Parents Guide to Kid-Proofing Your iPhone or iPad

As parents, we know the importance of preparing for every disaster, no matter how unlikely. That's why it's critical to take certain measures before handing your expensive iPhone or iPad into eager, little hands. Not only do you need to protect your child from stumbling across inappropriate content in apps, you need to make sure your device survives your child. Here's a look at the best ways to protect your child (and your device) using built-in iOS features and some sturdy equipment.

How to Keep Your Child From Leaving an App

Say there's an app your child really loves. It's fun and educational, so you love it too! Problem is, it's one of many apps on your iPhone or iPad, all of which you don't want your child experimenting with. How do you allow your child to play with their favorite app without worrying that they'll stumble out of it and into something they shouldn't?

Thankfully there's a built-in feature on all iPhones and iPads that solves this problem. It's called Guided Access, and it locks your child into an app of your choosing (and out of the internet, Amazon, or any apps that manage your bank account, for example). Follow these steps to set up Guided Access on your iPhone or iPad:

Prefer to see Guided Access in action? Watch our video tutorial.

  • Step 1: Locate the Settings icon in your iPhone or iPad. Tap to enter.
  • Step 2: Select “General” and then “Accessibility.”
  • Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap “Guided Access.”
  • Step 4: Toggle Guided Access to on. (TIP: You can also set up a password here to make it even more difficult for your child to accidentally turn off Guided Access. Tap “Password Settings” to input your preferred, four-digit password. Don't forget it!)
  • Step 5: Return to the home screen by pressing the Home button on your iPhone.
  • Step 6: Tap into the app you want your child to use. Make sure the app is ready for your child. For example, if you wanted your child to only watch his or her videos in Jellies, you would need to select “Kids Mode” to open the video player.
  • Step 7: Tap the Home button three times to start Guided Access mode.
  • Step 8: When your child is finished using the app, tap the Home button three times. You'll be asked to input your password if you set that up earlier.
  • Step 9: Tap “End” to disable Guided Access. You now can use your iPhone and all your apps like normal.

There are many other things you can do to safeguard your child with Guided Access. Control what your child can do in the app by locking the volume controls, turning off the keyboard, even make certain areas of the app off-limits. Guided Access also provides a timer feature for parents who want to limit their child's screen time. Learn about all these Guided Access features for parents in How to Lock Your Child Into an App.

Screen Time With iOS 12

What about when you want your child to access multiple kid-friendly apps without buying half the App Store or stumbling into anything scary?

Apple added an even more powerful feature for parents with iOS 12. Called Screen Time, it gives parents access to a bunch of parental controls, from creating daily time limits for certain types of apps to preventing your child from buying things from the App Store. It also provides data about your child's screen time activity so you can step in before potential problems arise.

To use Screen Time effectively, you need to get familiar with three key features:

  • Downtime: This allows you to block off certain times of the day when you don't want your child interacting with their iPhone or iPad. We recommend doing this for dinnertime and bedtime.
  • App Limits: With this feature you can limit the amount of time your child spends on certain types of apps. For example, you could limit gaming apps to only an hour a day while making educational apps accessible for much longer.
  • Content & Privacy Restrictions: These features let you dive into your child's screen experience. You can block your child from installing new apps or deleting existing apps from your device, set content ratings, and even set a volume limit so your child can't crank the sound up all the way. There's a lot more to control here, so take your time when you go through the options.

Screen Time can be a little confusing to set up, so check out our video tutorial and written guide on getting started with parental controls on iOS 12 for help.

Protect Your Devices With Cases and Screen Protectors

What's installed on your device isn't the only cause for concern. You'll want to make sure to protect your iPhone or iPad with a screen protector and a durable case before handing it off to your child.

The durable case is a must as it encases the entire device in a protective shell and limits the amount of damage done if your child drops or throws the device. A screen protector serves as an added layer of protection against rough handling. While your device's screen is already scratch-resistant to a degree, the screen protector might prevent you from needing to pay for a costly screen replacement.

For protective cases:

  • Go for bulky, heavy-duty cases. It's a near certainty that the device will slip out of your child's hands at least once, so don't be tempted by thinner, sleeker versions.
  • Make sure the case extends up in the front in case your child drops the device directly onto it's screen.
  • Purchase a case that's made for your type of iPhone or iPad. If you buy a case for an earlier version, for example, you may find that it the holes for the charging ports don't line up.

For screen protectors:

  • Plastic film is cheaper but offers less protection. It only protects against scratches. Depending on the type of protective case you get, you may not need much more than that.
  • Tempered glass costs more, but isn't about to break anyone's bank. It's sturdier and protects against scratches and falls. It also feels more like the actual screen on your device.
  • If you go the tempered glass route, look for protectors with oleophobic coating. This coating allows you to use a micro-fibre cloth to clean away fingerprints.

Don't forget to read reviews and shop around for the best price! Protecting your device shouldn't cost too much, though you may want to invest time in finding the right one for your family.

Final Thoughts

Setting up Guided Access and Screen Time are great first steps to protecting your family. Unfortunately parents need to consider a lot more when it comes to warding off all the dangers that come with children and technology. We regularly post helpful resources for parents on topics from choosing the right kids videos to deciding when it's appropriate to post about your child on social media. Keep learning about parenting in the tech age on the Jellies blog.

Please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook with any questions about Jellies or app safety. Click here to download the Jellies app.