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How to block explicit content in iTunes

A front page article in The New York Times last year highlighted a disturbing trend in contemporary pop music. Although acts  like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Ke$ha have never been more popular, they are part of a growing list of chart-topping artists who regularly release songs that can’t be played on the radio.

In fact, a quick look at today’s top-selling singles on iTunes reveals that 6 of the Top 20 and 29 out of the Top 100 are marked explicit, which according to the Recording Industry Association of America means they contain lyrics that “parents may not want their child to listen to.”

The pop music singles chart has always contained its fair share of explicit lyrics, particularly in recent years when Eminem and other rappers have dominated. But today’s explicit lyrics are also likely to come from Ke$ha or Pink, artists whose fan base starts right around third grade.

Even if the potentially offensive lyrics are not played on the radio, the uncensored songs are readily available online, and that means iTunes. However, if you want to block your child from previewing, buying or sharing songs with explicit lyrics, it’s fairly easy to accomplish. Here’s how you do it:

• Log-in to your iTunes account

• Click on Edit in the top left-hand corner and select Preferences

• Select the Parental tab. If you just want to block songs with explicit lyrics, then check the box labeled Restrict explicit content. Click on the lock to prevent any further changes and click OK to save.

You will notice that the Parental tab has many other options besides restricting explicit content. You can disable podcasts, radio access, or sharing; or you can disable the iTunes store entirely. You can also customize content – including movies and TV shows – specifically for your child’s age range.

Keep in mind that if your child has knows your iTunes log in and password, then there is nothing to stop her from logging on and reversing your changes. The above restrictions work best where the parent logs on to the iTunes account using a secret password.

A final point: songs are marked explicit based on information supplied to iTunes by the record label; there is no independent review of content by Apple. Unfortunately, that means a number of songs with explicit lyrics still slip through the cracks, even when restrictions are in place. If you are unfamiliar with a song, it’s always best to preview it before you give permission to buy.



Comments:
Comment by Gavin Anderson, posted 11/13/2013, 11:17 PM:

Thanks for the guide. What about if we, as parents, also don't want to see this content. I can't find a way to shut it off for my admin account. Can you?
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