Parental Controls for the iPod Touch

2010 June 22

If your kids are using any of Apple’s personal devices, like the iPhone, the iPod Touch  or the iPad, take a look at the parental controls.  You might notice that they suck.  Users are given the option of creating a 4 digit passcode and then either enabling or disabling the Safari Browser, or other apps.  What if you want to allow them to use the Internet, you just don’t want them accessing adult websites or explicit videos on Youtube?

parental controls for iPhone

Parental Controls for iPod Touch and iPhone

Kid Friendly Browser Apps for iPod Touch and iPhone

In the recent Cnet article “Five Must-Have Apps for Parents,” Rick Broida recommends Mobicip.  The Mobicip browser is designed to replace Safari It blocks naughty websites completely and works with iPodTouch, iPhone, iPad and Netbooks.  So kids can still research for their homework assignment, access their email and online school assignments, but they can’t stumble into anything seedy.

Safe Eyes is another browser with built in filters to keep kids from accessing pornography on their iPhone or iPod Touch. With a price tag of $19.99, however, it’s expensive compared to the Mobicip. Reviewers at the AppStore complain that Safe Eyes won’t allow them to click on links or connect to the Internet via WiFi Hot Spots.

Installing a Kid-Safe Browser for iPad

To install the mobicip for iPad, visit the App store, search for mobicip and plunk down the $4.99 from your iTunes account, it’s worth it. Once it’s installed, launch the app and open a new account. From now on, you can log in from anywhere to block new sites or see the browsing history. To block access to Safari, you need to go to the “General” tab and “enable restrictions” then block Safari, YouTube and AppStore (unless you choose to just block Safari) the scroll down to Music Preferences and disable explicit lyrics. Then scroll down to movie settings and choose whether you want to block films higher than PG, Pg13 or R. Repeat for television shows.

By default, Mobicip blocks inappropriate search results and URL’s.

How to Remove Parental Controls from an iPad

Here’s the flaw; it’s easy to plug the iPad or Touch into any iTunes and click “restore device” to remove the parental controls.  A tech-savvy teen might even replace your parental control code with his own, in case you pick it up to double check.

Another way kids can bypass the parental controls are “jailbreaking” and installing unauthorized apps like HidePod, which looks like a calculator, but is actually a gateway to hidden files. When a secret set of symbols are typed in, HidePod reveals explicit songs, videos and pornography that were previously invisible. The default passcode for HidePod is .8008. , but it’s easy enough to create a new passcode. Remember that there will be a decimal point both before and after the passcode.

As a last resort, visit the HidePod website and enter the device’s serial number, to see if there’s been an authorized installation of HidePod. An unauthorized, or pirated, installation, will be harder to find.

So perhaps blocking your  teenager’s device might not be the wisest way to instill responsible browsing habits. You might need to <gasp> trust them. A little inappropriate browsing to satisfy a curiosity doesn’t mean a lifetime of deviant behavior.  The best way to protect your teens might just be honest communication.

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