Help! My child has an iPad over Christmas Holidays!

I was talking with a parent recently about managing multiple iPads within the home. She commented that maintaining control over five iPads has not been an issue because at the commencement of holidays all mobile technology is handed in and placed securely away. This strategy has become routine and while it may have been met with some early resistant the children abide by established boundaries. The family enjoy holidays more than ever. iPad technology has not disrupted their lifestyle or quality of living.

iPad technology is required my many schools for educational purposes. The end of the school year means the device is not required for schooling for many weeks. This may provide an excellent reason for parents to collect the device and reissue the tablet when classes recommence. Alternatively parents may limit access, enable Restrictions or provide their family with unrestricted access and control. Ultimately parental action will determine time expenditure.

The chances are, however, that children will want to communicate with their friends and use applications that have been installed on the device. In theory… they don’t have too. There are alternative methods of entertainment and communication. Parents are able to adopt numerous strategies to master control over mobile technology within the home during extended holidays. Christmas Holidays are long! Parents may become frustrated about their access to iPad technology.

I believe there are five options;

1. Allow continued free and unbridled use

Parents can allow their child to use their device whenever, wherever and however. Unlimited use will mean open access to iMessage and Social Media. In addition children will have access to applications and can browse Safari at leisure. Students may become addicted to online activity and extensive use can impact on health and sleep hygiene. Free access may result in conflict if boundaries have not been formulated. Demanding mobile technology to be put away is contrary to established culture. Inconsistent expectations make management of moble technology complex and arduous.

2. Negotiate an allocated time of use

Parents can negotiate time with their family. Parents may decide mobile devices may be used at morning tea, during the evening for one hour on only on weekends. The difficulty with this is time needs to be monitored and parents will need to maintain consistent standards and enforce consequences for unwilling compliance.

3. Collect the iPad and store is somewhere so that it cannot be used

This strategy is simple and affective. It doesn't mean children can't have access to technology. It simply means online activity is restricted to a family computer and the convenience of an agile device is removed. Parents may decide to terminate all online activity. This strategy is a deliberate move toward enhancing family connections and has a positive influence on building relationships. This strategy is focused on the family rather than technology. The dilemma is parents will need to provide alternative activities and promote activity and events of leisure.

4. Enable Parent Restrictions

Every parent should enable parent restrictions. Watch my YouTube Channel to learn how to enable Restrictions. Enabling restrictions allows parents to stop installation of applications. Parents can turn off iMessage, FaceTime and all Social Media. This is performed by deleting the relevant applications and disabling application installation. Setting iPad Restrictions offers a great solution to busy parents who want to enforce a layer of control with a balanced approach. The difficulty is that parents will need to decide to what extent they enforce complete control over the device.

5. Enable Guided Access

Guided Access is under utilised. It is simple to use and I have posted instructions on my YouTube Channel. I think guided Access offers a friendly approach to establishing control of mobile technology within the home. Guided Access will allow one application to be used. If Safari is the only application to be used it would restrict access to gaming and other installed applications. Children would be able to access Facebook if required and conduct basic browsing. To prevent access to undesirable material a blacklist or whitelist will need to be created. An excellent alternative is to lock down the search bar and only allow access to favourites and bookmarks.

Technology is not intended to be a burden. If access to mobile technology makes life problematic then it is evident boundaries need to be established and rules enforced. Perhaps selecting one of my suggested approached will assist in the certainty of a very Merry Christmas. Silent Night... no mobile device. I suggest putting the iPad away this Christmas and spend quality time as a family.


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