iOS Restrictions
If you’re a parent with an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, then you’re probably aware that the little munchkins know how to work your device better than you do. They have also figured out how to rearrange applications and even delete them. And the last thing you need is your kid accidently firing off an e-mail to your boss full of gibberish, making you look like an idiot. Of course, Apple has built in Restrictions, which are supposed to help restrict what children (or some adults) can and can’t get to. Once enabled, Restrictions essentially remove a specific application such as Safari, YouTube, or iTunes from the screen. Restrictions also allow more-granular control over applications, music, and movies that have age restrictions. For example, I can restrict any application that is not appropriate for kids under the age of 9. But this means that when you’re ready to claim your device back and use Restricted applications, you have to disable some or all Restrictions. So in essence Apple’s iOS Restrictions are great if your child is the only one who uses the device. However, chances are it’s your iPhone or iPad and your child gets to play with it when you let him, or when you don’t see him snatch it from your super-secret hiding spot.

We can also make the argument that the device is not a toy and kids should not use it. However, that argument won’t stand up in court. We all know that by unleashing iPhones and iPads onto the world, Apple single handedly created baby crack. Kids (and most adults) cannot resist the temptation of killing time playing some pretty amazing games. And as smart as Apple’s engineers are, I can’t understand why they could not design a better way to handle Restrictions as a whole.

Here is my solution – page-based Restrictions. Leave existing Restrictions settings in place, but also allow me as a user to restrict access to everything with the exception of one specific page. For example, I move all games and applications that my kid is allowed to use to a page. And lets say it’s the last page. When the kid flips to that page, he is not able to flip back unless a pre-set secret code is entered correctly. This way I can flip to the secure page, give my iPhone to my child, and not worry about him browsing through other pages or apps. Simple and effective. So how about it, Apple? Don’t any of your software engineers have kids?

If you have other solutions and ideas, then please post them in comments.

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