Lisa Smock, a mom of three grown children, serves as an iOS technology consultant at the Apple Store in Arden Fair Mall, Sacramento. She teaches parents and grandparents how to take advantage of all the rich functionality of their iPADs and iPhones, and she has observed that when parents purchase devices for their children it is without truly understanding the power of the devices.
“I see parents purchasing these devices for their children believing it is for simply staying in touch,” she said. “And they do not realize that this is a major decision that requires a tremendous amount of responsibility on the part of the parent and child. And the problem is the parents don’t really know how the device is being used or how it is impacting their child.” Below are some of Smock’s suggestions to limit the use of the device according to the functions appropriate for young users.
Cyber safe iOS parenting tips:
- Be the confident parent-user of the device before you hand it over to your child. Remember being issued phone is a privilege, not a right. And when you are paying for the device and the service, it still belongs to you. Your child is granted the privilege of using it which is always on the condition of being responsible.
- Familiarize yourself with all of the “restrictions” that enable you to establish an age-appropriate user-baseline for your child. For example, you may want to turn off the photo function and Safari if your child is not ready for unsupervised access to people and websites.
- Under privacy settings for the apps you will find options to turn location service (GPS tracking/tagging) on or off. Note that “location services” is another way of saying “GEO tracking/tagging” which enables other apps to disclose where you and the device are or have been. It can serve as an aid for cyber stalkers.
- Enable the “Find My Friends” app and check “do not allow changes.” This is the app where you will want to have the location service turned on, so that you can track where the device is at any time.
For iOS devices, Apple offers workshops and appointments with technology advisors at the genius bar. You can sign up at these locations: