iPhone parental control -- questions!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by hapy, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. hapy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #1
    Thinking of getting an iPhone for my son. I've seen what the parental controls do on the iPod Touch but I will want to limit his calls and who he texts on the iPhone.

    Does iOS do this? What about third party apps? One app I found seems to do it all... If I'm willing to jailbreak the phone.

    Thanks.
     
  2. DrJim macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #2
    Monitoring text messages on iOS

    You are right. iOS is a sandboxed software system, which means there is no universal security app like we have for Windows and Mac. The good thing is that you can limit the apps that are or can be installed (using Restrictions) and setup a Safe Browser (like Mobicip) and thereby create a safe Internet environment. The bad thing is that you cannot limit text messages or other features that are not part of the Restrictions feature (unless you jailbreak, of course, which opens a pandora's box imho).

    Now, AT&T does offer Smart Limits, a parental control feature that allows you to setup some additional restrictions on calls and text messages, but it will apply only when the phone is using AT&T's network.
     
  3. bandofbrothers macrumors 601

    bandofbrothers

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Uk
    #3
    What do you want to limit on the iPhone ?

    Limit the use of calls, texts and data by imposing an appropriate account with your network.

    02 in the Uk limit the access of age restricted material and can only be lifted by the owner proving their 18+ age. Perhaps your network can provide the same.

    I agree with jail breaking and the pandora box effect.
     
  4. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    AT&T offers what you want by doing it from the network level, rather than from the phone. They also offer things like the ability to track your kids on a map, etc.
     
  5. hapy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2009
    #5
    I need to keep my son, who has some mental disabilities, from making calls to anyone he wants. Same for texts. He needs to have a phone -- for safety and personal tracking purposes -- but we need to limit who he calls to a handful of people (brother, grandmother, etc.).

    I have an Android based phone and have tried some apps that seem to work OK, but he's used to using an iPod Touch for music, weather, etc. so moving up to an iPhone was the logical step.

    It sounds like I may need to jailbreak and install iBlacklist. Not what I really want to do, but I may have no other option.


    Hmm... I'll have to see if that's available for the service provider we're going to use. It's not AT&T because in our area the coverage is lousy -- and we needed a very reasonable pay-as-you-go plan. My son's on a tight budget and, if this idea fails, we may need to cancel w/o penalty right away and come up with something different.
     
  6. BlueGummiBear macrumors 6502a

    BlueGummiBear

    #6
    Pardon me for the ignorant question, but why does your son need an iPhone? If it's only for safety and personal tracking purposes there are other options available.
     
  7. hapy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2009
    #7
    Not an ignorant question at all. :)

    My son is a very special case. From the outside he appears to be like any other 31-year-old male. Inside he has the maturity and intelligence of someone much, much younger. He holds a part time job, and could even legally drive -- though we don't let him. His memory isn't good. His focus is awful. His ability to hold a normal conversation is not there. He's fun to hang with, fun to be around, loves playing games and going to movies, but he was born without a depth level that you and I possess.

    He LOVES music, so the iPod Touch has been a great tool. Plus he can play Angry Birds and check the weather and his email.

    But going for walks are no longer possible. He loses track of time and vanishes for hours. We want to give him some freedom back and I think an iPhone could do that.

    There are GPS tracking devices, but no matter what he'd already have an iPod Touch. Plus GPS wouldn't allow us to message him if he's away from WiFi. And it would be nice to call him if we need to. ("Hey, you wandered off the agreed-to route... what's up?")

    Sorry for the long answer, but in his case there is no short answer. I'm open to other ideas (gadgets) but I can't load him down all day with a backpack full of gear. Limited freedom is possible with a single device and I think that device is the iPhone. (Android could work but he's been on iOS devices already and they're easiest to use.)
     
  8. BlueGummiBear macrumors 6502a

    BlueGummiBear

    #8
    I appreciate your time and explanation. I find it rather moving and exciting that a device like an iPhone can give more freedom to someone like your son.
     
  9. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #9
    I have smart limits for my daughters phone and it's pretty good. The probably about jailbreaking is, if your son is like any normal kid, all he has to do is restore his iPhone and no more parental controls.
     
  10. hapy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2009
    #10
    What are smart limits?
     
  11. RotaryP7 macrumors 6502a

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    Miami, FL
    #11
    AT&T has parental controls. I don't know what provider you have. It's called AT&T Smart Controls. Where you can limit the amount of text sent, limit the time when he/she can make calls, limit purchases, and block numbers. Even track your kids. I don't know about iPhone specific though.
     
  12. Primejimbo, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012

    Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #12
    It's 4.99 a month and I can set limits of all kinds. i can set time limits, text limits, data limits, and I think downloads. Sadly I can't set phone limits (minutes to use), but over all its pretty good. Once I grounded her and blocked everything and they have an "OK" list, and I set up my phone and others that will still work.
    I apologies about the "normal kid" comment. I didn't read all the way down.

    Also Apple has that one app, Find My Friends. You can use this to see where he is at.

    Personally I don't like the jailbreaking side of this. All he needs to do is plug it into iTunes, click restore, and all those settings, apps, and other things are gone.
     
  13. labman macrumors 604

    labman

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Mich near Detroit
    #13
    1st of all Sorry about your sons limitations. However it sounds like you and the family are handling it well. I'm also happy that products like the iPhone can help him. In your case I would talk to AT&T and Apple and see what they can suggest in your situation. you might also look to the jailbreak community there are lots of tweaks that ether free a iPhone up or can restrict access to certain areas. To me it's a pleasure to run across someone like you that would rather dwell on what your son can do rather then what he can't do.. One parent to another hats of to you. :D
     
  14. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #14
    I completely understand, I have Asperger's (which is on the autism spectrum, but not completely disabling) as well, and completely can understand what is going on. I got my license at age 22, living with my wonderful & caring girlfriend, and currently holding a full time job, pay my(our) bills on time, and now can actually hold onto a conversation normally :).

    My iPhone has been an invaluable tool (for work & play as well)...plus it's a phone.

    I suggest you start looking into switching to AT&T (or Verizon) for that matter, if you don't mind me asking what carrier are you currently on right now? Most carriers that I know of including T-Mobile offers a Smart Limit-like feature. And don't forget that you'd also have the Find My Friends app as well, which you can lock down in Settings > General >Restrictions, to keep him from "going off the radar." ....Provided you also have an iOS device that you can load the app and find out where he is.

    Another way to keep track of location would be enabling Find My iPhone, but you may be invading his privacy with full access to his iCloud mail, Contacts, and Calendars, because you'd need full access to his iCloud account for this to work out (unless the others here know of another way). With Find My iPhone, you can use any Mac or PC to load up his location (the location of his iPhone), remote lock, wipe, etc as well as send an emergency message (the real usage of Find my iPhone, but it works). You also can get the respective iOS apps, but if you already are going to use an iOS device, you might as well use Find My Friends.

    If limiting web browsing is what you also want to do, you definitely want to restrict Safari and get a "safe browser" from the App Store. I highly do not reccomend the jailbreak route however, as it would cause trouble if he say...click on the Update that Apple now pushes OTA/using iTunes and could possibly cause more damage that, unless you know what you're doing, can't get yourself out of. And let's not forget that the Apple Store would refuse to even look at jailbroken devices.
     
  15. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Didn't know you can do that with Find My Friends, I'll have to keep that in mind.

    OP-I have AT&T and they have Smart Limits. I attached what you can control with it.
     

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  16. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #16
    I think this Solution + Find My Friends app would be perfect for the OP. You can even go as far as developing a profile in Apple's Mobile Device Configurator for OS X Mountain Lion ;)
     
  17. hapy, Aug 28, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012

    hapy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #17
    Thank you...

    Thanks for the constructive feedback. Thought I'd share what I did.

    I ended up jailbreaking the iPhone we got him and that opened up a world of parental options that Apple may never offer. While the carrier his phone is on doesn't offer parental controls, I've tweaked it with a few Cydia apps that do the trick.

    The biggest helpers are iBlacklist, which allow only calls to approved numbers, and a folder locking program. Tucked inside a locked folder called 'Misc' are Settings, the App store, Cydia, and a few other things he shouldn't have access to. (For now the actual phone app is in the locked folder as well... meaning he can only receive calls from numbers whitelisted in iBlacklist.)

    This is a plan that should work. He'll have all the stuff he loves about his old iPod Touch, plus the ability to send/receive texts, be watched over in case he wanders, and a couple of other things.

    I'm sure Apple has its reasons for not offering greater parental controls but for now I can say jailbreaking offers maximum control in special cases like ours.

    For what it's worth, I noticed a user on another forum also needed greater parental control. But instead of offering advice, other users ripped him/her for not being "man enough" to take away the phone, check the phone's call log, etc.

    Not every parenting situation is the same and I thank all of you for your constructive feedback and support!
     
  18. gpatrick15 macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #18
    Nice to see you found a solution that works to your needs and satisfaction!
     

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