Lock that iPad down…

If you have very young children and want to give them the iPad to use one of the excellent pre-school apps, but don’t want them straying off into other parts of the universe, then Guided Access could be a useful option.  It’s a feature of IOS (6 and above I think) hidden away in the accessibility settings.  When you turn it on, it keeps the iPad in the app you select, until you decide to release it.  It could be equally useful for older kids that are adamant they are only going to use a specific app for their homework…

This link is the the Apple support article about Guided Access and is a nice simple guide.  Lock that iPad down…

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Safe browsing on an iPad

Probably the quickest, most effective way of making your iPad safer for your kids is to disable Safari.  Sounds like a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but it’s worth doing and there are alternatives you can use for browsing.  

I’m using MetaCert (https://metacert.com/) which hasn’t put a foot wrong so far, or you could try the K9 browser (http://www1.k9webprotection.com/) which has also been recommended to me.  Both are free.

The link below has a six-step guide on how do zap Safari and then look for an alternative browser.  

http://www.wikihow.com/Block-Websites-on-an-iPad

 

 

First steps

I have started this blog because, as a parent, I found it difficult to find a resource that showed me how to protect my kids from the many horrors of the Internet without being some sort of superman, supervising every click of the mouse, every second on the iPad, every Wii session.  I’m an IT professional with many years experience of configuring networks, PCs, operating systems etc, but commercial experience doesn’t always translate to knowing how to keep a family e-safe.  So, I guessed that if I was finding it tough, others would be too.

There’s no doubt that there’s no substitute for being involved.  I won’t find a way of delegating my kids’ online safety entirely to a clever bit of software, and nor would I want to.  Teachers and parents have a joint responsibility for helping children to understand the world, and to protect them from the hard realities until they are old enough to understand them – and this goes for the virtual world as well as the physical one.  Just about any of the popular internet-connected devices, including smartphones and tablets, but also iPods, Playstations and Wiis can be used for communication, and if you simply hand this technology to a child without any precaution you could be opening them up to contact from just about anyone.  So supervision is a huge part of looking after kids online, but it’s impossible to be there all the time.  Kids need to know the rules, and they need to use safe technology.  This blog is about the second part.

Every time I find a new way to improve my kids’ online experience, I’ll post it here, starting with a few things I have found out already.  If you have any tips of your own, it would be great to hear about them.