Skip to main content

Four questions to answer before buying your teen an iPad

Your child is stupendously manipulative, independently wealthy, or unbearably charming. Or maybe you're a good parent looking to give the best tool to help your kid in school. Either way, you are considering letting this kid have an iPad. Before you send those $500 to Cupertino, answer these four critical questions.

1. What is your AUP?
Most schools and businesses establish an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for technology. Consider writing up a family AUP for technology between you and your child. You could clearly define how, when, and where the iPad should be used. Establish what types of websites he is permitted to visit, what kinds of games he can play, and what media he may consume. Explain why you have these rules in place before you purchase the device. Get these rules in writing and have both of you sign it. You could review the details of the policy after six months to meet changing demands and increased maturity.

2. Who controls the Apple ID account?
In order to get past the welcome screen on a new iPad, you must register the device with an Apple ID and password. You may already have one if you use iTunes or have another Apple device. You need to decide if you are going to control this account, or will you let your teenager have administrative control. Each time you download an app, purchase music, or rent a movie, you need to enter the Apple ID password associated with the iPad. If you want full control over everything that happens on the device, register it with your own password. Unfortunately, your teenager is going to ask you to enter your password each time an app needs to be updated, which is about as often as she asks for a ride to the mall. You could take the other approach and give full account control to your child by giving her a credit card and her own account. Beware. One parent ended up with a five-digit iPad bill because his kid made a bunch of in-game purchases to keep his virtual fish alive. Since you trust your child enough to provide an iPad, perhaps you should allow her to control the account, but provide an iTunes gift card when registering the iPad rather than a credit card to keep a fixed cap on the expenses.

3. Will you enable restrictions?
Even if your child has control of the Apple ID account, you could still enable password protected restrictions to lock down certain apps or hardware elements. To access the restrictions settings tap Settings > General > Restrictions. The iPad will ask you to provide a four digit password. Then you can enable and disable native apps like YouTube and FaceTime. You can also restrict all apps by their rating in the iTunes store. If you don’t want your kid watching rated R movies, uncheck the R rating in the Movies page. As long as you have control of the restrictions password, you have control of what apps and media your child uses on the device.

4. Where will the device live at three in the morning?
No one is going to stop a teenager from reading comic books under their covers all hours of the night with a flashlight. Give up on that battle. However, you can keep him from Facebooking when he should be sleeping. If your child is losing sleep because of any technology, this is a serious problem. Confiscate the device during bedtime hours. Write it into your AUP. Besides, if he’s using it all night, when are you going to break his Angry Birds record?

Popular posts from this blog

Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

As I mentioned in my previous post, the first thing I do in class is have my students write and deliver two minute introductions. Obviously it gives me a sense of their writing and presentation skills, but more importantly it allows me to know who they are. Here's the prompt I give them:
Your first formal assignment is to compose and present a short introduction so I may better get to know you. I'm only looking for a two minute introduction. I would like you to type it out and then read it to the class. Make sure you save your work somewhere because I'm going to ask you to post it in your portfolio (more on that later). I'd like to get a sense of who you are and what your voice is. Not sure what to write? No problem ... here are some ideas to help get you started: What are you passionate about?What are some of your goals for the year? For your life?What is the most important physical object in your life? (take a photo of it and bring it to class)What is your greatest f…

A letter to my students and parents about the 20% Project

Dear Students and Parents of the York School 10th Grade Class,

I hope you all had an adventurous and energizing summer. I wanted to write to introduce myself and let you know a little bit about one of the unusual projects we’ll be taking on this year in English III.

In 2011 we began The 20% Project in English III. This is a major project-based-learning assignment that spans the entire school year and encourages students to pursue a creative interest they would otherwise not experience in our academic program at York.
Before I get into the details of the project, I want to explain why we’re asking students to participate in this activity. For over 20 years a trend in education has been gaining momentum that suggests the role of the teacher ought to shift away from an industrial model where the teacher stands in the front of the classroom to dispense knowledge through lectures, and the students sit to consume the information. Rather than being the “sage on the stage” as some …

It's time. Turn on 2-step Verification in your Google Account

If your Google account happens to be one of the billion Internet passwords The New York Times just reported to have been amassed by a Russian gang, then your docs, your mail, and your puppy photos are in the hands of a ... well ... Russian gang. Unless you have 2-Step Verification turned on.

We have no idea if any of these passwords are actually Google accounts, but really it makes no difference. The password system for proving that you are you is completely broken. Almost all passwords are weak even when websites say they're strong. If your password doesn't look like this ...
8.;=>#qH->8'6Mv  ... it's weak.

If it does look like that, then it's only secure as long as the Russian gang or any other hacker hasn't stolen it.

So far, the best way to protect your accounts is to use 2-Step Verification.

With 2-Step, access to your account requires not only something you know (password), but also something you have (your phone). After you have it turned on, each …