, turn the search bar off, or even choose the channels your child can follow.
Install a Parental Control App
Even with all these settings, there are still a few security holes that only a parental control app can fill. For instance, some parental control software can let you monitor your child's social media profiles and warn you about cyberbullying. They also allow you to monitor multiple devices, apps, and websites with just one account, taking far less time to set up. Consequently, if you're still afraid that your kid may come across inappropriate content after going through all the settings, using parental control software is the best way to get extra peace of mind.
Best Parental Control Software of 2021
Get the Best Software and Tech Deals
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get the best deals, free trials and discounts on software and tech.