Daily Tip: How to set up safe iPad or iPod touch email for your child

Thinking about getting your child an iPad or iPod touch and wondering how to safely give them limited email access on iOS? Email is a handy way to share things like pictures they've taken with the Camera app. I've chosen to use Hotmail (Windows Live) for my kids because of the level of parental control they provide. Here's how I've set things up.

  1. Go to live.com to begin
  2. Click the Sign Up button.
  3. Use a random assortment of letters and numbers to create a username only you (the parent) can relate back to your child.
  4. Create a strong password that only you (the parent) knows.
  5. Use your (the parents) email address as the alternate.
  6. Leave everything else as non-identifiable as possible.
  7. Click on Profile > Privacy Settings > Advanced
  8. Turn all privacy options to the maximum (most stringent) possible.
  9. Go to the Options dropdown and choose More Options
  10. Select Exclusive, so everything is sent to Junk except for safe senders. Click Save.
  11. Go to Safe and Blocked senders, click on Safe Senders.
  12. Add only the people you absolutely trust to the Safe Senders list (mom, dad, perhaps siblings or grandparents), click Add to List for each one.
  13. Send an email via the web interface, just to prove you aren't a bot

Once this is setup, you can add the email account to your child's iPod touch or iPad. I also recommend adding it to your own iPhone or iOS device so you can monitor what's being sent and received and adjust (or shut down) accordingly.

You can also go to Settings, General, Restrictions on your child's iOS device and toggle Allow Changes: Accounts: to "Don't Allow Changes" to prevent anything from being altered.

It's not perfect, and if your children are really young you may want to forgo email entirely. But if you want to slowly get them used to using email, and you want to do it as saf this is the best setup I've found to date. If anyone else has any better or alternate ideas, please share them in the comments!

Anthony Casella
  • Dumb.... if the child knows how to use an iPad, he or she can figure out how to set up their own email on a different account....
  • Clearly not a parent then Billy.
    Yours is the Dumb comment
  • Seriously? My five year old can "use an iPad", but is just learning to read/write, and no way could be set up his own email. But I could show him how to write one.
  • Yea well my dad is 59 and there's no way he could set up his own email either...
  • That's what I did for my daughter. It has been working well for two years. Sure, she could sign up for another email account but only if she realizes you have to be 13 before they will let you do that. You can only protect them for so long.
  • This is the iPhone BLOG. It isn't the NY Times. Blogs are supposed to be instant and get news out fast, even if sometimes there are some spelling mistakes occasionally.
  • Since when were blogs "instant"? This isn't Twitter. It's true that this site needs editors, badly. Or the writers could take the time to proofread. Of course, if they just don't know the difference between "your" and "you're" that's an entirely different (and very sad) story.
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