Mobile Security and Safety - iPod Edition

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There once was a time when iPods were an innocent idea for a child’s birthday or Christmas present. However, things have changed now that iPhones and iPod Touches have come onto the scene – these devices give children unprecedented access to the internet and to your credit cards. So, how do you protect your children from online issues on the iPod Touch? Furthermore, how do you protect your credit card from becoming an all-you-can-spend iTunes card?

The second issue is easily solved using a good password. Thankfully, iTunes allows for parents to set passwords on the device so that every purchase needs to be authenticated with the central iTunes server that connects back to your credit card. So, when little Billy or Susie decides to suddenly buy the “Hottest Chicks” app on the iPhone or iPod Touch, guess who they’ll have to go through? That’s right, you, because only you hold the password. Now, you’ll want to set an alpha-numeric password that only you know - don’t use the password you use for everything else for this. Kids are rather crafty, so the only way to outsmart them in their own domain is to make sure that your password is utterly un-guessable. Make up a password then spend a week or two memorizing it. When you have it down, set it as the iTunes default password and your problems are all but over.

What about the first part of our problem, the access to the internet being unlimited and untamed? I swear, if you sat a child down at a computer, they could find an inappropriate site faster than you could blink, which is why security on the iPod Touch is an essential consideration.

You could go the extreme route, and jailbreak the phone or iPod touch and just remove Safari all-together. But then again, that’s a problematic idea if you’re an inexperienced computer user. So, how do you go about this in the easiest way possible?

With the advent of iPhone’s 3.0 software ($10 for the iPod Touch), the “Settings” App give you a unified location to get rid of any and all temptations for your child and allows you to control fully what to buy and what they’ll see on the phone. To do this, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to the HOME SCREEN
  1. Click on the SETTINGS App

  2. Scroll down a little bit and click on the GENERAL settings button

  3. Under General Settings, You’ll see RESTRICTIONS, go ahead and click on that

  4. Inside RESTRICTIONS, select what you want ON and OFF – everything from Safari to the level of music allowed is in here

  5. For APP restrictions by age, you’ll have to go to the bottom APPS part of the restriction screen

Of course, none of this will replace good parenting and telling your kids what to see and what to buy on their phones. Everything should be run by you as the parent, but the best part is knowing that the phone or iPod Touch is taking care of it for you when you aren’t around. With this, you can be at work without worrying that your child is using their new gadget to view porn or buy inappropriate music or apps.