So you splashed out and bought a family tablet or were lucky enough to be given one for Christmas. Now you have your tablet – what next? Here’s the Mykidstime Guide to How To Use Your New Tablet in 8 Easy Steps:
#1. Charge Up Your Tablet
When you get the tablet home charge it fully. Keep a note of how long it takes to run down the charge so you can judge charging for the future.
Set up a charging space for your tablet somewhere near a socket and keep cable safe when not charging.
#2. Set Up some Basic Protection
Turn on the Screen Lock Setting so that you have to enter a passcode or password (or fingerprint/face recognition). Download and activate any lost-device location features so you can track the tablet if it is taken.
Download some apps, start with some basics such as Facebook, News sites, Maps or Weather. Play around so you get familiar with how it works. Use the app ratings on iTunes Store and Google Marketplace to gauge age level. Delete any of the preinstalled Apps that you think you won’t use.
#4. Protect Your Tablet with a Case or Cover
Tablets are generally pretty vulnerable and need protecting. Make sure you get a case or cover for your model.
A silicone cover offers some protection against bumps and scrapes, and makes the tablet more grippable so it is less likely to drop if kids are using it. Or consider a case which has a revolving section at the back to allow the screen to be propped up for easier viewing.
#5. Set Up Parental Controls
Set up parental controls to ensure that in-app purchases are restricted as well as access to inappropriate websites and apps.
The Kindle allows multiple user profiles with each one having its own set of restrictions and access. You can also limit screen time and even down to time allowed on each app. Once the time is up, the app needs a password to unlock again.
There are no inbuilt parental controls, so Mobicip is a good alternative browser that enables parental controls for kids.
You set up a Mobicip account and then pick the filtering profile you want to apply to the device. The app also allows you to password-protect other apps through your Mobichip password.
Apple allows you to limit access to apps, movies, internet and music by age range. Go to Settings, General, Restrictions. Under Allowed Content you will see options to filter by age
If the tablet does not have parental controls set up consider Mobile Minder which monitors tablet use including restricting access to websites and applications.
More info on our article on Putting Parental Controls On Mobile Devices
Decide how much time kids (and parents!) will be allowed on the tablet. Discuss this with your child and set the boundaries.
Simple family rules around technology and screen time can make a big difference. For example, have no technology on in the morning or leave phones at the end of the table during mealtimes or switch off all screens after a certain time in the evening, or have a technology-free evening at least once a week.
#7. Be Involved in Your Child’s Use of the Tablet
It’s good for parents to be involved with what their child or teen is using the tablet for, it helps with online safety and your child’s experience with electronic devices, especially at a young age. Aim for balanced exposure, and allow more freedom as they get older. Be aware of the apps they are using, here are 11 apps to be aware of.
#8. Set Up Backup Procedures
There’s nothing worse than eg having pictures you took on your tablet that get lost if something goes wrong. Many tablets come with backup tools, e.g. iCloud or iTunes on iOS 7 or Backup & Reset settings on Android. Or consider using a 3rd party app eg Dropbox or Carbon (recommended by AndroidCentral) that backs up automatically into the cloud.
Any other tips for tablet use? Share them with us in the comments below.