Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Conundrum of Apple IDs and Students

So by now everyone knows that I'm cuckoo for cocoa puffs over Apple stuff. I was over the moon when my niece and nephew (beautiful 10 year old twins) announced that they bumped to the Gifted track at their school. A track which is the test group for using iPads for test books. I knew they would have a lot of fun etc. 

But I've already run into a huge snag. One that I'm a tad shocked Apple hasn't figured out and come up with a solution for. 

You must be 13 years of age to have an Apple ID. 

See the school wants every kid to have their own ID. Not using Mom or Dad's but their own unique one. Not sure why but they do and there's no easy way to make this happen. 

The solutions at this point are to:
1. Put the ID under Mom or Dad's name and birth date but only have Junior use it
2. Lie about Junior's age and report a birth year that comes out to 13 years old. 

I'm not fond of either of these myself. Putting it under Mom or Dad could get sticky in later years. And lying, well I'm not really one for lying. So since I've been on the thinking about Apple's run with iOS I started thinking about this issue and how it could go. 

Researching I found that Apple does allow for what they call an Allowance Account but the ID still has the same age requirement. I also recall that back in the Mobile Me days you could have family plans with one master ID and as many as 4 sub accounts. 

So why not use this kind of thing with kids. 

Mom or Dad acts as the parent account and the kids, regardless of age, get to create a sub account. This account can be with an existing email or creating a new iCloud email. A sub account, like a standard/managed user on a Mac, has limits on its uses. Such as no credit card can be put on file for it. It's either an allowance drop from the parent, a gift drop from someone (money or a specific item), credit codes say from school or gift cards. Parents can also place system wide restrictions on the account such as no IAP, no apps that have IAP, nothing rated about X level and so on. Things above the rating level just don't show up for the kid. They can also restrict writing of ratings and other Apple ID related features. Parents can also block the changing of passwords by the child, requiring any password changes to be done by the parent signing into his/her account and managing 'child' accounts. Parents can also view what apps etc have been added to the child's account from their own history including requesting an email/text of any new items. The ID can be used for iCloud/Facetime/iMessages. Parents can choose to manage their child's connections. This would require that the child's addressbook be synced to their iCloud account which the parent would access via a 'manage' link in his/her own. From there the parent can approve who can Facetime or iMessage the child. Apple could even set up a more kid friendly version of the Terms and Conditions which the child has to agree to upon signing in the first time (after the parents have already done so when making the account). 

And when the child turns 18, the account is automatically transferred to a full adult account with all limits and links removed. After the owner reviews and agrees to the full terms and conditions they have access to all items bought under that account and so on. 

1 comment:

  1. Your ideas are reasonable and make perfect sense,
    i hope apple listens tho ideas like these...