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A Tour of Parental Controls on iPhone OS 3.0

photo 23 100x150 A Tour of Parental Controls on iPhone OS 3.0Apple’s recent release of the iPhone OS 3.0 has brought a lot of new functionality to the iPhone and iPod Touch. We now have the long awaited push notifications, the ability to search our devices (spotlight), as well as copy and paste.  However, it has also brought a whole new level of worry for parents.

This new OS allows a higher degree of parental controls and lock outs, which is good.  However, with the new parental controls in place, Apple decided they could start releasing more explicit apps in the iTunes App Store.  There is a new rating of 17+, which opens the door now for apps containing full nudity and porn to be submitted for sale on iTunes.  In fact, one such app was released Wednesday.  It was later pulled from the App Store, but not because Apple didn’t approve.  Rather, it was pulled because the developer’s servers were at capacity. [Update: Apple did indeed remove the application in question after they realized the developer had remotely changed the content to include nude photos.]  It seems the introduction of these types of apps is imminent.

So, we decided it was high time we got information out there on how parents can keep their kids, and themselves, safe.  Enabling parental controls, called “Restrictions,” on an iPhone or iPod Touch is very easy.

1. Open the Settings app

2. Tap on General

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3. Scroll down the page and tap on Restrictions

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4. You will then be asked to setup a four number passcode. Remember what you enter here, as you will need to re-enter the passcode to make changes to parental controls in the future.

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5. At the top is a button to enable restrictions.  Touch there.  Now there is a section for apps that you can choose to allow or block.  These apps include: Safari (an internet browser), You Tube, iTunes, Installing Apps, and Location.  The bottom section of the screen allows you to block or limit the content that can be viewed on the device.  You can allow or block In-App Purchases, block explicit Music & Podcasts, and choose the acceptable rating for Movies, TV Shows, and Apps.

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Any content on the iPod or iPhone that does not meet the restrictions you place on the device should simply disappear once you have set the restrictions.  After you have adjusted the settings, exit the app.  The restrictions will not be accessible again without the passcode you put in place.

One further word of caution.  Placing restrictions on an iPhone or iPod does not guarantee that your child will never run across anything that you don’t want them to see or hear.  I have run across some apps that I found offensive that only had a rating of 4+.  I would never allow my 5 year old to play with them.  They are inappropriate for that age group.  Furthermore, you should not consider the new parental controls as an end-all to keeping your kid’s away from this content. Most know that they could just launch Safari and browse any of the millions of porn sites already on the web. There is no substitute for staying involved in our kids lives and being aware of what things they are viewing and listening to.  That having been said, the parental controls that are there help block most of the content you’d like to keep from your kids and make these devices a little safer for all.

For more information, or to watch a step by step tutorial, check out our video on parental controls coming soon to YouTube.

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