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iPad Apps For Kids & What Parents Need To Know

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In this article, best-selling author and avid iPhone/iPad user Jason R. Rich offers advice to parents who are interested in allowing their young kids to use an iPad or iPad 2 to experience educational apps and content, watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, read eBooks, and/or surf the web.

Kids today are technologically savvy. In fact, by the age of six or seven, they’re often more comfortable and competent using mobile technology than their parents. Just because they can use this technology doesn’t mean they should—at least without some parental supervision.

Apple’s iPad 2 offers a multitude of ways to educate and entertain young people, including preschoolers. This includes kid-friendly apps, interactive children’s eBooks, online content that can be accessed via the web, and children’s programming in the form of TV shows and movies that can be acquired from iTunes. The iPad can also be used as a digital music player.

Just because specific content on an iPad is kid-friendly, this does not mean that everything on your tablet should be accessible by your kids, including your own personal data and web content that’s adult-oriented, for example. So, before handing over an iPad to your kids, take steps to “child-proof” the device using the Restrictions features found within the Settings app.

More About Restrictions

By adjusting the Restrictions options, you can make all of your iPad’s content and apps available to you, the parent, but prevent your child from:

  • Accessing unsuitable apps and content that isn’t for them
  • Accessing specific types of iTunes content (music, TV shows and movies) based on their ratings
  • Using the device to access the web (or certain websites)
  • Making iTunes purchases (including in-app purchases)
  • Playing multiplayer games with others (including strangers)
  • Inadvertently revealing their location to others (via the iPad’s Location Services feature)

The Restrictions options on the iPad use password protection. As a result, an adult who knows the appropriate password (which you set), will have full access to the entire iPad and its contents, while a child will theoretically only be able to access pre-approved apps and content.

However, getting back to the concept that kids are more technologically savvy than their parents, many young people are clever enough to discover the password used to unlock the Restrictions, or find ways to access content that isn’t locked by this feature.

Thus, it becomes the parent’s responsibility not just to supervise their child’s use of the iPad, but also to teach them that they can only use the tablet for specific tasks, and that they’re not permitted to deviate from what’s permissible.

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