THIS HAS BEEN A MONTH of hard lessons for parents. Lessons about how bad things can get when you leave an iPad in the hands of a child who has no concept of money but plenty of desire to press their grubby fingers on a screen.
We at The INQUIRER have come up with a cut out and stick on your fridge list of Do's and Don'ts that should keep you in your kid's good books and your bank balance in the black.
The first part of the guide is simple. It is a big "Don't" and stands for "Don't encourage your child to play with an iPad."
The second says, "Do". But do so in a way that leaves you in control of their spending. Spend £15 on an iTunes gift card for their account. If your kids want to spend that money on earrings for a virtual donkey, a jewel for a pig's bum or a some cake for a cartoon princess then let them. They will learn a good lesson quickly, unless you're made of money and a soft touch.
Third is "Read Apple's guide on setting up parental controls." Everyone knows that reading any sort of manual is the tedious part of the beginning of a glorious love affair with technology, but Apple has it right here, and its guide is simple and comprehensive.
Four is a continuation of that, and it is act on the advice given. Stay on its path and no big bad wolf will mug you of your cash. For example, you can control where and when money is spent in the iTunes store, and, when there are kids involved, filter out things that could cost money or are rude. This filtering option includes in-app purchases, which is probably what brought you here in the first place.
Lastly, we suggest that you encourage a different interest in technology. The iPad is a nice shiny goggle box with Angry Birds and things that make you go "Ooooh", and jammy fingers do like to touch it, but why not provide your child with an alternative?
The Raspberry Pi would seem apposite, or a ball on a piece of string. A stuffed frog even. We've also been informed that there is much to see in the bright land they call "outside"... but we don't have much cause to go there. µ