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Parental guidance: Kids and iPads

"iPad Apps for Kids for Dummies," by Jinny Gudmundsen (Wiley, $19.99). Credit: Handout

Q. Is there anything parents should do before letting a toddler, preschooler or elementary schooler play on their iPad?

A. Yes, says Jinny Gudmundsen, author of "iPad Apps for Kids for Dummies" (Wiley, $19.99). She suggests:

Setting up a password Business people usually do, but personal users may not. "A password gives you control," Gudmundsen says. "Children can't play with it unless you know they're playing with it." Go to Settings, General, then Password Lock. And don't share the password with your kids.

Be sure "erase data" option is off If a thief tries to guess your password 10 times incorrectly, the iPad will erase your personal data, Gudmundsen says. The iPad can't differentiate between a thief trying to hack in and your kid trying to get in.

Parental controls are called Restrictions under the Settings /General section "You have a lot of options," Gudmundsen says. Control whether they surf the Web or can install apps and limit the media they can look at by age category.

Under apps in restrictions, turn off "in-app purchases" Kids may not realize when they purchase items to enhance their play inside the "free" app. You don't want to be surprised with a bill for hundreds of dollars.

Under Restrictions/Privacy, turn off the location option that reveals where you are Also restrict access to the Apple Game Center, where kids can play multiplayer games and communicate with other players. "You don't want them talking to strangers," she says.

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