How to Have a Safe iPod Touch and a Happy Kid
To learn about the most recent concerns regarding the iPod Touch, in addition to the information below, please read this March 2013 article.
The number one thing that my 10-year-old son wanted for his birthday this year was an iPod Touch. My husband and I haven’t allowed him a cell phone just yet, and won’t for quite a while, so we figured this would be a good way to see how responsible he’d be with the technology.
We also wanted him to understand that there were rules he had to follow and consequences if he didn’t. These rules were clearly spelled out to him, so we went ahead and bought him one. But prior to putting it in his hands, I wanted to make sure that I installed and set up all of the necessary safety features that would allow him to have a safe, but fun experience.
Though I’ve posted guides on how to set the parental controls on an iPhone—and granted most of the steps are the same with the Touch—I wanted to take a more in-depth approach as I’ve had several parents request the same walkthrough for their child’s iPod Touch.
I have to say, I’ve always been impressed with how easy Apple has made it for parents to set the safety features; however, the one thing that’s always worried me is the App Store. After digging through it a bit, I found that some of the top selling (and free, mind you) apps were adult oriented. These apps didn’t consist of porn, per se, but they were promiscuous enough for me to throw up a red flag and wonder how they got in the App Store to begin with!
Another one of my main concerns is YouTube—both the app and on the mobile web browser. I didn’t want to deprive my son entirely of having Internet access on his Touch, but I wanted to make sure that there was a content filter in place and that I could enable YouTube’s Safety Mode through the iPod’s web browser. All of that said, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the set up:
Just about everything safety related is managed from the Settings App. Tap it and select the menu called “General”.
Now you’ll be at the Restrictions page. This is essentially your Parental Safety Controls Dashboard. Here you can do several things, including:
- Remove/restore certain apps from the device.
- Set restrictions for the App Store.
- Set content restrictions for videos and music.
The first thing I did was switch Location to “off”. No one needs to know where your child is in real life! Learn more about geotagging on mobile devices, here.
Next, I disabled Safari since it doesn’t allow you to set content filters. If you want to allow your child to access the Internet, download one of these browsers. I definitely have my favorite, but here are a few to choose from:
With the new browser installed, I went ahead and turned off the YouTube app since there’s no way to set a filter there, forcing me to rely on the web version of YouTube via the mobile browser.
And finally, I turned off the ability for my son to install apps without my permission. Turning this off removes the App Store button from the Touch entirely. From there I went ahead and set the content restrictions for movies, TV shows and music.
Note that setting the Explicit setting to OFF makes it so any explicit songs that your child may already have on their iPod become unavailable. It also disables all explicit purchases in the iTunes Store.
There’s also the option to set the age restrictions for downloading apps from the App Store, but I found this to be somewhat useless as it still allows your child to see the adult apps and read the description. They are only prevented from downloading it to their iPod.
The last thing I did was go to the Safari app and set up YouTube Safety Mode.To do this, just go to Youtube.com. You’ll automatically be presented with the mobile version of the site, so just scroll all the way down to the bottom and select the link called “Desktop”. This will change the page to the web version of the site. From here just follow these directions to set up and lock YouTube safety mode. This will prevent your child from coming across any risky videos.
Finally, I loaded a bunch of music, games and even a few episodes from one of his favorite shows: Drake and Josh. It was so nice to give him something and show him all the things he could do, versus give him a gift and say “here’s what you can’t do!”
He pronounced his 10th Birthday, “The best birthday I’ve ever had. Thank you.” Now….I don’t have to worry and neither should you.