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Technology and kids - setting up a new iPod

Kids using technology is a subject that is surrounded by a lot of debate.  My personal philosophy is that technology is a part of our lives and it can add a lot of value.  I'm happy to let my children use it, but I want to make sure they're doing it safely.  One way I do that is to start them young and be part of the experience with them.

My eight year old got an iPod touch for his birthday in September.  We were lucky because it coincided almost identically with the release of iOS 8 and their family sharing functionality.

Setting up a children's account

Kids under 13 aren't supposed to have Apple accounts, however, if you set if up through your own apple account - they can!   This way your child has their own ID, password, etc, but you are responsible for the account.

They then have all the features that anyone with family sharing has - like sharing apps and music others have purchased, but you also have control over what they are allowed to have on their devices.   "Ask to buy" means that the parent gets a notification to their phone and can allow or deny a request for any app, free or paid.  You can also set parental controls and restrictions.

My personal rules for my eight year old

We have talked about using technology safely, but more than that, at eight years old he has been told very clearly that nothing he gets to do with his iPod is private.  If it's on his iPod we have access to it so we know all the passwords and we can go through and read anything, any time.

If he sets something up himself and we do not have the password, he will no longer be allowed to have the iPod.

We let him have access to iMessage, but we know who he is messaging and we regularly go through all of the messages to see what kinds of things they're talking about to make sure they are appropriate  (so far it's mostly just a lot of back and forth emails and talk about Minecraft :)

We also have an app that allows us to turn off all his apps at certain times of the day or whenever we decide he shouldn't be playing - stay tuned for another post about that app soon.

Leave a comment and let me know if you let your kids use technology and how you monitor their usage.