How To Have a Safe iPad and a Happy Kid

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Kid iPad Like the iPod and the iPhone, the iPad is starting to become somewhat of a household item. This means parents should take the time to understand the iPad’s parental controls and how to set them.

The process is fairly simple and very similar to that of the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but I figured it was worth putting a nice step-by-step picture guide just in case.


1. The first thing you’ll want to do is find the Settings button on your home screen –


2. Once you’ve clicked that, look for the “General” tab on the left side. From there you’ll see the “Restrictions” option—click it.

3. At the top, you’ll want to click “Enable Restrictions”. This will bring up a password box. Since this is your first time, you’ll need to think of a code and enter it twice to confirm.

Don’t forget this password. It’s your only way to turn restrictions on and off on the iPad. If you forget, the only way to bypass it is by resetting your iPad to the factory settings.


4. From here you’ll be given the option to disable or enable a number of apps and allowances: Safari, YouTube, installing apps, etc.

Switching these apps to the “off” position will actually remove them from your iPad’s homepage—meaning you/your children won’t be able to access them until you switch them back “on”.

UPDATE: If you have iOS7 installed on your child’s iPod Touch (and I recommend that you do), you’ll notice that Apple has integrated some very effective and easy-to-use parental controls in Safari. You can see a detailed breakdown of how to set this up, here.

Some suggestions:

Safari – You’ll want to turn this off if you don’t want your child browsing the web. Safari doesn’t have a content filter, if you want to allow your child to access the Internet, download one of these safe browsers. I definitely have my favorite, but here are a few to choose from:

YouTube SafetyMode isn’t an option here, so like I did with my son’s iPod Touch, you might find it necessary to completely disable YouTube app. You can still enable Safety Mode by opening your newly-installed safe web browser and going to 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.

Installing Apps – If you have little ones using your iPad (and I’m assuming you do if you’re reading this article), turn this off is highly recommended. This will prevent any unwanted bills from Apple.

5. If you scroll down on the same page you’ll notice that you can also choose the type of content you allow to be downloaded, installed or viewed on your iPad, as well as the option to disable in-app purchases.

In-app purchases – these are actual purchases made inside any app that’s downloaded to your iPad. So, if your son or daughter decides that they want to buy $100 worth of “gold coins” in Sally’s Silly Adventures, they can…if this isn’t turned off. Click here to read one father’s horror story.

Remember, your iTunes account is probably tied to your credit card if you’ve ever bought an app in the App Store.

From here you can also limit the kind of content that gets downloaded or played on your iPad. This is done by selecting the rating for each type of content.

Music – Setting the Explicit setting to OFF makes it so any explicit songs that your child may already have on their iPad become unavailable. It also disables all explicit purchases in the iTunes Store.

Movies –

TV Shows –

Apps –


6 . On the left side menu, look for Location Services (if it’s not there go back to General and you should see it at the top with a switch to turn it off and on). Either way, if your child’s iPad has a camera and an Internet connection, you might want to consider turning this feature off as it can pose some serious risks to their safety and privacy. Geotagging allows other people to see the exact physical location of your child. To learn more about the safety and privacy risks tied to geotagging, click here.

All in all, parents, safety enabling your iPad will take just 10 short minutes, but will offer you hours of peace of mind!

More resources:

iPod Touch Parental Controls Guide

iPhone Parental Controls Guide

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  • I wish the iPad had the same options for parental controls as our iMac. We can set access limits regarding what times during the day, and length of time the kids are allowed to be on the computer. It reduces a lot of tensions around computer time.
    We have disabled the time controller downloaded to the iPads because it is archaic and annoying… So, there’s always a fight when it comes to getting off the iPads. I’m going to have to buy a safe to put them in, because I’m running out of hiding places around the house.

  • Hello,
    I suggest you an app called “Safe Web for kids” to replace Safari in the iPad. It’s a web-browser that only allows to surf to websites that you have predefined. So far is working well for me and my wife.
    Best Regards,

  • Hello Mary Kay,
    I just stumbled upon your site from the 20/20 that aired last week. It is very nice to see what you are doing here and I can only hope we all figure out how to properly protect our children until they are old enough to understand the dangers online.
    I have one recommendation for you as far as parental controls. The iPad has very similar controls to Mac OS X has which some wonderful controls and is at the OS level so it can intercept and check everything running on the GUI level which gives you even deeper controls. Windows offers similar stuff but once you use a Mac you probably won’t go back and children love them! Thanks for all the hard work.

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