Is Your Child Safe From “Words” on Their iPad?
Definition: likely to cause harm; not safe.
We are all well aware of the need for keyword filters for desktops and laptops to protect our children from stumbling on sites that can be harmful to their innocence.
But are we up-to-date on what we need to do to protect them from accessing adult sites or content that is inappropriate for their age while surfing naively on YouTube or Safari from their iPad?
To better understand what “dangerous” words lurke out there, Dell® SonicWALL®, a global network security and data protection solutions company, monitors and filters internet usage by restricting keywords associated with the following categories:
Content Filtering categories:
2. Intimate Apparel/Swimsuit
6. Adult/Mature Content
8. Drugs/Illegal Drugs
9. Illegal Skills/Questionable Skills
10. Sex Education
13. Hacking/Proxy Avoidance Systems
So how do innocent keyword searches connect with these restricted categories?
Visual Thesaurus provides interesting insight into how words are related.
Searching the common name “John” results in relationship with the English slang words for “bathroom”.
Unfortunately, adult web sites invest substantial marketing dollars on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to take advantage of this rich language system.
But other web sites don’t even need to be that creative.
We removed our restrictions and searched “SpongeBob” on YouTube – and found this video added only 1 week ago coming up in our video list:
Your child may have completed this search several times last week without any red flags, but today, they are exposed to a potentially “dangerous to their innocence” video.
How can I control this on the iPad and other mobile devices?
Employing website filtering software on home computers is an effective way to prevent accidental access to inappropriate content. However, each mobile device in your home (iPad, iPod, iPhone, Nook, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, etc. etc. ) also needs to be restricted based on the individual user’s specifications.
- Jean Dumais, website developer, parent, and founder of Be Web Smart provides an easy to follow guide to change the YouTube and Safari settings on your Apple devices (iPad/iPhone).
- Apple also provides and official guide to setting Restrictions including access to specific apps (Safari, YouTube, Camera, FaceTime, etc.), content (music, movies, books, websites, etc.), change privacy settings (location services, contacts, FaceBook, photos), and more!
- PC Advisor offers guidance for parental controls and app restrictions for Android devices.
Another option is to restrict ALL devices from accessing inappropriate content while using your in-home Wi-Fi (wireless technology) system.
- Open DNS offers “Flexible parental controls that protect every Internet-connected device in your home, instantly.” Family Shield provides customizable web content filtering through your wireless router’s settings and includes desktop, laptop, Xbox, Playstation, Wii, DS, tablets, and even cellphones.
And of course, there’s an app for that.
Here are a few posts listing recommended parent control apps as of December, 2014:
We hope this has been helpful to you and provides you with a few resources for protecting users from exposure to inappropriate content while using mobile devices.
Have you experienced a “SpongeBob Surprise” while your child was surfing on their tablet?
Do you have other apps or suggestions to share?
We welcome you to share your stories!