Last Christmas, we bought both kids iPad minis. My husband set the up with backgrounds, apps, music and movies each kid would like before we wrapped them.
The kids were thrilled with their gift and quickly learned how to use them, including downloading new apps and watching YouTube.
Now when my husband said that he set them up, I assumed he had put safeguards and restrictions on them. Imagine my dismay when my mom reported to me that the video my 7-year-old mentioned the f-word.
A brief search online told me how to check/set-up restriction on their iPads (which I learned my husband hadn’t done.)
You basically got Settings -> Restrictions. It has you enter a four-number password, and then you can select the settings you want applied such as Movie ratings and age limit recommendation for the apps.
Now many of the sites talk about restricting access to many things – Safari (web browser), Facetime, iTunes, disable app downloading and even turning off Wifi. While I don’t think all these things need to be done for my kids (ages 7 and 10), I can see parents who might want to add these restrictions.
I however, want my kids to be able to use the Internet as Jase has used his iPad to do homework before. And both kids watch Netflix, so I wouldn’t want to turn off the Internet.
The setting changes I made that first day were quickly noticed by the kids as it deleted the YouTube app as that was now out of their age range. We installed the Kids YouTube app instead which is supposed to help restrict what material they can see.
In my search for adding restrictions/parental controls to their iPads, I also came across what sounded like a great app from McGruff that would filter and block specific types of websites in their Internet searches but sadly, it was no longer available.
That is when we found Mobicip Safe Browser. With this, you disable the standard Safari browser that comes with iPads (and iPhones) and installs their browser. Now if the kids typed in a word to search such as sex, it tells them those websites are restricted. The same works on YouTube run through this browser. You do have the option with the premium version to decide which website to allow so you can allow them to do their research on sex education while being blocked from the porn sites.
We just installed this browser, so I don’t have a lot of feedback on it from the kids yet. With the premium version, you are supposed to also get reports on which sites they have viewed. We have not tried the premium version yet, but it is only $40 a year so might be worth at least trying the seven-day free trial version.
I am feeling better about the safety controls we have added to their iPads and wish we had done them sooner. I know my kids are good but especially with YouTube had been worried that inappropriate videos might come up during a search. Now hopefully that won’t happen.