How to Set Up a Tablet for Kids. Tablets offer kids an endless world of fun and learning that’s literally right at their fingertips. As a parent, though, you might be worried about your child getting into content that’s age-inappropriate or even unsafe. Plus, you likely want to limit how much time your kids spend playing games or vegging out on YouTube. Luckily, with a little planning, you can set up a tablet that’s safe, fun, and easy for your child to use. And with basic parental controls, you can even set limits on screen time.
Choosing the Right Tablet and Accessories
- Pick a tablet designed for kids for built-in child-friendly features. While you can set up parental controls and download kid-friendly apps on any tablet, there are several options on the market that come pre-loaded with features and content just for children. Many of these tablets are also designed to be small and sturdy, making them perfect for younger users. Look for options like:
- The Amazon Fire Kids Edition
- The Fuhu Nabi Dream Tab
- The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Kids Edition
- The Leapfrog Epic
- The KD Interactive Kurio Smart, a combination tablet and laptop for kids
- Make a list of features you want to help narrow down your choice. Different tablets have different strengths, so think about how your child will be using their tablet most of the time. Write down the key features that you want the tablet to have, such as a high-quality display, lots of storage space, or a good selection of pre-loaded apps and content. Then, you can compare the different options on the market and choose the one that’s best for your child.
- For example, if you want a tablet that’s preloaded with access to tons of kid-friendly books, games, and music, the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a great option.
- If you think your child will be mostly using their tablet to watch movies on the go, you might opt for the Fuhu Nabi Dream Tab, with its powerful 8 in (20 cm) display and built-in access to lots of Disney content.
- Get a sturdy case to help protect the tablet. No matter how careful your child is, accidents can happen. To protect your child’s tablet from the occasional bump, fall, or juice spill, look for a kid-proof tablet case that provides lots of cushioning, grips on the sides for little hands, and maybe even water resistance. Make sure the case you choose is designed to fit your particular tablet.
- Some kids’ tablets, like the Amazon Fire Kids Edition, come with their own case. Typically, though, you’ll need to buy the case separately.
- Some cases come with additional features you might like, such as a built-in stand or a mount for the back of a car seat headrest.
- Put on a screen protector to prevent smudges and scratches. You’ll also want to protect your tablet’s delicate screen from sticky fingers and rough handling. Look for a screen protector that’s designed to fit correctly on your child’s tablet.
- Tempered glass screen protectors are a little more expensive than some of the plastic alternatives on the market, but they’re also a lot tougher.
- Some screen protectors are designed to reduce glare or filter out blue light to reduce strain on your child’s eyes.
- Look for a bag or sleeve so you can bring your tablet wherever you go. Tablets are great for entertaining kids on long car trips or plane rides. If you’re going to be carrying the tablet around, invest in a carrying case that will protect it and allow you to easily tote around accessories like chargers and headphones.
- Lots of tablet bags and carrying cases come in fun, kid-friendly designs and colors. Encourage your child to pick out their favorite design!
Setting Parental Controls
- Take advantage of built-in settings if you have a tablet designed for kids. Tablets that are made with kids in mind are usually preloaded with parental controls and security features. When you turn on the tablet for the first time, follow the prompts and instructions onscreen to set up your child’s account the way you want it.
- For example, the LeapFrog Epic will prompt you to set up a parental account along with separate accounts for up to 3 kids. In the parental controls, you can control things like which websites your kids can access and how much screen time they can have on any given day.
- The Amazon Fire family of tablets also comes with extensive parental control settings that you can access through the “Settings” menu on the tablet. You can set time limits, content restrictions, and even daily educational goals for your child using these controls
- Use the “Screen Time” controls to set parental limits on an iPad. While iPads aren’t designed specifically for kids, they have a variety of built-in parental controls that you can access through the “Screen Time” feature in the “Settings” app. Open “Settings,” then select “Screen Time” from the sidebar. From there, you can:
- Set limits on screen time using the “Downtime” feature
- Set time limits on individual apps
- Choose which apps your child can access at any time using “Always Allowed”
- Block content that may be inappropriate for your child
Tip: If you have more than one Apple device in the family, it’s a good idea to set up “Family Sharing” through your Apple account. You can use this feature to create a separate Apple ID for your child and add them to your group. This way, you can set permissions for your child’s account remotely from your own device
- Set up a restricted account on your Android to set basic limits. If your child uses an Android-based tablet, you can still set some very basic parental controls even if it isn’t a tablet designed for kids. The simplest option is to create a user profile just for your child without access to the Google Play store. That way, you’ll control which apps they can have on their device through your own account. To set up a profile for your child:
- Go into “Settings,” select “Advanced,” and then select “Multiple Users.”
- Hit the “Add User” button and follow the prompts to set up your child’s profile.
- When you’re prompted to sign into an Android account, hit “Skip Setup.” This will prevent your child from accessing Google Play through their account. You’ll still be able to download apps and other content by signing in under your own account.
- Download the Family Link app for more advanced parental controls. Google’s Family Link app provides more comprehensive and flexible parental controls than what comes with the standard Android operating system. Download the app onto your tablet and use it to set limits on your child’s screen time, manage which apps they download, and review their daily activity.
- While Family Link is mainly designed for Android devices, you can also use it on an iPad or other iOS device.
- You can also set restrictions on which content your child can access directly through the Google Play store. Enter “Settings” in the Google Play menu, then open up “Parental Controls.” From there, you can set restrictions on which content is available.
Installing Kid-Friendly Apps
- Look at ratings and age recommendations to find appropriate apps. If you’re not sure whether an app is right for your child, check out the rating in the app store for guidance. These ratings will give you a sense of the intended age range for the app and what kind of content you can expect to find.
- The rating system may vary depending on which app store or operating system you’re using. For example, Google Play in the U.S. uses the standard ESRB ratings (with the most child-friendly ratings being Everyone and Everyone 10+).
- Apple uses its own age-based rating system. For example, apps that are suitable for young children are rated 4+, while apps for older kids might get ratings like 9+ or 12+. Content for mature audiences is rated 17+
- Read the reviews of an app before downloading it. Although content ratings and age recommendations are helpful, they aren’t foolproof. To get a better idea of what an app is like, try reading reviews in the app store from other parents. Look at the negative reviews as well as positive ones to get a sense of what kinds of concerns people have about the content or functionality of the app.
- You can also use websites like Common Sense Media that specialize in reviewing media for children. Common Sense Media has detailed game and app reviews broken down by age range as well as lists of highly recommended apps for kids
- Choose games that encourage creativity and problem solving. Even games that were designed purely for entertainment can have value as educational tools. When choosing games for your child’s tablet, look for options that will help them exercise their mental muscles, such as puzzles, worldbuilding games, and games that involve logic puzzles or problem-solving components.
- For example, younger kids might benefit from games like Toca Kitchen, which encourages them to get creative with wacky food combinations, or The Cat in the Hat Invents, which is a great game for budding engineers.
- Minecraft is a great game for older children. The open-ended worldbuilding helps foster creativity and spatial awareness.
- Install educational apps to encourage learning. In addition to games, there are also tons of educational apps that cover subjects from engineering to art. But not all educational apps are created equal. Look for apps that actively engage your child, are relevant to your child’s interests or experience, include an element of social interaction, and won’t distract your kid with a barrage of ads and other distractions.
- Get kid-friendly versions of media apps like YouTube. Kids love watching videos, but it can be hard to make sure that they’re not stumbling across inappropriate content. One way to avoid this pitfall is to use versions of popular media apps that are designed with built-in filters to protect young viewers.
- For example, install YouTube Kids on your child’s tablet and create a profile for them based on their age. You can also block specific videos and set limits on how long they can use the app.
- Some other general media apps, like Amazon Prime Video, have built-in parental controls so you can customize them for your child.
- Download a kid-friendly e-reader so your child can read on the go. Putting a reading app on your child’s tablet is a convenient alternative to lugging a bunch of books around. Plus, if your child isn’t really into reading, there are lots of apps that can make it easier and more exciting for them by turning reading into a game! Look for an age-appropriate reading app that has a good library of kid-friendly content already built in.
- Some popular options include Epic!, HOMER Reading, and Bookout.
Was this article helpful?