The Internet is a limitless repository of information for all, including children, to tap into. Limitless, however, brings with it as much bad as good, and there is the very real danger of our children stumbling across content that they aren’t meant to view/listen to. All popular mobile platforms, including iOS and Android, therefore, offer parental controls to help regulate children’s online activities.
Tests over a period of time have made it clear: when you compare Android and iOS in terms of parental control, Android beats iOS hands down. iOS is great when it comes to security and protection – from malware and viruses – on the device.
It falls short of the benchmark set by Android for apps when it comes to the protection of children against malicious elements like online predators and activities like cyberbullying and access to objectionable content.
Parental Control Apps: Why iOS isn’t as Successful as Android
One of the reasons why parental control apps haven’t fared as well with iOS as they have with the Android platform is the set of built-in security features that iOS comes with. This is ironic because it is these same built-in security measures that make iOS devices almost completely infallible and secure from viruses and other malware!
The iOS platform has always posed hiccups for third-party developers, and sadly it doesn’t distinguish between work categories or genres for these developers: parental control app developers face the same hurdles that other developers face because of the restrictive environment. Things have reached a state where some parental control apps don’t even list iOS as a feasible option.
Most importantly, from a child safety point of view, iOS devices do not give you a way to keep track of your child’s activities on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook and messaging tools like Snapchat and WhatsApp. That is a big negative, as social media platforms are where children are most likely to run into cyberbullies or predators, or chance across objectionable content.
Android, on the other hand, is an open-source OS and that makes it easy for third-party developers to develop and host their apps on this platform. The number of apps on this platform is also, therefore, significantly more than you find on the iOS platform.
One point to remember – while parental control apps and software work better on Android (compared to iOS), it is also true that the Android platform is more susceptible to hacking and other malicious activities because it is open-source.
How to Supplement the Inadequate Parental Control Features in iOS
One thing is certain – parental controls are critical to ensuring the well-being of your child when they are online. Take for instance online casinos: underage gambling is not a myth but a frightening reality despite the preventive measures in place.
Imagine bumping into a game like Big Bad Wolf from Quickspin, or Fortunium from Microgaming. Or even Gonzo’s Quest from NetEnt: the temptation to explore would be too hard to resist!
Kids are drawn to the flashing lights of online slots which may not be targeted at kids, certainly attract their attention. This is why it’s important to block all sites that advertise online casinos. Online casinos are just one of the elements that you would need to block; there are just too many others around! The sensible thing to do is to move on from moaning about the problem to trying to find ways to solve it.
There are a couple of ways to work around the problem of inadequate parental control features in iOS. The first is to use what we have at hand: the built-in security features that you find in iPhones and iPads. There are a number of features that you find in your iOS device, and in quite a few places iOS actually has done a good job with these and, in some cases, has scored over Android as well.
Take, for instance, the built-in security features in an iOS device: they allow you to prevent interaction with specific players in the platform’s game center, something that you don’t find in Android devices.
All iOS devices also automatically enable the blocking of inappropriate content. Again, this is not something you find automatically enabled in Android devices. Other areas where iOS scores over Android in terms of built-in security measures on their devices include setting of age limitations and viewing your child’s activity on the phone.
Ways to Improve Parental Controls in iOS Devices
Here are a few things that you could do to improve the safety measures in terms of parental controls if you are already using an iOS device.
• Protect Privacy Details
Privacy becomes a liability when it comes to mobile devices – iOS as well as Android – because we end up placing a whole lot of personal information on the device itself. A good way to protect privacy is to block apps from accessing your location, contacts, photographs, calendar, social media accounts and other important information.
• Use Age Restrictions to Block Sites
A good way to ensure parental controls work effectively and prevent your children from accessing objectionable sites is by using the Age Rating feature on your iOS device. You also have the option of blocking sites by entering their URLs on a restricted view list.
• Use the Best iOS Parental Control Measure – the iCloud
Use the iCloud when you are using an iOS device. This is a built-in feature you find in all iOS devices and it allows you to view all your children’s content – from photographs to iMessages and FaceTime calls, and that is a huge positive. On the negative side, this feature is not pre-emptive, which means you get to check only after the fact.
• Switch Specific Features Off
All iOS devices give you the option of turning off specific features that you don’t want your child to use. And to ensure that this is done effectively, you could set a password to switch it on, so that your child is able to use these features only in your presence and under your supervision.
• Create Awareness about the Need for Parental Control
The first step to implementing parental controls is creating awareness about why it needs to be done. Talking to your child about the need to implement these controls goes a long way in enduring receptivity and successful implementation. Have conversations about the kinds of threats that exist and how to spot them.
Creating awareness is not for the child alone, as a parent too, it is important to be aware of the different apps that your child is likely to come across and use, and the positives and negatives that they offer.