Protecting Children Who Use iOS Devices

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by ckurt25, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    ckurt25

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    #1
    Hi All!

    I'm looking for input / suggestions for software / apps that will help monitor activity on an iPod Touch. Long story short, my girlfriend found out that her 13 year old daughter was visiting an online dating site and posing as a 24 yr old. Ideally we could find something that can monitor all activity, texts, emails, pictures & video taken, web surfing (even a keystroke logger) so that we can make sure she isn't going to get herself into too much trouble.

    We will have a frank and honest discussion with her regarding how dangerous those type of activities can be but we don't want to just take away the iPod Touch or it may push her to find another outlet for her curiosity. We wouldn't want to tell her we're monitoring her activity either. Just tell her that we opened up Safari and saw this and have concerns and give her the Touch back to her and encourage her to be responsible with it.

    I saw a product called iKeyMonitor that may do the trick but it requires a jailbroken device. This is doable but not ideal. Some of the apps I've seen in the App Store only replace Safari and can only block / monitor web traffic. Email, Texting from the messaging app or TextNow or Facebook or anything like that isn't monitored so it wouldn't come close to painting a full picture of what she's doing.

    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have.

    Thanks!
    Chris
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #2
    You can't do those things on a non-jailbroken iPhone. Apps cannot access/monitor those events unfortunately. It seems like you should treat the problem at the source...
     
  3. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #3
    This may be one issue for which an actual laptop may be the only solution for those sorts of things.

    That being said, I'm kind of opposed to all that kind of stuff anyway. Teach the girl to not do stuff like this using old fashioned methods.

    Otherwise...what? She locks down the computer so much that her daughter just goes out and sells drugs at the mall or something. Or just uses a friends computer. Or goes to the library. Or the Apple store.

    I'd suggest telling your girlfriend that there's no technology that will solve this problem. It's not what she wants to hear, but isn't it better to know that then to PRETEND she has a solution whereas really there is none? That'll be way worse.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Sylon

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    Location:
    Michigan/Ohio, USA
    #4
    Exactly. Not going to tell a parent how to handle their kids, but I would discipline the child, take away her iPod, ground her, etc. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned, but thats what my parents would have done, with a vengeance.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I have Safari blocked on my daughters iPod Touch and made it so she has to use the computer that it's connected too to download apps to her iPod (my Macbook that is password protected). She doesn't have access to the App store on her iPod.
    All this can be done on a non-jailbroken iPod Touch.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ckurt25

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    #6
    Yeah, my parents would have beat the living heck out of me. I try not to get too involved with telling her how to parent, as we have only been going out a few months, but she knows something needs to be done.

    Aside from the beatings, lectures, discussions and advice you can give the child, I'd feel safer monitoring activity than just blocking it and then not knowing where she is going to do that sort of thing.

    One single voice probably won't inspire Apple to put those types of resources on a device but it can't hurt to shoot a letter to Tim C.

    I like what Ford has done. I think it's called My Key. The key limits how fast the car can go and how fast the music can be. Helping to make driving safer for kids. Apple has essentially opened up doors to all corners of the internet without giving parents (or developers) a way of protecting their kids. At least with computers (both PCs and Macs) we can install software that does that. If iPads & iPhones are essentially the same gateway to the internet as those devices, I would hope we can put the same safeguard on them as well.
     
  7. Primejimbo, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012

    macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Sorry, did you not read my post above this one I just quoted?? YOU can block Safari, The App Store, limit how loud the music can be played on the iPod Touch... What more do you want? This us all under Settings >General> Restrictions. You set this up and the kid has NO access to the internet on their iPod Touch then by blocking Safari on it. You can block the App Store the same way so the kid can't download apps that go in chat rooms and so on. Apple and other computer makers can only do so much, the parents are the best tool of all...
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ckurt25

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    #8
    Sorry, did you not read my post above...? It's not about blocking access, it's about monitoring it. Ford's My Key doesn't prohibit kids from driving the cars. It makes it safer for them to do so. I was looking for something that isn't going to prohibit texts, emails, websurfing, facebook, I would like to be able to closely monitor it. Ideally, this would be done without the child knowing it. I would like to practice good parenting skills and discuss the dangers of what they are doing but also allow them to use the apps too.

    This isn't about locking a kid away in a convent. It's about protecting them in the real world. Kids will make mistakes, that's part of being a kid. The mistakes parents make is to believe that if I take away opportunities to make mistakes, they'll never make them. The truth is they will just find other ways to make mistakes. Yes, good parenting helps all of this but this isn't the 50s and Wally and the Beaver aren't going to get in trouble by hitting a baseball through Mrs. Smith's window. The stakes are a little higher these days.

    What you're suggesting isn't bad for a 7 yr old but by the time you get to 13 - 14 years old, the kids are going to get access to those things at school, a library, a friends house or somewhere else. We can't protect them 24/7/365 and it's foolish to think we can. It's better to allow them to have that access on their own device where I can see what they're doing and guide them as they make mistakes.
     
  9. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Washington DC
    #9
    Ok, but if they have access to the internet all those other places, you're not seeing what they're doing.

    It would be nice if Apple would include these features for 7 year olds, yeah. (I hope they do add them!) But I don't know why you're concerned about them. As you point out, they're ONLY useful for 7 year olds.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Iowa
    #10
    iPods are WiFi devices. Buy a good firewall, implement logging, and, if you feel it necessary, content restrictions.
     
  11. Ashwood11, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012

    macrumors 65816

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    #11
    What are you going to do next, read her diary? Education is the answer, not the invasion of privacy.
     
  12. VulchR, Mar 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012

    macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    #12
    Having read this discussion, I believe some of the people posting are rather missing the point. Of course one teaches a 13-year-old about internet safety, but relying on a young teenager's own judgement - no matter how educated the teenager appears to be - is asking for disaster. Young teenagers are simply not equipped to deal with the type of manipulative people they might encounter on the net.

    I think what is required is not a device-dependent strategy, but one based on monitoring activity globally. The only way to do this is to have the password to all of the kid's e-mail, instant messaging and social network accounts and to check activity every so often. Most importantly, if you let your child know you're doing this they will come to accept it and they will better regulate their online behaviour. I know it sounds a bit invasive of privacy, but there will be plenty of time for privacy once the kid turns 18.

    For an adult this might apply, but not for a child who has not developed fully the ability to inhibit impulses and who doesn't have the life experience to know whom to trust. Put bluntly, children are not miniature adults and to believe otherwise is to live in la-la land. So yes, I would read a diary if I thought my child was in danger, then I would tell them and explain why. A child mature enough to be online is capable of understanding when a parent is trying to protect them.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    Location:
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    #13
    Wow, very mature post. Thank you. I wish more people understood parenting in this way. When our children were allowed email, Facebook, internet access in general, at the very beginning they were made to understand that we needed to know all of their passwords and that we would access their accounts if we ever felt we needed to. We never had any reason to mistrust them, but they needed to know that the internet is not a place where they can roam wild and free. Children need (and even want, subconsciously) boundaries until they are old enough to make their own decisions.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    Location:
    Scotland
    #14
    Thank you. Regrettably our family learned the hard way. All I can say is our youngest is quite happy being monitored given the suffering of our oldest that was caused by a twisted and manipulative man (now convicted). Ironically, the seemingly mature kids who respect adult authority are just as vulnerable as any other kid, because they are easily manipulated to comply with the wishes of an adult and then are susceptible to blackmail (indeed the blackmail is the most destructive part of the grooming, for it creates a sense of shame, guilt and self-loathing in the child). I know I sound a bit extreme about all of this, but I see other parents burying their heads in the sand and I shudder to think of the consequences.
     
  15. macrumors member

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    #15
  16. macrumors 68030

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    #16
    How ironic. Education ... get some.
     
  17. macrumors G5

    Macman45

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    #17
    This is definetly 100% down to parental control and advise...It may be tricky to discuss this with your new partner, but it has to come from both of you. The child needs to gain your trust...ensure she isnt doing stupid things on an iPhone or iPad...Allow her to learn good habits, and discipline if nessacccery
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #18
    My internet, my house, my rules. There is no privacy in MY HOUSE. I will give plenty of privacy ie I am not going to walk in on you in the bathroom and stuff like that , but when it is your safety at stake I will do what I must.

    I had just about the same thing going on with my 13 year old. Lets see, locked down the router from going to most every place on the net she could think to go. Removed chat programs from her iPod. Placed restrictions so she could not install anything without me allowing her too. I had to put the router to cut her access off during certain hours because she would mess with it all hours of the night.

    Oh those little chat room deals are hidden all over the place. Tap Tap Revenge was one of her favorites that I didn't catch for a while.

    I brought her to a brief giving by a police officer. He was part of the internet crime division. It scared the heck out of me. Being that she heard it from someone else, because I am stupid and all (LOL!) I think she started to believe the person your chatting with could be a 40 year old man right down the street.
    This guy used kids facebook pages in the room and was able to tell them from their pictures what school they went to. With that was able to figure out what time they got out of school by searching for the school on the internet. By just going to the school could find them (since he had pictures of them) then follow them home. All using just their facebook pages.

    Kids just don't understand how valuable social media is to a Child Molester. Its pretty scary actually. I see no reason for a 13 year old to need facebook. I allowed her facebook for a while as long as I had the password. After a couple of times her doing things that were definitely not approved. I ended up getting rid of her facebook completely.

    So add to my first statement. I don't know how many of you are parents, Dad has one very important job, PROTECT THE KIDS. I will do this job by any means necessary with extreme prejudice. Any douchebag that does something horrible to my kids better pray the police get him before I do. Jail will be the safest place for him.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    scottness

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    Location:
    Room 101
    #19
    Same here, man. Nobody messes with my kids.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    #20

    Amen to that... If is of any help I use http://www.opendns.com/ to filter web content. They have pre-sets so its very easy to setup and you can also add websites manually, they also have statistics and you can see what website are accessed and which get block etc etc...

    [​IMG]
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    #21
    I was just about to post about opendns, beaten to it.

    Usually works quite well.

    At that age kids are starting to become more independent and therefore naturally inquisitive about things that were previously out of reach.

    It's important for a parent to transition from top down authority and complete control of their well being to a more educational and assisting role.

    I have no right to tell anyone how to parent their own kids but I think talking would help and possibly blocking harmful sites.
     
  22. macrumors 601

    PNutts

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    #22
    I installed McGruff Safe Browser and disabled Safari, enabled restrictions, turned off Game Center, etc. Besides filtering, McGruff can email a daily useage summary report. No subscription required. I also use OpenDNS (which can be bypassed by going 3G).

    There's no perfect technical solution, but that doesn't mean you have to do nothing and give them the tools (iPod, etc.) that allow unrestricted Internet access.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    #23
    I have an idea: Tell her that her iPod is subject to unannounced spot checks. Assure her that this is only to make sure she isn't doing things she's not supposed to. Be especially wary if her iPod is jailbroken, because if it is she can bypass any restrictions you placed on her iPod. If she is indeed jailbroken, remove any package installers (may not be necessary), change the root password and remove "mobile" from the sudoers file.

    I wonder if there's like an easier way to enforce parental controls on jailbroken devices.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #24
    Oh yea. Unannounced spot check are the norm and she knows it.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #25
    What I've generally found is that anything you can do to lock down a device, can just as easily be undone by the person it's meant to lock down. If they don't have the expertise themselves, they will find someone who will.

    That said, I have little faith in nanny software. Wiping and restoring is a pretty trivial thing, and so it won't be one bit hard to get rid of any monitoring/blocking software once it's discovered (and it will be).

    ----------

    I'll just put this out there: not making the child aware that they're being monitored and that there will be repercussions for bad behavior isn't really "good parenting skills." Instead of teaching by example and being direct and honest about what you're doing to ensure they stay out of trouble, you're keeping your activity a secret, which is the very thing you're trying to teach your child is not acceptable behavior.

    I'm going to agree with the person who suggested surprise spot checks. Make it clear that she needs to earn the privilege if using the technology by demonstrating she knows who to be responsible online. If she cannot, the device gets taken away for a while, and she can try again later.
     

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