School started this week. So off went Mr O Jnr 2 (fourteen) and Miss O 2 (twelve) with their mandatory iPads. As you may be aware, in order to download apps from the iTunes store, the customer has to login. To login the customer has to have an ID.
When we got the iPads I tried to create an ID for Miss O 2 but she is too young – and will be for the remainder of this school year! No iTunes ID unless I put in a fake birth date, which as an mother and an IT professional I refuse to do. I created an iTunes account for myself and downloaded the apps we had been told about on the book list.
Miss O 2 was devastated.
“But what if we have to download something during class?”
“You won’t have to,” I confidently replied, “A lot of Year 7 students will be under thirteen and won’t have iTunes IDs either. The school must know this.”
This was fine until school started. There were tears because she HAD been told to download something in class and of course felt “different” when she couldn’t.
I emailed the school advising quite clearly I would NOT countenance using a fake birth date and I was NOT giving Miss O 2 my password.
The teacher emailed back telling me there was now a Student ID available and the age restrictions had been lifted (in 2013).
I was sent two links.
The first http://www.apple.com/legal/privacy/en-ww/ says “AppleID for users under the age of 13 or equivalent age in their countries.” Odd, I thought 13 was 13 irrespective of what country you were in, but never mind, I’m not going to quibble.
The second link I was sent was from Macworld, written by Macworld Australia Staff in 2013, IMPLIES there would be no age limit in agreements with educational institutions, but doesn’t actually state where.
I had failed to manage to set up a Student ID in December, so I stated researching.
An in-depth reading of the Apple support pages (last updated December 17, 2014) revealed the Student IDs are only available in the USA. However, this page did send me off to the Family Sharing page. Family Sharing allows the creation of an iTunes ID for a child under thirteen.
When the child “buys” from the App Store, they can’t immediately download, a notification is sent to the parent to approve the purchase. That sounded reasonable, so I set it all up for Miss O 2 and we tried our first (free) purchase. I expected an email. Silly me.
No, the notification goes to the parent’s Apple device, iOS 8. I don’t use an iPad, iPhone, iPod or a MAC when at work and I will be at work when she is at school. So we have achieved absolutely nothing! Miss O 2 still will not be able to download apps in class.
I am not at all happy with this arrangement. Do other parents leave their ID logged in to these school iPads, or do they fake the child’s age? What is that teaching children about honesty, integrity or internet safety and security?
I’ve written back to the school with the results of my research. I await the school’s response!
Edit: The following has been suggested as a solution, which I had already discounted as unacceptable on principle. While technically workable, I don’t think it sends the right message, plus it shouldn’t be necessary.
Here’s a solution you might be able to use. Create a new Apple ID for yourself, which you can install on that iPad, and one you can give the password to your daughter for. That way she’ll be able to download free stuff as they are required. If you get asked for a credit card, install for that and then when all is registered and up and running, go into Apple ID setup and remove card.
Edit: Today (Saturday) I received a lovely email from Miss O 2’s teacher, so the school are onto the problem and will get back to me.