Parental controls are features which may be included in digital television services, computer and video games, mobile phones and computer software. Parental controls fall into roughly four categories, content filters, which limit access to age appropriate content, usage controls, which constrain the usage of these devices such as placing time-limits on usage or forbidding certain types of usage, computer usage management tools, which allow parents to enforce learning time into child computing time, and monitoring , which can track location and activity when using the devices.
1.Parental controls on mobile phones
The increased use of mobile phones that include full featured internet browsers and downloadable applications has created a demand for parental controls on these mobile, smart handhelds. In November 2007, Verizon was the first carrier to offer age-appropriate content filters as well as the first to offer content-generic content filters recognizing that mobile phones were used to access all manner of content from movies and music to short-code programs and websites. In June 2009, on the iPhone OS version 3.0, Apple Computer was the first mobile device company to provide a built in mechanism on iPhone and iPod Touch devices to create age brackets for users that would block unwanted applications from being downloaded to the device. The introduction of a safe mobile web browser, called Surfbalance Kids browser for iPhone in June 2009, filled a need for parental web controls in the mobile phone arena.
2.Parental controls on the iPod Touch
There are also parental controls on the iPod Touch. Parents can block the icons for some apps, block access to the Internet or YouTube, and restrict the apps and movies that may be downloaded.
3.Commonly used methods to bypass parental controls
Several methods of bypassing parental controls are commonly used. If the filtering software is located locally within the computer, all Internet software can be easily bypassed by booting up the computer in question from alternative media or with an alternative operating system. However, if the computer’s BIOS is configured to disallow booting from removable media, and if changes to the BIOS are prohibited without proper authentication, then this approach is not available.
Another technique involves using external proxy servers or other servers. The user sends requests to the external server which retrieves content on the user’s behalf. Filtering software may then never be able to know which URLs the user is accessing, as all communications are with the one external server and filtering software never sees any communications with the web servers from which content really originated. To counter this, filtering software may also block access to popular proxies. Additionally, filtering systems which only permit access to a set of allowed URLs will not permit access anything outside this list, including proxy servers.
4.Criticisms of parental controls
An argument that is present is that: children will get access to questionable content, either through friends or by cracking the software. Parenting organizations feel, especially with older children and adolescents, that the best way to keep kids from viewing questionable content is by teaching kids about the hazards of viewing such content.
The Netgear WIRELESS ROUTER WNR1000 has Free Parental Controls.
Tags: Parental Controls, WNR1000