iPod Touch Parental Controls

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by macabouttobe, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. macabouttobe macrumors regular

    macabouttobe

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #1
    I recently purchased my familiy's first iPod Touch for my 10 year old son and I thought I'd share some experience on my findings on protecting the content accessed. I'm on day 1, so I may tweak this as things develop but this is what I've come up with so far...

    I adopted a solution from OpenDNS (google them) about a year ago to handle content filtering on my iMac. Basically set up a free account and point your desktops to their DNS servers. I had to download an extra program (widget?) to keep in sync with my dynamic IP but wasn't too high of a hurdle.

    The ideal situation is where you can point your router(gateway) to their DNS servers. Unfortunately I am unable to do that. I have AT&T Uverse (absolutely love it) and they need to nail down their DNS server designations because it handles IP, Voice, and IPTV, so I was troubled on how to point my son's DNS lookups to OpenDNS's servers. I tried to hook up a seperate wireless router and had way too many issues... I just entered Open DNS's DNS servers (208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220) into my son's iPod Touch and it is working great.

    I will admit I skimmed the surface on Apple's parental control's, but it seemed to be more about restricting the apps that they provide and didn't provide the level of inspection I was looking for. Not quite sure my solution would work if I didn't download the "app" that tracks my dynamically allocated IP address, but it's running in the background of my iMac so be it.. If my son is anything like me (and he is) he'll probably figure out a way in the future to get around this..

    Anyway, my message here is if you aren't certified router specialist - I found a relatively easy way to do it. I haven't had it in place long enough to see if the Ipod Touch forgets is DNS settings if its powered down.. I gather won't work if he's out and about on some other wifi connection but there is also an element of trust we have. If I see any hiccups I'll update this this thread. I've googled iPod Touch parental controls and didn't really see a DNS based solution which is pretty clean.. I will spend a few more cycles on the parental controls on the iPod touch to restrict any content that is questionable, but so far I think I'm OK with Apple's definition of deciency - but again I'm on day 1.5 with this thing...

    Please share your solutions if you are in a similar situation. Mostly trying to keep the Internet (safari) from being abused/abusive at such a young age..
    My $0.02.
     
  2. FlyinggPenguin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Location:
    The Sprawling Underworld of Chicago
    #2
    I'm a teen, and you seem nice (and promise not to tell our secrets, mmkay?) so I'll tell you some tricks us kids try on our parents when they put on parental controls. Sorry about the DNS thing-- can't help you with that. D:

    If they ask you if they buy something from the app store, make sure when you type in your password to your iTunes account, when it finishes downloading, be sure to lock the iPod. It lets you buy as many apps as you want until it sleeps automatically or if you don't lock the iPod right after buying one app, your son could buy a million episodes of Spongebob and you'd be seeing a lot of red on your bills. This works with free apps, too. (I only used it to get free apps. I'm not that evil.)

    Be careful when letting him download music-- if it has a red 'explicit' sign next to it, chances are it's explicit. :p

    Here's a how-to for Apple's parental controls.
     
  3. macabouttobe thread starter macrumors regular

    macabouttobe

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    Thank you for the insight! I have to admit I hadn't thought of that scenario!

    So far so good setting the DNS settings to openDNS's. You can enter your own DNS settings when you go to the WIFI settings on the IPT, and click on the connection you are using. Gives a bunch of IP addresses and I manually entered what I needed in the DNS row. A DNS (Domain Name Server) is nothing more than a server that reconciles the website you typed in to the ip addresses (198.43.25.23) it really stands for and necessary for your packets to go to the right place which is all numeric from an IP prospective.. Forcing the iPod Touch to a DNS that has a bit more intelligence built in creates an internet from the IPT's perspective that allows most traffic, but keeps the trash I don't want my kids to see blocked. Sort of like a program I recall from a long time ago called Net Nanny (don't even know if it's still around), which did all of the filtering in the operating system.. I went out on safari and getting the same "this sight is blocked due to X" messages on the IPT (safari) that I got on my iMac. For those thinking I'm a prude, we have a computer with full open access in the house ;-)

    I have to play around with the IOS Parental controls. He downloaded a "wallpaper" app with some pretty racy photos, but nothing hardcore so I'm cool with it. Set his permissions to download, but only if 14+ rating.

    My struggle was I didn't want to shut off safari, just try to keep some of the crazy internet stuff from being accessed..
     
  4. liren.zhu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #4
    If I'm not wrong, DNS settings only stick for that particular wifi connection. If your son were to connect to a different wifi, it would no longer be the openDNS settings you put in. I did a quick Google for your problem and this site seems to offer a fairly comprehensive solution:

    http://knol.google.com/k/suren-ramasubbu/how-to-setup-parental-controls-on/2hrtmvjs09ng1/6#

    Take a look, it may be what you need, though there is a $4.99 cost involved for the "safe browser."
     
  5. Abscissa macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    VA
    #5
    About the first response, you could always just take off credit card info and just give him the gift cards. Not sure how it works if you have no money in your account and no credit card...do they bill your house off your info? LOL

    But anyways, about the parental controls on the ipod touch. You can always fully restrict iTunes, Safari, YouTube, AppStore, Facetime and the camera. If you don't want him to buy from iTunes via device or whatever, just restrict it. And same with the app store. But then he can't browse which is a bummer. But he could just ask you if X app is ok and you can download it on the computer.

    Option two, is to go into restrictions and go to Movies, TV Shows, and Apps and click "Don't Allow Apps/Movies/TV Shows". he should still be able to browse but not download and you can go forth from there. Or just remove the 17+ option. Anything in the 17 category involves "bad" stuff (lack of better words). Like Craigslist has the personals, etc etc.

    But as to managing Safari, I'm not sure so I guess this was kind of useless.
     
  6. kimsmarkin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    #6
    When you slide on / off switch on your iPod, explicit content, which is followed by a marked Explicit become invisible. They keep your device, you just do not can use them. Turn off Safari, YouTube, iTunes and / or installation of applications and applications for your iPhone or iPod touch are hidden.
     
  7. DrJim macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #7
    Web parental controls available

    It is possible to setup web parental controls for younger kids on the iPod touch. We use a service called Mobicip - www.mobicip.com - to protect the ipods in our family. Basically the app is a replacement for Safari and YouTube which can be turned off. They have an optional web-based parental control service off of the website. The big advantage is that the thing works anywhere and not just the home network.
     
  8. macabouttobe thread starter macrumors regular

    macabouttobe

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    Thank you all for your input. I've learned a lot, and I hope future users can find what they need in this thread. That was what I wanted to do, put all this in a single thread with shared experiences.

    If we've left something out, please add!
     

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