How to apply iPad parental controls

Recent times have put iPads and other screens in front of children like never before and challenged parents to consider what limits on screen time they should use. We’ll take you through what you can do about this on Apple’s tablet.

Safety for young children on Apple devices

An iPad offers your kids entry into an almost unlimited world of digital entertainment. They could learn new skills, design up a storm, use educational apps, play games, video chat with family.

There are downsides of course. Handheld devices (not just from Apple) can be addictive, they also give potential access to explicit content you may not want your children to see. Which is why parental controls for iPads are very useful tools to help protect your kids from the darker elements of the internet.

Within Apple’s iOS operating system, you will find ways to implement app limits as well as time limits which can prevent children from spending too much time online.


Set up allocated screen time

There’s plenty of research and information looking at the dangers of too much screen time for young children. It’s become more of an issue as iPads, iPhones, laptops, and social media platforms have grown in society.

For parents, it’s important to balance the knowledge that social apps can have real benefits to help children connect with their friends, with the certainty that many apps, platforms and games have addictive qualities; leading to hours of lost time and potentially even mood swings and behavioural challenges.

We’ve considered some of the latest thinking abound it and what can be done.

Using parental settings on iPads

Before you dive in, it’s probably worth trying to maintain a healthy relationship between devices and your kids’ other activities. Talking to them about how screen time should be balanced with sports, reading a book or just hanging out with a sibling, is a good start.

That way hopefully your children will understand any parental controls you put in place on the iPad with some context as to why they are important. When you are ready to put some parental control settings on the iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. To set a passcode, tap Use Screen Time Passcode and put in a four-digit code when prompted.
  4. To set content limits, tap Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  5. Enter the passcode and the turn on the Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  6. When you have enabled this parental controls feature, you will be able to set different restrictions and control the default applications that come with the iPad. For example, you will be able to disallow Location Services and Share My Location (so your child won’t be able to reveal their location if prompted by individuals up to no good).

Disallowing Share My Location

Common to iOS devices, iPads have a setting that reveals the user’s location. That can naturally be a worry for parents with small children, in case there is anyone unscrupulous out there who comes to interact with them. This has been a key issue with Snapchat – and it can be easily fixed for Apple users. Follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Open Settings, swipe down until you see Privacy, tap on this.
  2. Hit Location Services (near the top).
  3. Tap the toggle next to Location Services (appears green when ‘on’).
  4. Tap Turn Off to remove location services from all iPad apps.

If you want to further customise location access from the device, you can turn location services on or off at an individual app level. For example, you can switch location off for WhatsApp or Snapchat very easily following the steps above and selecting the listed apps below on that Location Services screen on the iPad.

Using a fuller range of iPad restrictions

There are plenty of options for parents who want to set limits and get a fix on what happens on their child’s iPad or iPhone and what content their children will be able to download or play.

It’s worth exploring these over time to find your way around them and select the levels you’re happy with. Content restrictions will also allow you to monitor the type of material they are able to view on their own. Here are some important categories and what they do:

  • iTunes and App Store Purchases – here you can prevent your child installing, deleting apps or making (costly) in-app purchases;
  • Allowed apps – permits or blocks access to programmes. Restricted apps will not appear on the Home screen;
  • Content restrictions – sets limits on the types of media your kids could play on the iPad. This is a method for putting a child lock against 18-rated films or TV shows, podcasts with explicit material or violent 16-rated video games. You can also block music and books with mature content.

For more information on setting controls across a range of devices, apps and platforms visit Internet Matters

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