Want help talking to your kids about porn?  Get our free Quick Start Guide: How to Talk to Kids about Pornography.

Screen Time

iPad Safety Features Parents Are CRAZY Not to Use

Are you using the iPad safety features? iPads are awesome, but like other mobile devices, they can lead curious kids to bad places on the internet or to inappropriate apps.

Here’s just one story to illustrate how important these controls can be. A 3 year old was exposed to hardcore porn while innocently using an iPad. She was sitting on the couch right next to her mom (who was on her phone) playing a game. Suddenly the little girl cried out. Looking down, her mom was horrified to see a hard core porn video involving bestiality.

How in the world did her daughter find that? Who knows! Sadly it’s way too easy to stumble upon the dark parts of the internet, even if you’re an innocent 3 year old!

Here’s a simple way to hand over your iPad or iPhone to your child and still have control over how they use it.

Guided Access to the Rescue!

My daughter is a special ed teacher and uses iPads in her classroom. One of her favorite features is called GUIDED ACCESS. She uses it to “guide” (read “restrict”) her students’ use of the iPad. This feature is also available on other Apple devices, like iPhones.

Guided Access allows parents, teachers and other adult caregivers to do the following:

  • set a time limit,
  • restrict access to other apps,
  • turn on or off hardware controls, and
  • limit access to various parts of the screen.

Here’s a quick, up-to-date video I made with my daughter to show you how to use all of the cool controls in Guided Access. I’ve also included written instructions below.

NOTE: You'll need to turn OFF the Motion control (to disable screen rotation) if you have drawn a box around a portion of the screen to disable touch control in that area. If you don't, your kids will be able to rotate the screen and potentially control the areas on the screen that you want to block.


Instructions for Using Guided Access

To set up, tap Settings > General > Accessibility (you have to scroll all the way down the list)> Guided Access. Turn Guided Access on.

Enter a passcode and make sure the Accessibility Shortcut option is turned on.

To start a Guided Access session, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the app you want to use.
  2. Triple-click the Home button (that’s the Accessibility Shortcut option you turned on earlier).
  3. Adjust settings for the session at the bottom of the screen, and then tap Start.

Note: You’ll need to do this every time your child wants to use a different app.

To disable app controls and areas of the app screen, follow these steps:

  1. With your fingertip, draw a line around any part of the screen you want to disable.
  2. Use the handles to adjust the area.

If you want to disable all screen touch controls, turn off Touch. This is useful if you only want your child to be able to watch a video.

Turn off Motion to keep your iPad from switching from portrait to landscape or from responding to any other motions. This is important because if your child shifts from portrait to landscape, the area of the screen that you disabled will no longer be disabled. For example, if you put a rectangle around the search bar to keep your kids from going to other websites, that rectangle will now be somewhere else on the screen.

My daughter really loves the timer feature. She gets easier compliance from her students when the device effectively says “time’s up!” instead of her.

How to End a Guided Access Session

In order to end a Guided Access session, you’ll need to input your passcode or use Touch ID. If you’ve enabled Touch ID on your iOS device, simply:

  • Press the Home button once.
  • Use Touch ID to end the session.

If you're not using Touch ID on your device,

  • Triple-click the Home button.
  • Enter the Guided Access passcode.

Sharing is Caring

I hope you find it easy to use this feature on your Apple devices. It’s a powerful tool to help children take advantage of these amazing devices without getting hurt by them. Help other parents do the same by sharing this post with them!

Unfortunately we can’t use Guided Access when our kids walk out the door. That’s when they need to engage their own protective internal filter. Help your young kids build theirs today with our Good Pictures Bad Pictures series of read aloud books.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.

A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds

“I highly recommend this book to all people with children. A must have for all parents!” —Amazon Review

Learn more or buy