Keeping Children Safe On The iPad Or iPhone

SHAILA on December 21, 2012

48% of American children are looking forward to unwrap an iPad from below the Christmas tree this season, according to a recent U.S study by Nielsen.  As parents busily explore the varied options available, Julian Gavaghan sounds a note of caution.

In his article for Yahoo News, ‘How to keep children safe online on any new gadget’ he asks them to first consider how safe their child will be on the latest 3G gadget they plan to gift.

iPad

Any iPad including the latest iPad mini enables internet access and Julian says it’s easier to supervise kids when they log on via a known wireless network at home. However, there may be other unsupervised networks (like a neighbour’s for instance) available at home or at school or in a public place like a coffee shop that may not be as safe.

Listing out a few options for child safety he suggests looking at your internet service provider’s settings to block out adult content. The iPad comes with built-in ‘Restrictions’, i.e. settings for child protection that a are quite effective when combined with third-party offerings from the App Store.

He recommends F-Secure Child Safe a child security browser, and AVG Family Safety. We recommend that you give these options a try, but also take a look at our own Mobicip Safe Browser for the iPad. Of course, you should expect that since this is our blog, but this is not just a promotion. More on that in a little bit. 

iPhone

iPhone allows you to make calls and text messages, apart from this it resembles an iPad in all respects, including the web browsing and parental control apps mentioned above.

If you feel your child needs close monitoring, you could consider PhoneSheriff, hidden software which allows you to tune in to conversation, read text messages, delete it and restrict the phone numbers your kid can access. You can also keep track of your child’s whereabouts via GPS. Now, there are a few things about this type of “spy software” that we do not like:

  • You will need to jailbreak the iPhone. It voids your warranty, leaves your iPhone open to security threats, and makes it hard to upgrade your iPhone software officially.
  • The US federal government's FTC is not taking too kindly to such “spying”, and it is looked upon as the internet version of wiretapping. Changes to COPPA provisions may even make it illegal.
  • Most importantly, if your child learns that you have been spying on her surreptitiously, it may lead to friction other consequences.

In my opinion, it is easier to be open about it, initiate and maintain a conversation around internet safety at home, use technology and tools as needed to help your child learn to be safe on the internet, and really hope for the best at the end of the day.

Mobicip Provides Internet Security on iPad and iPhone

Julian’s has presented a few valid concerns about internet security on the iPad and iPhone, but Mobicip’s Safe Browser app invalidates a few of those concerns.

Mobicip can provide internet security even if your child surfs the web away from home or school for it works anytime, anywhere, from any mobile device.   

Secondly a typical internet filter tends to block appropriate sites too. For example, blocking out YouTube as it contains child inappropriate content is hardly a solution. YouTube is also a source of fun and educational videos. However, keeping children safe here is a challenge and we ensure this by providing the right technological support. Mobicip scans each video that is being accessed on YouTube and determines if it is appropriate based on predetermined settings. You can safely allow YouTube and rest easy that your child will not land upon worrying stuff. 

As Julian recommends, you can turn off Safari, the web browser on your child’s iPad, iPod touch or iPhone. The Mobicip browser looks exactly like Safari, your kids will not feel the difference. We have worked hard to make it as close to Safari in terms of features and functionality, and it relies on our dynamic content filtering engine that scans web content as it flows through to make allow/block decisions. Being the first app of its kind on the iOS App Store, we have maintained our leadership since, and our happy customers are testimony to that.

In the words of Suren Ramasubbu, Co-founder and CEO of Mobicip, "Internet safety is much like road safety. You can set boundaries, discuss the rules, and watch very closely. However, your child should exercise good judgment and not misuse the privilege. That type of handshake is something we cannot promise to handle. But you can!"