12/23/11

MacMost Now 648: iOS Parental Controls

Parents of kids who have an iPad or iPod touch may want to know how to control restrictions in iOS Settings. It is fairly simple to restrict content like movies, music and apps. You can also set the device so your kids can't add new apps or change email or other settings.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with 'MacMost Now.' In today's episode let's look at iOS Parental Controls. Now, this holiday season I'm sure a lot of kids are getting gifts like the iPod Touch and iPad. Now how do concerned parents deal with the fact that there's all sorts of content that may not be appropriate for their kids? There is music, there are apps, there's things on the Web. Let's go and take a look at Parental Controls on iOS. Now for basic parental restrictions go into Settings on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch and then choose General. Then look for Restrictions. You want to tap Enable Restrictions and then give it a four-digit password. So make sure you remember this. You're going to be asked to enter it twice. Make sure your write that down because if you lose that password then you're in all sorts of trouble. Now the basics here are to enable or disable some of the basic apps. For instance, if you don't want them to be able to access the default YouTube app, just turn that one off. Same for using the camera or FaceTime, iTunes, using the Ping social network on iTunes and being able to install and delete apps. So in general, you might want to turn off Installing Apps. And this means if they want an app you simply have to go and install it for them. You can also scroll down here and turn off Changes to certain things. Like for instance, changes to how Location settings are. So Location settings are set in a certain way. You can Allow Changes or Don't Allow Changes. If you Allow Changes then you can actually go down here and set how things are. So basically you set up things here, like for instance turn on or off Find Friends or turn on or off Location use in Maps, say. And then once you have everything set up the way you want, let's say let's turn off Twitter and Camera and Find Friends. Then I can lock it. Now we can also go and not Allow Changes to email accounts. So in other words, the email accounts you have set up are locked in place. They can't add an email account or remove it. And then you've got Ratings down here. So Ratings allow you to say for Music and Podcasts to Not Allow explicit content, anything labeled Explicit. For something like Movies or TV Shows you can check off the highest allowed rating. So if for instance, you wanted to stick to PG-13, you can tap on PG-13 and then R and NC-17 rated movies are not Allowed. Same thing for TV Shows with the ratings there and Apps, too. Now a very important one may be In-App Purchases. By turning that off you're not allowing In-App Purchases which is important because a lot of kids' games out there are free and then allow you to purchase extra bits while you're playing the game. So you can just turn that off. You can leave it on as well but instead the password that's required for making a purchase is set to every 15 minutes. In other words you make a purchase for the next 15 minutes, you can make a purchase for that entering the password, you can set that to Immediately. So if your child wants to make a purchase in an app or buy a new app or spend any kind of money in any way, using the account then they have to go to you, you enter the password and they get that item. But in order to get another one they have to ask you for the password again and you have to enter it in. You can also turn off Multiplayer Games and Adding Friends in Game Center. Now usually what happens when you disallow something is the option simply isn't there. So instead of being faced with a message saying, 'You can't do this,' you just simply can't do it. So for instance, under Accounts if I disallow changes, you can see on the left, iCloud and Twitter were grayed out. I can't even select those. If I now go to Mail, Contacts and Calendars you can see I can't access any of the accounts here or make any changes or Add an Account. So what about finer control over what your kids can see on the Web? Maybe you don't want to turn off Safari completely but you want to filter out some inappropriate content. Well, check out Episode 453 where I talk about how to do that. Not just for maybe the iPad or the iPod Touch but for other devices in your house as well. Since so many of the devices kids have, say like Nintendo DSes can access the Internet. Now, there's no real substitute for direct parenting, for supervising your kids, for talking to them about things they may find and what's appropriate and not appropriate and what you want them to do and not do with their new device. But these Parental Controls can provide some assistance in that department. Hope you found this useful. Till next time, this is Gary with 'MacMost Now.' Want more video tutorials? Just go to MacMost.com, click on the Videos link at the top of the page and then you can view all of the hundreds of MacMost videos by category.