TechMom Tuesday: How To Keep Kids Out of Your Data


I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.

(I’m well aware it’s Friday. I was traveling this week – at an honest-to-goodness TechNerd Conference. If you want TechMom Tuesday on Tuesdays, head on over to AlliOSNews for all things Apple. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on.)

“Mommy? Can I play Jake on the iPad?”

I prefer the iPad to the television. There really are some very nice learning apps for TechTots, such as Wheels on the Bus and Jake’s Neverland Pirate School, based off the Disney Jr. show (YOHO!). The games are interactive and less likely to drive TechMom nutty.

But even as much excitement as the apps provide, the allure of pushing buttons is often much greater.

The majority of our iDevice time is usually spent saying, “Good job matey! You found the monkey and earned a gold dubloon. No, don’t push that button. No! <sigh> Would you like me to start the game over? Absolutely not. That’s Mommy’s app. Stop pushing that button or I’m taking the iPad away.”

With iOS 6, Apple introduced Kid Mode – ability to lock a device into an app. And the angels sang.


Head to the “Settings” app and choose “General.” Scroll down and select and tap on “Accessibility.”

Under the “Learning” subsection, click “Guided Access.”

Guided Access

Toggle the switch to “ON.” Tap “Set Passcode” and (this will shock you) set a passcode. (This is the secret access you’ll use to escape out of Guided Access mode.

You can also decide if you prefer to “Enable Screen Sleep.” I highly recommend turning it “ON,” because this will help sustain battery life but making your iDevice go dark if it’s left inactive for a period of time.

You are now all set to provide hours of entertainment IN A SINGLE APPLICATION to a TechTot. Feel free to commence blinking without fear that the wee one has navigated to your Mail and managed to delete all.

Now that Guided Access is configured, you can use it to lock the iOS device into any app you want.

Jake Menu

Launch your desired app and triple-click the Home button to summon the gods of Accessibility.

Set the Guided Access rules by deciding if you’ll allow touch or motion (flipping from portrait to landscape). I always turn off Motion to prevent freakouts due to an unexpected screen flip.

Click “Start.”

Second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning. You’re in Neverland for the long-haul mateys!

Sooner or later, you’ll feel the need to escape. Which means you’re going to want out of Guided Access.

Triple-click the Home button again and enter your chosen passcode. This time click “End” when the Accessibility menu appears.

Warning: Although it’s never happened to me, I have heard rumors of a bug that causes third-party apps to get stuck, rendering your escape route unescapable. If the bug has not yet been addressed and you find yourself in the unfortunate loop of “Say the pirate passcode!” force a reboot by holding Home and Power buttons together for 15 seconds.



Filed under TechMomTuesday

4 Responses to TechMom Tuesday: How To Keep Kids Out of Your Data

  1. I owe you a drink. A large one with an umbrella.

  2. Nicole

    I use my ipad as a communication device, teaching device, and reinforcing device with my students (I do ABA therapy with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders) and this will be very helpful to keep them focused on the task at hand.

  3. Dalia

    How is this not better publicized?! this is TOO COOL- Tova’s favorite thing is to get out of apps! I so owe you!

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