8.18.2013

Why I Disabled Safari On My Kid's Devices


So, you know about parental controls on your kids Apple devices, right?  You set some controls and everything should be great...right?  Wait, right???

Nope.

I learned the hard way that a simple one word Google search (you know, like the word that rhymes with a yellow veggie that grows on a cob?) can bring loads of terrible websites to your innocent children's fingertips.  Safari has no regulation through parental controls, so you might think you are safe, but you are not.

This weekend, I used the parental controls on my boys' devices to disable Safari altogether, then looked around for an alternative web browser for everyone.

My criteria in searching for a web browser was that the button had to look "normal", not like some baby thing, but a normal web browser.  It had to be capable of setting different levels of control (since my boys are 10, 12, and 14 they needed different limits).  It also had to be able to provide reports about blocked websites they attempted to access so we could have frank discussions if necessary.

I found several free options, but eventually opted to pay for a service with lots of flexibility for each device, and ended up with Mobicip.


You can see the app button has a normal looking image that won't cause their friends to notice anything amiss, yet shows exactly what it's used for.

The toolbar is the same as Safari with Google to the right and the address bar on the left.


I could set levels of elementary, middle, and high school for my 3 boys then go into each page and add or remove individual categories (sex, violence, shopping, videos, technology, etc) with a simple click (if you choose elementary level, you can get a free subscription).

I ended up buying a 1 year subscription for 3 individual devices for under $30 a year, and so far, it's worth it!

Do you have any web browsing advice for kids and devices? How do you keep track of your kids' internet usage on devices?

**I did not receive any compensation from Mobicip, and only found them by searching "web browser with parental controls" yesterday.  I searched it in the app store on each phone and downloaded the app for free, then upgraded.  Us parents have to stick together, so I thought I'd share**

2 comments :

  1. Way to get me thinking Jen! Definitely something I need to be looking into more! Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep, I learned the hard way as well. We disabled Safari on our 13 year old's phone a few weeks ago, and we set her apps to under 12 years old and changed the apple id password. She was using an anonymous chat website to talk to god knows who. Ugh! Thank goodness we check her phone regularly that it hadn't been going on for very long. She is just too naive to realize who could be talking to her. What's terrible is that we could see several of her close friends and her own cousin and stepbrother using the site as well, and none of the other parents cared. I could not imagine a better site for a child predator to hang out than a teen anonymous chat. My ex-husband's wife refused to deal with it with her own son. And the cousin's mother said, "well I asked him and he said he wasn't doing anything bad." So, she kept her head in the sand and didn't even bother to check his phone at all. I saw his messages, and he was definitely up to some very bad things.

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