Showing posts with label iPod Touch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPod Touch. Show all posts

10 Steps to Setting Parental Controls for the iPod Touch

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My son doesn't have an iPhone, a fact he reminds me of all the time. Last year he got an iPod Touch for Christmas and that will have to do for now. We were hesitant to give him such easy access to the internet. My personal opinion is that children under the age of 14 shouldn't have unrestricted and unmonitored access to web. Even after age 14, I believe families should have guidelines in place and an understanding that the internet isn't always a safe place for kids to be. 
Internet safety for kids

We've tried to have an open dialogue with Tyler about why we're (or rather, I) am so strict on what kinds of things he's allowed to do with his iPod. I've told him it's not so much that I don't trust him, it's that I don't trust everyone else on the internet. I've explained and shown him examples of  the ways people are using apps like Instagram and Snapchat in way that the app creators didn't intend and in ways children don't need to see. 

We're alright with being thought of as the uncool parents if it means we're limiting his exposure to inappropriate (and sometimes flat out indecent) material. We decided the best we can do it set as many parental controls as we could, explain our rules and the consequences for not following them and monitor how he uses his iPod.  

The Settings and Restrictions tabs are your best friends. Get to know these areas. Most of the steps we've taken started here. 

1. Set a passcode lock
We keep it simple so we'll remember it. If he loses the iPod, at least we have a small measure of security in that hopefully no one else will be able to use it.

iPod parental controls

2. Link the iPod to your iTunes account
Having the iPod on my account means I can see everything on it. It also helps me keep it backed up and the software up to date.

3. Provide contact info
The lock screen reads "If found please call" with my Google Voice phone number.

4. Install Find My iPhone
I have this app on my iPad and my iPhone. If he does lose it the location based service, combined with the contact info hopefully would get it returned to us quickly.

5. Turn off in app purchases
My son uses his iPod almost exclusively for gaming. Many of the games he likes are free to play, but ask for real money to buy boosts and extras. He once spent $25 on gas cans for Battle Bears! Since his iPod is linked to my iTunes account, this is a way to ensure I don't get any surprises on my bank account. In app purchases can add up fast. I can monitor how much of his iTunes gift cards he's used and let him know when he runs out of funds.

6. Change settings for explicit content
Go to Settings --> General --> Restrictions and look for the content ratings. I believe the default settings are set to 'all,' which means if your child is searching iTunes or You Tube they may stumble across something with strong language or worse.

7. Set a Restrictions passcode
In addition to a main passcode, I set one specifically for the Restrictions are. This way, the settings for explicit content aren't changed. The passcode is one that only I know.

8. Turn off the ability to delete apps
I chose this option so he can't install and then delete an app before I can see it. I also want to make sure he didn't accidentally delete the Find My iPhone app. 

9. Delete some apps and settings altogether
I deleted YouTube, the ability to play multi-player games, the ability to add friends, Ping and iTunes. This was something I struggled with. I wanted him to have some freedom, but I also don't want him to have unlimited access to YouTube, and some of the games in the iTunes store seem like they are for kids but aren't. My hope is to prevent him from things like accidentally downloading the explicit version of a song rather than the radio version. 

10. Install a safer browser option 
This is a new one for us. Since he was 9 when he got the iPod, I really didn't want Tyler to have any access to the web. Now, he needs to go online for both homework and sports so I'm going to install a new browser after doing more research on the options below. 

Mobicip Safe Browser
AVG Browser
McGruff SafeGuard Browser
K9 Web Protection Browser

Since iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch are very similar in function, I think many of these settings will work across the devices as you'll find them in the same areas. 

I know I seem mean and paranoid, but I'm not. We're really trying to balance Tyler's growing independence and desire for freedom and privacy with responsible use of the internet. Tyler and I have had many conversations about what a digital footprint is and how the things he posts online will live forever. He already knows what college he wants to go to and we looked up their social media guidelines. 

Phil and I are doing our best to impress upon him the importance of using the web the 'right' way. Plus, I think being a kid today is hard enough without the added distractions and pressures of the web and social media. I feel like giving our younger kids unlimited and unmonitored access to the web is forcing them to participate in conversations they're not yet mature enough to have. 

What about you? What precautions have you taken with your child's digital device? Are there any steps I missed? 

*Child photo from

Breast Cancer 3-Day: Quick Tip for iPhone and iPod Touch Users {+video}

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I went walking last night after Tyler and I got home from the park. When I left the house, I wasn't really thinking about the time or how long it would be before it would get dark outside. I decided to go for a straight, easy walk at the beach rather walk the hills around my house.

Halfway through I tuned in to the fact that it was going to be dark before I got back to my car. Almost the whole way back had sidewalk access and streetlights, but the last leg did not. Naturally I'd not thought to bring my LED light.

My workout clothes were light gray with white striping and my shoes have reflective striping but I was still a little concerned about cars being able to see me. At one point I noticed someone walking toward me. I couldn't see them, but they were on their cell and the glow from the keyboard caught my attention. That's when I remembered the free Flashlight app I downloaded a few months ago for my iPod Touch (watch the video for a short demo).

I used the app for the last half mile. Sure, I had to hold my iPod in my hand but it was a minor and temporary inconvenience. The Flashlight app is no substitute for proper
reflective gear and safety lights, but it came through in a pinch and definitely made me feel better.

Help me reach my goal for the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day!

Would You Buy Your 5-Year Old an iPod?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1/7/2010 Update at the end of the post

I was flipping through O Magazine and saw a small piece where the reporter asked a fashion designer what he'd be packing in his beach bag this summer. One of the items he'd include is an iPod Touch for his five-year old. Five. Not 12 or 15. Five.

Um, what's a little person barely out of toddlerhood doing with an iPod Touch? That's quite a hefty piece of technology to be buried in the sand. I let Tyler use mine occasionally but would never consider getting him his own. Even if I had the money (and I don't, mine was purchased with birthday money), I wouldn't buy him one. He's just too young.

I'm still getting a lot of comments on this post so I wanted to share my feelings now.  When I wrote this Tyler was a few months shy of turning 7. At the time, he was not mature or responsible enough for his own iPod Touch. He's 8 now and I'm still not sure *I* would spring for him to have one of his own.

He sorta kinda tricked his Grandpa into buying him a Nintendo DSi. He's had for about half a year. He's been very careful with it in that he has not mishandled it, but he couldn't find it for a few days and we all thought it was lost. He forgot he'd put it in his Ta Kwon Do bag.

As some people have pointed out, the games for the iPod are much more affordable than Nintendo. I totally agree. Downloading an app for $1.99 versus buying a cartridge for $30-40 is a no brainer. It really is up to each family. If your 5 year-old is responsible enough to have $200 worth of technology, go for it. I think buying something in that price range for that age sets a bad precedent.

Now that Tyler has his DSi, we've told him we're not buying games for him (except for birthday gifts etc.) He's had to earn and save up money to buy what he wants. He's learned how much things cost, how long it takes to save for something and how long it takes him to earn money with his allowance. Those are concepts I think a 5 year-old is just starting to grasp and can't really put into practice yet.

Tyler would have been waiting a long time for us to buy a DSi. We have very strict usage rules with it (and the TV, Wii and computer). He can't sit in front of a screen all day. If he chooses to spend his morning watching TV, he can't play the computer at night too. This is another issue I have with kids and technology; how they encourage couch potato-ness and limit imagination. Again, 5 is a little young to start this behavior pattern.

I did buy an MP3 player for a Christmas gift but it's not a name brand. Tyler is perfectly happy with it and if he loses or breaks it I'm only out $12 ($22 on Amazon but I had a $10 credit). 

Every family is different. Do what feels right for you. I still think 5 is too young (I agree with Anonymous below about maturity and milestones), but if your kid is more mature and responsible than mine was at that age go for it.

Review: Live SpeakR for iPhone and iPod Touch

Friday, April 3, 2009

I've never considered myself much of a gadget freak. Now that I've been blogging for awhile, I realize how many cool things I've missed out on. Being able to review a product is a fun privilege and perk of blogging, and when the product is from a local company that makes it even better. The more involved I get in social media within my community I realize we've got a lot of great companies in San Diego with some amazing innovation and creativity.

Erik and Rob have definitely demonstrated those traits with Live SpeakR. The portability alone makes it far superior to any of the other docking speaker systems I researched. The sound is great as long as you use a good quality MP3. I have two songs in my library that I didn't know I need to replace until I heard the fluctuations on the Live SpeakR. Watch the video for a demo of how to use the system and to hear the sound quality (and a minor guest appearance at the end by my husband).

Right now, the system only comes in black but I know a white version is in the works. I'd like to see brushed stainless and the option to customize them with a skin. I definitely can see using the speakers later this year during the breast cancer walk. A lot of walkers strap small speakers to their backpacks and fanny packs and play really upbeat music.

I would buy a pink skin if some of the proceeds went to breast cancer research (or red for HIV/AIDS research, purple for March of Dimes, etc. etc). Erik and Rob also told me they are maybe, possibly, hopefully going to develop a version for those of you with that other type of phone (rhymes with Blackberry).

I want to say a huge thanks to Erik and Rob for waiting so patiently for me to get this up. Also, if you follow
and Peter Shankman on Twitter (@skydiver), he is having a massive 12-hour 1 Year Anniversary Twitter giveaway today. One prize every eight minutes until 6:30 tonight and the Live SpeakR system is one of the prizes.*

(They gave it away at 12:30pm CA time. The timing of my review was a total happy coincidence!)
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