Online services need to figure out the ‘Family’ concept

Recently, I’ve had several clients contact me asking to help them setup and configure multiple iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches and computers, both Apple and Windows. In each case, children were part of the equation.

“This iPad belongs to Johnny. This one is for Mary. They also each have their own iPhone.” That sort of thing.

The question is about sharing certain things but not other things. The children’s devices should be able to use apps, listen to music, watch movies that were purchased with the parent’s iTunes account, but they shouldn’t have access to the parent’s calendars, contacts,  emails, etc. “Everything” should synchronize, but you know, not everything. Often, the client can’t really specify what they want, much less figure out how to do it.

So, the answer is to set up iCloud accounts for the children. That shouldn’t be a problem, but it is. Because you can’t create an iCloud account if you are under 13. Oh, wait, you can’t do it without lying about your age.

Apple, Facebook, Google, etc. should have a way for a parent to create an account and then manage their family’s accounts, too. Mom and Dad have Apple IDs and iCloud accounts and want to create accounts for their kids? Great, let’s just open the “Accounts” page, click on “Add child,” fill in the correct information and done! iCloud configured.

Sadly, most online services don’t seem to see the need or have an answer. I’ve seen lots of articles about “How to setup iCloud for my family” and each one of them just skims over the “Create an account for each child.” They don’t address the “lie about your kids’ age” issue.

It’s possible that when the articles were written, that requirement didn’t exist. I’m pretty certain that when iCloud was released, I created an account for my under-13 son using his correct birthday without any problems. But, now when I look at his account, it indicates a problem with the birthdate. If I change it to his actual birthday, it says “invalid.” So I cancel and leave it as it is.

Please, Apple and others, add this to your To-Do list. Fast!


About zonkeringeneva

An American with a German son living in Geneva with a new Boxer-Labrador puppy name Xoë. I can be found on Facebook (kicking and screaming!), Google Plus (crickets), (I'm Zonker), and Ask me anything IT related. I'm sure I'll have something useful to say.

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