We often hear about children accidentally spending hundreds of real dollars on virtual goods while playing on the family iPad. Stories about kids overspending on virtual pets, premium currency and paid apps keep making headlines, like this BetaBeat story on 6-year-old twins who rang up almost a thousand pounds on virtual toys , or this Telegraph story about 23 million iOs customers trying to get their children’s app purchases refunded .
Let’s also remember that not every app on the App Store is appropriate for children. It’s not hard to find a game with violence or adult language. Restrictions, sometimes called Parental Controls, can be enabled on your iOs device to protect your child while they play games or browse the App Store on the family iPad. Here’s a simple way to keep your kids safe from adult content and keep your credit card safe from surprise purchases.
First, tap the Settings icon on your iOs device. From this menu, tap General, which is found on the left side. Then tap Restrictions, found on the righthand side. From here, you can tap Enable Restriction.
Next, you’ll be prompted to enter a four-digit passcode. Depending on how much security you need, you can make this extremely difficult to guess and change it frequently, or you can just set something simple. Even an obvious “1234” will prevent a child from accidentally tapping to make purchases! Either way, this passcode will restrict downloading adult apps and spending real money in games.
From this menu, you can decide what type of content should require the passcode. Depending on your child’s age and maturity, you might like to restrict all app downloads, or just require a passcode to download apps over a certain age rating. This is especially helpful if your child has his or her own iPad, because you can allow them the freedom to download any free, age-appropriate apps, without having to carefully monitor them.
This menu is also where you can choose to restrict apps with explicit language. Parents who use these restrictions well can have a lot of control over what their children see and download from the App Store.
From the same screen, you can tap and restrict In-App Purchases, to avoid accidentally spending real money on virtual coins in a game.
Once you have set your parental controls, all users on the device will need to enter your four-digit passcode to perform the actions you’ve restricted. Of course, it’s great to take an active interest in the content children are downloading from the App Store, but this way, you can safely hand them the iPad and know that your child won’t accidentally make expensive purchases or accidentally download mature content.