Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Web search gone wrong. It’s happened to the best of us. You type in an innocent string of words, and some random porn pops up faster than you can scream “NSFW!” Of course, that’s right about the time the boss walks by. Oy vey. Find “safe search” and turn it on. Stat.

Opening a window to everything on the Internet today can be frightening even for some adults. And stumbling across inappropriate content remains one of the biggest concerns when we throw a tablet into the mix of our kids’ daily digital lives. Add to that issues of child safety and protection, online bullying, unguarded app spending … suddenly we’re wishing we could just go back to simpler times. As we wrap up our Kids and Tablet series, here are the simple steps every parent can take — no matter how tech-unsavvy you might feel — to help keep kids safe on slates.


There are hundreds of thousands of apps, and many aren’t meant for young eyes. Excessively violent games and adult-only “hookup” apps lurk around every virtual store shelf, and there’s an excellent chance that you don’t want your kids viewing any of it.

Apple’s iPad requires a password before it dings your credit card for an app-buy. This is your safety valve, so you always know what’s being added to your family’s tablet. Not all such gadgets offer the same default protection, but if your tablet doesn’t automatically require a PIN or you want a more specific level of protection, it’s easy to set up.

On Android: Open Google Play — Android’s app marketplace — and click on the Settings tab in the top right. Scroll down to find the “Use PIN for purchases” option and enable it to require all app downloads to require a security code. Alternatively, you can use the “Content filtering” option in this same menu to restrict only certain types of apps from being downloaded.

PART ONE: Kids can’t resist the tablet temptation

Kindle: Tap on the top of screen to show the Quick Settings option and then click “More.” Now tap “Parental Controls” and enter a secure password. From this menu, you can restrict the ability to purchase content from the Kindle’s app store or restrict specific types of content from being downloaded, such as if you want to allow books to be downloaded at will but keep apps under lock and key.

iPad: The iPad locks purchases by default, but you can also force it to lock out content based on age ratings. Head into the Settings menu and click “General.” Now tap “Restrictions” and enter a security code that the kids don’t know. From here, you can adjust the age blocks on apps, music, movies and even websites visited through the default search engine.

There’s another good reason to lock down app activity: your bank account.

Not long ago, the news was filled with disgruntled parents hit with unexpected app charges after their kids went on spending sprees. These days, purchase restrictions are more strict across the board, but if your kids have access to download games — whether it be without a passcode or because they know the passcode — they likely also have the ability to ring up a hefty bill.

As long as you can keep your code a secret, there’s really no easy way to usurp these parental controls once you enable them. It doesn’t matter if you’re not tech-savvy — these tablets were built with parents in mind, so guard your access code like gold.


There are Web browser apps built specifically for younger surfers. Mobicip is one of the best. The company’s Safe Browser — available on both iOS and Android — caters the Web-surfing experience specifically for your child. Any attempts to access unseemly corners of the Web are met with a block screen, telling them they’ve crossed the line.


Aren’t you overlooking something? Sure, little Bobby is watching SpongeBob on YouTube now, but that doesn’t make the Web’s largest video portal universally kid-friendly, right? Right.

Streaming-video apps such as YouTube and Netflix often have app-specific controls and restrictions for more mature content. YouTube, which hosts videos of everything from live births to extremely violent war footage, won’t play anything considered “graphic” if you’re not signed in to a YouTube account. However, it’s relatively easy to fake an “adult” Google account, so this isn’t a fail-safe for all tableters.

And that’s an important point when it comes to kids and their tablets: The older they get, the greater the chances that they’ll be interested in things you object to. Keeping a 9-year-old from accidentally downloading a dating app is easy, but preventing your 16-year-old from watching violent content on YouTube is much more difficult. These are the same battles parents have been fighting for years, they’ve just now turned from R-rated movies and sneaking a sip of beer to the digital equivalent online.

If you’re willing to let your teenager use a tablet, you’ll either have to lock down absolutely everything you find objectionable, including apps such as YouTube, or you need to accept that giving them such a digital responsibility also means that they might run across things you don’t approve of.

The best way to make a tablet safe for a child is to get involved. Talk with them early and often about important digital core values. If you don’t trust your kids to do the right thing after you’ve taught them high-tech rules of the road, they’re not ready for a tablet.

Posted in Connected Kids, Cyber Safety, Digital Parenting, TechNow

As seen on Chip Chick:
October means it’s time to wish last year’s iPad models a happy birthday — and welcome in the next generation of Apple’s popular line of tablets. So just what does Apple have in store for us? Though Apple didn’t wow us with an iWatch, a larger iPad, or the long-rumored Apple Television, they did show off new iPads and MacBooks. Is that enough to pique your interest? I’ll let you know what you need to know about Apple’s latest.
The latest iPads
If you’ve been following the rumor mill — or even if you haven’t — it’s not much of a surprise that Apple’s new iPad — the iPad Air — is 20% thinner, has a new A7 processor for faster performance, and has an upgraded 5MP camera. It has the same 9.7″ display but a 43% smaller bezel and weighs in at just a pound — making it the lightest full-sized tablet on the market. Sorry, but there’s no fingerprint scanner or gold color option for iPad Air — but you can get it in space gray or silver with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage space. You can buy a Wi-Fi only model or add cellular service — for an extra cost — with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon This new iPad starts at $499 and will ship on November 1st.
The iPad mini looks much the same, but there are big performance boosts under the hood: the mini has a faster processor and a high-resolution Retina display. Like its big brother the iPad Air, the mini is silver by the top-of-the-line A7 processor, which makes it much zippier than the last generation. The iPad mini is also available in space gray and silver with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage space, in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi plus cellular models. The mini with Retina starts at $399 and will ship later in November.
These faster tablets — and the thinner and lighter iPad Air — are certainly compelling, but the prices are high — especially for those on a tight budget. Apple’s solution for budget-conscious users is the $399 iPad 2 iand the original iPad mini, now available for $299 — and though you can find better bargain buys for Android tablets, that’s as close to a budget tablet as you’re likely to get from Apple.
On the accessories side, there are new cases and smart covers to fit Apple’s new tablet lineup, but no Surface-like keyboard cover — though Logitech and Zagg make great keyboard cases for anyone who needs to do a lot of typing on their tablets.
New hardware and software for Mac-lovers
Apple has been talking about its latest operating system, OS X Mavericks, for a while, but it’s available to download today — for free. And though a new operating system doesn’t have the glitz or glamor of a golden iPad, Mavericks offers some big performance improvements, including better power management to let your Mac last longer on a charge, iCloud Keychain for keeping your passwords secure, and a smarter calendar application for keeping on top of your schedule. These improvements are definitely worth the $0 price tag.
The MacBook Pro line also saw a refresh with new Intel 4th generation processors for better battery life. The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display is thinner and lighter, and the updated Haswell processor will give it up to 9 hours of battery life. The 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display is powered by the quad-core Crystalwell processor which will give it 8 hours of battery life. And both have a $200 price cut over previous versions: you can order them for $1299 or $1999, starting today. And for those of you who are tied to the desktop, there’s the new top-of-the-line Mac Pro, a high-powered desktop machine which starts at $2999 and will ship before the end of the year.
And for apps, there are updates to iPhoto, iMovies, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — all of which are free on new Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Though it may not sound like much, these are great apps — and now you won’t have to pay for them. What’s not to like?
These upgrades are sure to put Apple on the holiday wish list: but high prices and tight budgets could still keep you from these new tablets.

Elizabeth Harper contributed to this report.

Posted in Great Gadgets, In The Press, Top tech news

Watch video here

It may not always be easy to find a discount deal on Apple products, but you can land one if you know where to look:

— Go for refurbished. Apple sells its own refurbished Macs, and they come with a one-year warranty. Go to the “Special Deals” section of Apple’s website. Or try to create a personal RSS feed on latest offers.

— Deal site is another great way to find discounts on Mac products. You can find discount codes and coupons for retailers like MacMall, and MacConnection.

— There’s always eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist — but go in with eyes open. With eBay and Amazon, see if the seller takes returns. With Craigslist, see if you can meet in a public place and take the laptop for a spin — and don’t pay new computer prices for something that’s used.

Check out these tips and more in USA TODAY’s new daily digital video series TECH NOW.

Posted in Great Gadgets, In The Press, TechNow