Set up Parental Controls for the iPhone or IPad | Privacy Settings – Part 4

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This is one in a series of blog posts I have put together describing how to setup parental controls for an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch.  If  you find this material helpful, you may want to download the Kindle version of my Book.  It contains even more information to guide you through the steps to ensure your child’s iPhone is secure.

iPhone Privacy Settings

You can choose to prevent changes to privacy settings including:  Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth sharing, Twitter and Facebook.

iPhone Privacy Settings

Many apps and devices want to reach out from your computer to interact with the world.  Use the privacy settings to restrict or eliminate their ability to disclose locations or send or modify your personal data.  The options available range from whether you allow applications to know your location, to whether your phone allows applications to interact with your calendar, Facebook, or Twitter account.

To set privacy settings, open the phone’s settings screen.  If you don’t know where it is, you can search for “Settings.”  Once you’re seeing the settings page, locate and tap the Privacy section.

Listed below are all the privacy settings you can change.

We recommend you keep Location Services on so you can find your phone.  In addition, you should consider reviewing the Bluetooth Sharing, Twitter, and Facebook sections.

*Location Services – This is a good setting to review once you have loaded all your apps onto the phone.  All the apps which can “phone-home” their location are listed.  Carefully review this list and turn off location service for any apps which you do not deem necessary.

Whether I’m working on my phone or my child’s phone, I tend to be conservative when assessing parental controls; I always ask myself why an app would need access to a service.  In most cases they don’t.  I tend to turn OFF access for most applications.  Later, if I find it inconvenient, I can easily turn it back ON.

For instance, you may want to keep the services on for the map application, but turn it off for Angry Birds!

You may notice a location services icon next to the on switch for some of the apps.  This indicates whether the application has recently used these services.  A purple icon indicates the application recently used the services; a gray icon means the application used locations services in the past 24 hours; a purple outlined icon indicates an app is using a geo-fence.  Geo-fences are a virtual perimeter set up around a location.  Whenever your phone crosses the perimeter you receive an alert.

I’m often asked whether you can set up geo-fences to monitor your child’s movement.  For example, a typical question asked is “I want to know whether my teenager is going to the “bad” side of town or if she is going to her boyfriend’s house when she says she’s going to the library…”Parental Controls and Teenagers

The short answer is you can setup geo-fences using the iPhone’s reminder feature; however, as the reminders are only shown on the phone, they aren’t useful for monitoring.  However, using the iCloud Find My Phone feature, you see where your child’s phone is at the moment, so you can tell whether she is at the library or the boyfriend’s house.

We recommend keeping Location Services on, as the Find My iPhone™ feature requires it on for operation.  Once you have finalized your settings, change the restriction to Don’t Allow Changes.

Contacts – Can apps access your contacts? Review the list, and turn OFF this service for all but legitimate apps.  Since the phone is for your child, chances are there aren’t any applications requiring access.  The screen only shows applications requesting access; the list is empty if no requests have been made.

Calendars – Like Contacts, review this list of application and turn OFF the applications which shouldn’t access your calendar.  The screen only shows applications requesting access; the list is empty if no requests have been made.

Reminders – This screen lists applications requesting access to your reminders.  The screen only shows applications requesting access; the list is empty if no requests have been made.

Photos – Here you’ll find application requesting access to your photos.  Keep in mind that photos contain additional information, such as the location embedded in them.  Some kid game apps, such as Elmo’s Monster Maker or Cookie Doodle, allow kids to “save” their creations.  If you don’t want a photo album full of monster faces and overly frosted cookies, turn those off in Photo Setting.

*Bluetooth Sharing – Bluetooth is a technology headsets on other phones use to communicate with each other.  We recommend you set this to Don’t Allow Changes.

*Twitter – Use to determine which, if any, application can access your Twitter account.  Chances are, unless you have a teenager who tweets, you can turn this OFF for each application.

*Facebook – Use to determine which, if any, application gain access to your Facebook account.

It’s a good practice to periodically review these settings.  It doesn’t take long, and you may find a recently added application appearing in the list with the wrong settings.

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If  you find this material helpful, you may want to download the Kindle version of my Book.  It contains even more information to guide you through the steps to ensure your child’s iPhone is secure.

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