Parental Controls for iPods
July 30th, 2006Posted by: Theo Nicolakis
I had an interesting conversation with the parents of a two-year old a few nights ago and we were discussing the recent Clergy-Laity sessions on mobile pornography. The mother was shocked that an iPod was so versatile as to be able to hold not only music, photos, videos, and tv shows! Her comment, “I thought you could only listen to music” when referring to the iPod is likely characteristic of how most parents perceive this and other similarly-labeled “MP3 players”.
Thus, it is important for parents to know that Apple does offer some means of helping them protect their children from inappropriate content. These parental controls are built into the newest version of Apple Computer’s iTunes software, which is freely available from Apple’s web site. Apple’s parental controls are fairly easy to use and help provide a basic means of protection.
As one can see from the screen shot below, iTunes’ parental controls allow parents to block access to explicit material (this is music with the “explicit label” not adult content) from being purchased and even seen on Apple’s iTunes store.
Indeed, these controls even allow parents to block podcasts, radio, and shared music (the ability for one computer to play the music that is “shared” or made available from another computer using iTunes). These parental controls are a great start from blocking material that is made available via iTunes; however any savvy youngster can easily bypass this mechanism by loading their own content directly onto an iPod.
For an easy-to-follow tutorial on activating parental controls, visit Apple’s support section, which has an article dedicated to activating parental controls on iTunes.