Is my child ready to have their own tablet?

It is often easier for parents and carers if children have their own tablet so that it can be set up appropriately specifically for them. On the iPad, the parental controls can be set up to stop use of the Internet browser Safari, Camera, Facetime etc. On Android tablets running the operating system 4.3 or newer, there are also some parental controls by creating a Restricted profile – you can then control which apps can be used. Search for your tablet and parental controls online to get specific instructions.

Younger children can benefit from parental controls on the device or on their Appstore or GooglePlay accounts preventing them downloading apps without your permission or making in-app purchases without your consent. Once the account has been set up go into Settings and choose the maturity level and set a PIN for App purchases to prevent those unexpected bills. For the GooglePlay store go to Menu > Settings > Parental controls to do this. For the Appstore you control this from the device as shown on the previous image.
Ensure you have access to the device: you should have the passwords and agree where and when the devices can be used.
If your child can follow these instructions then they are probably ready to have a tablet. Some will be ready once they start school; others may need to be 7 or 8 before this is possible for them. If a young child is using a family device, or your tablet that has limited or no controls on, then they must be supervised.

For more information see https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/devices-computers/

Rather than having their own device, many tablets can now be set up with profiles for different members of the family. This can work well and prevent children from seeing material they shouldn’t, but there may be issues if different people want to use the device at the same time. For information about how to set up profiles on devices see the link above.
The child or young person will still need supervision and/or monitoring depending on their age.

In summary:

  • Consider giving a child their own device or their own profile on a shared device
  • Decide whether you want your child to be able to contact others online
  • Check out whether you want to use parental controls
  • Think about how you will supervise and monitor