Use Family Sharing in iOS 8 to Keep Kids Safe Online
By Nicholas Pell
Family Sharing is a new feature offered by Apple through iOS 8. As many as six different people can share content through iBooks, iTunes and the App Store. You can approve your kids’ purchases right from your own device without having to give them your credit card every time.
But you can do a lot more than just keep an eye on your kids’ shopping. You can also use Family Sharing to help keep your kids safe.
Map Your Children’s Locations
One interesting feature of the Family Sharing app is that it allows you to know where every member of your family is at all times. This is more than just a simple “check-in.” The feature allows you to track your family’s location in real time, so you’ll never wonder where your kids are. Of course, the reverse is also true: When your kids need to find you, they’ll know where you are.
Any time your kids want to download an app, they’ll need your permission. This means if you’ve barred Facebook, they won’t be able to download the app on the sly. Even if you trust your kids online, you’ll be able to monitor precisely what apps they’re using. This means that, as long as they’re using it on their iOS device, they won’t have any secret social media accounts lurking around the Web.
Control Downloaded Media
Another area where you have greater control over your child’s browsing habits is media. Don’t want your kids listening to music with explicit lyrics? Don’t allow them to download it. One minor problem, however, is that if you want to download that kind of media (you are an adult, after all), you’re going to have to log on to your computer to do so. Downloading it via your phone will download it to all accounts.
Herd Your Cats
Setting up a family calendar can make it easier for your kids to stick to the family schedule. When you set up a calendar, your kids will get an alert to be where you want them to be when you want them to be. Now there’s less chance they’ll be wandering around the mall when you’re supposed to be meeting them for a ride.
Family Sharing isn’t a cure-all to keep your kids safe online. It is, however, a pretty handy little tool.
Nicholas Pell is a freelance writer based in Hollywood, CA. He writes about music, personal finance and technology for publications such as LA Weekly, Salon and Business Insider. He’s been online since the days of Usenet groups and bulletin board systems.