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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pornography and the iPhone / iPod / iPad - Every Parent Must Read

Back in 2010, along side the iPad, Steve Jobs took a revolutionary stance on a taboo topic. "Freedom from porn" was his statement in a heated correspondence with Gawker writer Ryan Tate. (The entire back and forth can be read here and TechChruch's take can be read here.)

In another email conversation, this time between Jobs and an Apple customer, Jobs said, “Folks who want porn can buy [an] Android phone.”

During the time of Apple taking a morally responsible stance on the issue of pornography 5,000 apps were removed from the AppStore.

One year previous to these events posted an article entitled "Did you get your kids Porn for Christmas?". The thesis of the article is, if you have given your child a mobile device with internet access you have given them opportunity to look a pornography. So what are you going to do about it?

Now you are probably asking yourself, "Why is this guy writing about a 4 year old topic?" Allow me to answer.

Apple's stance has not changed in regard to the moral responsibility that they feel they have to filter adult content on their mobile platform. The "Restrictions" settings options have been greatly expanded in the current version of iOS (7.0.4). They have expanded so much, I am surprised they have not been better publicized by the media.

In previous versions of iOS, the "Restrictions" were limited to "Safari On/Off," "Internet Access On/Off," or AppStore content filters by age rating. The first two options made the device difficult to use especially if you were already accustomed to having internet access. Also, if internet access was still enabled but Safari was disabled a quick trip to the AppStore and a new browser could be downloaded.

How iOS 7 is Different

Opening the "Restrictions" (Settings>General>Restrictions) you will find a new sub-menu, "Websites." By default, this is set to All.

To enable this new feature, at the top select "Enable Restrictions." You will be promoted to enter a 4-digit code and asked to confirm it. Note: if you are enabling this on your own device to keep yourself accountable, have a close friend or family member set the code.
After setting the restriction code, all the menu items will be active. Scroll down to "Websites." You will be presented with 3 options as seen below.

"Limit Adult Content" will deny access to any site that has questionable material, graphic or written. You are also given the option to "allow" sites that you deem appropriate and a "block" list of sites of your choosing.

"Specific Websites Only" is an extreme web content filter. By default, the allowed sites will be your quick-list and favourites from Safari on your Mac. If you do not have your iPhone Safari synced with your Mac, no websites will be available.

How it Works

To my surprise, this content filtering goes beyond the stock apps preloaded on the iPhone/iPod/iPad. This is a system-wide filter system. It monitors the web content that you have access to within any app that you have downloaded to you device.

If you attempt to follow a questionable link in the "Paper" or "Facebook" app you will be presented with the following:

The filter is very strong, many sites receive the blocked warning. This is where the "Allow Website" feature is handy. Selecting this option brings up the a passcode restriction prompt. Upon entering the correct passcode that website will be cached as "allowed" and you will not be blocked any further.

Lastly, it is important to remember your passcode as the only recovery method is a factory reset of the device.

While Apple's decision to take a moral stance against adult content may be controversial to the masses, I am glad to see a large corporate company sticking to their convictions.




  1. Thank you! I will definitely check my child's ipad and iphone.

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