Should My Child Have Their Own Apple ID?

Those who own iPhones and Macs know the importance of an Apple ID. This ID helps sync everything from contacts, pictures, apps, music, email and more. Although this is such an integral part of the user experience, the role of it is often confused with other identifying features.  While this can have an effect regarding Online Safety, it is more a concern with organization of content. Many people wonder should their child have their own Apple ID? Until recently, parents were faced with two options, share their Apple ID with their child if they were under 13, or “alter” their children age to show they were over 13. Luckily with the release of the new operating system IOS 8, parents can now establish an Apple Id for their children and give it some family controls such as approving app purchases, share app & music purchases within the family and more. Even with this latest change, we must still look at the pros and cons of a child having an Apple ID.

First the pros. By having an independent Apple ID, it helps organize many different things including apps, pictures, contacts, photos and more. All of these categories can be kept isolated to the Apple ID so you don’t end up with your children’s pictures, contacts etc.. This also helps in the event of a theft or broken phone. With their own Apple ID using the iCloud, they can back up all of their information. While many parents use to share their ID’s with their children, they often felt trapped and couldn’t establish the a separate ID for fear of losing music and apps. Once again, this is all now possible with family sharing. Another good reason to have their own ID is to keep them from getting your pictures, contacts etc when using things like a photo stream and other features. So for example, if you share the same ID with your kids and you take a picture with a beer and cigarette in your hand, that picture will end up on your child’s phone. By establishing a separate ID, this would not happen.

Now the cons. Most parents like the level of transparency of having a shared ID, and are not aware that your children can spy on you as you are on them. Giving your child their own Apple ID could eliminate the ability to monitor their apps, messages, pictures and more. This is why having an Apple ID that is not part of the family sharing is not a good idea.

With weighing the pros and cons, my opinion is the best course to take is establishing their own Apple ID under family sharing. This allows you to monitor what they download and approve their purchases. Please see our additional learning channel to watch an instructional video on how to set up an Apple ID for a child.  In addition, I always recommend to check the child device as needed to monitor their messages, posts and other online activity. To monitor these activities remotely, please see our video on monitoring software.