Encouraging Independent Play

Like most preschoolers, my son enjoys his play time especially through role-playing and imaginative scenarios. We have all the right toys in our home to create such an environment. What he lacked though was a playmate as he is the only child. Guilty about not giving him a sibling and being a working mother who could not spend as much time with him. I tried to make it up by being his favourite playmate. The pressure to continuously keep him entertained evening after evening finally took its toll one night. I felt like I had lost myself, having deprived myself of personal time because of my guilt. That was when I decided that he had to learn to play alone.

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“Childproof” Your iPad or iPhone

Some parents are fine with their kids or babies using the iPad but not me. There is only one iPad mini and it belongs to mummy. The last thing I want is to have a tug-o-war with Asher over it. So this is one of the reasons why I had not introduced it to him, not taught him how to navigate or explore the apps. If we ever used it, it would be me playing old videos of him as a baby to keep him entertained for awhile. But kids these days learn things so fast, he managed a chance encounter with the Apple device when I wasn’t around. So yeah, you should know where this leads to…

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I was showing my sister the game ‘Super Penguins’, after she put it down and the next thing you know, I find myself with 500,000 more coins. Turns out Asher had been purchasing coin packs happily within the last mere three minutes. The sneaky thing about these apps are that you could purchase coin packs without even needing to key in your iTunes password to reconfirm. Yes, in-app purchases do not require a password!

After this episode, I have learnt a thing or two about childproofing my iPad so that I won’t need to worry about these unwanted purchases in future.

To prevent incidents like the one I had unfortunately encountered. You will need to go to:

Settings > General > Restrictions, and tap Enable Restrictions.

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You’ll come up with a 4 digit password. Don’t forget it, as resetting it requires reseting your device. Please scroll down a bit until you see “Require Password” and change it to “Immediately.” If you’d also like to disable purchasing In-Apps, you can scroll up under the header Allow, and you can switch In-App Purchasing to Off. Please note, you need to put these restrictions on each device, and anytime a device is replaced, restored, reset or updated.

Apple has a helpful article about restrictions and parental controls which you could check for more information. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4213?viewlocale=en_US

If you find that your child had made purchases without your knowledge, you may go to Apple Support here to get them to assist you. They allow contact via phone, online chat or email. I chose Online Chat because it was the fastest and most inexpensive way of getting my issue resolved.

Thank goodness, Apple has a policy on refunds for purchases made under such circumstances. But lesson learnt, the iPad is not going to be seen anywhere near Asher anymore.

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