The increased use of mobile devices that include full-featured internet browsers and downloadable applications has created a demand for parental controls on these devices. Some examples of mobile devices that contain parental controls include cell phones, tablets, and e-readers. In November 2007, Verizon was the first carrier to offer age-appropriate content filters as well as the first to offer generic content filters, recognizing that mobile devices were used to access all manner of content from movies and music to short-code programs and websites. In June 2009, in iPhone OS 3.0, Apple was the first company to provide a built-in mechanism on mobile devices to create age brackets for users that would block unwanted applications from being downloaded to the device. In the following years, the developers of all major operating systems have presented in-built tools for parental control, including Linux, Android, Windows, and even the more business-oriented platform Blackberry. There are also applications that allow parents to monitor real-time conversations on their children’s phones via access to text messages, browser history, and application history. An example of one of these is TrendMicrowhich not only offers protection from viruses but also offers parental controls to phones and tablets of almost all brands. Most of these offer the ability to add extra features to parental controls. These apps have the features mobile devices already have, but have additional features such as being able to monitor and filter texts/calls, protection while surfing the web, and denied access to specific websites. Applications of this sort have created a rising competition in their market.
Mobile device software enables parents to restrict which applications their child can access while also allowing parents to monitor text messages, phone logs, MMS pictures, and other transactions occurring on their child’s mobile device; to enable parents to set time limit on the usage of mobile devices, and to track the exact location of their children as well as monitor calls and the content of texts. This software also allows parents to monitor social media accounts. Parents are able to view posts, pictures, and any interactions in real-time. Another function of this software is to keep track of bullying.
Most internet providers offer no-cost filtering options to limit internet browsing options and block unsuitable content. Implementing parental controls and discussing internet safety are useful steps to protect children from inappropriate information.
Although parental controls can protect children, they also come with some negative factors. Children’s anxiety may increase due to parental controls.