Once upon a time, childproofing was reserved solely for staircases, cabinets, electrical sockets and the like. Now, however, there’s one more thing to worry about, namely electronic devices like your iPad.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to childproof an iPad, both inside and out, to give you peace of mind when your child inevitably commandeers it.
Why You Should Childproof an iPad
Childproofing an iPad not only helps protect your child, but also yourself, too. Setting parental controls will stop your little darling from deleting important documents, running up large credit card bills and generally creating a trail of digital destruction.
It protects your child by shielding them from adult content and internet predators, but should never be considered as a replacement for a parent’s watchful eye.
Start by enabling Restrictions, which is the iPad’s answer to parental controls. Please note, however, that upon being disabled, Restrictions is reset, therefore you’ll need to complete these steps all over again.
Tap the Settings icon on the Home Screen to access the iPad’s Settings screen.
Select General and then scroll down until you see Restrictions. It should currently be set to Off.
Press Restrictions and then tap Enable Restrictions.
Once Restrictions has been enabled, you'll be asked to set a four-digit Restrictions Passcode so that only you can enable and disable, or make changes to, the iPad’s parental controls. You’ll have to re-enter your passcode each time you access the Restrictions screen, so choose something memorable that your child won't be able to guess!
Enter and then re-enter your chosen passcode into the Set Passcode box.
You now have access to the Restrictions screen where you can enable and disable apps and functions as you see fit. It may look daunting, but don’t worry, I’ll explain all.
Many apps don’t need an internet connection to function, so consider disabling Wi-Fi altogether if you have young children. Do this by pressing Settings > Wi-Fi and flipping the switch to Off.
If you need to stay connected, disable Safari internet browser by flipping the switch that says Safari to Off under Restrictions. Older kids, however, may want to use Safari for homework purposes or even just for fun. This is where Allowed Content comes in.
Scroll down until you reach the Allowed Content section, and then tap Websites.
Choose an option: All Websites, Limit Adult Content or Specific Websites Only.
Selecting All Websites will allow a child to view all websites without restrictions, while Limit Adult Content limits adult content but also lets you add websites to the Always Allow or Never Allow list. Tap Add a Website on either list and then enter the URL of the website you want to add to add it to that list.
Specific Websites Only disables access to all websites apart from the ones you manually allow. Again, tap Add a Website to add a website to the list. As you can see, there’s already a handful of sites added to this list that are considered safe, such as Disney and HowStuffWorks.
Tip: If you choose to stay connected to the internet, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and flip the Manual switch to On so that the iPad doesn’t receive calls or emails while a child is using it.
We’ve all heard horror stories where kids have run-up high credit card bills on their parents’ credit cards via in-app purchases. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to stop that from happening to you. Simply scroll down until you reach In-App Purchases and flip the switch to Off.
Here, you can prevent a child from installing or deleting apps, too. All you have to do is flip both the Installing Apps and Deleting Apps switches to Off.
If you decide to let your child install apps, you can control the age rating by selecting Apps under the Allowed Content section. Select either 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+ to ensure each app they download is age appropriate, or Allow All Apps.
You may wish to consider disabling the Camera app and FaceTime under the Allow section if you have a young child so that they can’t call anyone.
Tip: If the iPad belongs to your child, you can set up an app allowance by creating them their own Apple ID and then removing the credit card associated with the account. Add a gift card to their account and they won’t be able to spend any more than the amount on said gift card.
Like apps, you can control what your child views or listens to by scrolling down the Restrictions screen to the Allowed Content section. Tap on each option to choose a rating for Music, Podcasts, News, Films, TV Programmes and Books.
Under the Privacy section, tap Location Services and then flip the Location Services switch to Off to hide your location.
Work your way through each option, selecting either Allow Changes or Don’t Allow Changes. Remember to switch the apps listed under each one to On or Off, depending on its type.
Scroll down to the Allow Changes section to stop your child from adding, removing or modifying accounts, or damaging their ears from cranking up the volume too loud.
Again, work your way through each option, selecting either Allow Changes or Don’t Allow Changes.
Tip: Generally, the rule of thumb for headphones is 60% volume for one hour.
Switch Multiplayer Games, Adding Friends and Screen Recording under the Game Center section to Off.
Enable Guided Access
Guided Access is a great way to limit the amount of time your child spends on the iPad, and also temporarily restrict them to a single app. You can disable areas of the screen you don’t want your child to access and disable the hardware buttons, too.
Tap the Settings icon on the Home Screen to access the iPad’s Settings screen. Select General and press Accessibility. Scroll down to Guided Access and then tap to access. Flip the Guided Access switch to On.
To set a passcode, tap Passcode Settings and press Set Guided Access Passcode. Enter and re-enter a four-digit passcode.
Return to the Guided Access screen. Tap Time Limits to set an alert tone for when screen time is over and press Sound to choose the one you want. Activate a voice alarm by flipping the Speak switch to On.
Open the app you’d like to restrict your child to and triple-click the Home button to activate Guided Access.
Circle the areas you want to disable, and if you’d like to disable the hardware buttons, too, press Options under the Hardware Buttons heading and choose which buttons you want to disable.
Limit the time your child is on the iPad by tapping Options under the Time Limit heading and then selecting a time limit. Once you’ve finished defining the settings, press Start.
Protect an iPad With a Case
Unfortunately, though our little ones are just as attracted to our expensive gadgets as we are, chances are they have not yet learned how to look after them with care so it’s worthwhile investing in a case.
Generally, the younger the child, the more extreme the protection required, so a case should be able to withstand even the most extreme toddler tantrum or the clumsiest of pre-schoolers.
I recommend the following two cases:
Otterbox’s Defender series provides protection against drops, dust and scratches, boasts a high-impact polycarbonate shell, durable silicone slipcover and a built-in screen protector.
It’s available for all iPad models.
Griffin’s Survivor series is designed and tested to meet or exceed US Department of Defence Standard 810F, making it the perfect case for your whirlwind of a toddler.
Like Otterbox’s Defender case, the Survivor is made up of a shatter-proof polycarbonate frame clad in shock-absorbing silicone with a built-in screen protector, and is also available for all iPad models.
In this tutorial, I’ve shown you how to childproof an iPad so that you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your child isn’t running up a large credit card bill while playing Candy Crush Saga or viewing anything they shouldn't.