Is the IPad Apple’s most ‘family-unfriendly’ gadget ever?

I was given an iPad for my birthday. It’s very nice. It’s very beautiful. It also creates chaos with the kids, and here’s why…Apple has not bundled parental controls of any kind into this machine. My iPod 2G is easier to control than the iPad. Although none of the machines allows multiuser accounts (you would have to jailbreak your machiens to have that…) you can at least enable password protection to simulate a login routine on both iPod and iPad. On both machines you can go to the settings and in the General settings set Auto-Lock to be triggered after 10 minutes, set the Pascode Lock to “ON” and work through the restrictions. I have noticed on the iPad, however, that if you dock the iPad while running an app, like NPR’s, for example, the auto-lock does not engage…you need to be sure to press the button on the top right to lock the machine. Strike one!

Another problem with the iPad in its current configuration is that it was not shipped with the Clock native app that shipped with iPods and iPhones. That’s an app that works nicely to set a timer for the kids to be forced off the machine after a certain time elapses; you can set the Clock to time out after ten minutes and, regardless of whether the user is using another app (yay for multitasking), the timer will force the Auto-Lock and the user is pushed back to the login screen. It would be really helpful to have this tool on the iPad…strike two!

It would be nice if we could write an app that would multitask using NSTimer – you could allow a parent to set a timer and the kid would be logged off after a given time. But that kind of multitasking isn’t in the current accepted use that was rolled out with iOs4 mulitasking…and anyway iOs4 isn’t available for iPad anyway. Strike three!

So for the time being I have my iPad on lock! I haven’t even told my DH the password. :)

Apple, please throw us a bone!

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