Apple introduces parental controls for books
With all eyes focused on the new iPhone 5 – and Apple’s less-than-stellar Maps app – little attention has been paid to some of the lower-profile changes that were introduced with iOS 6. One of those changes – introducing parental controls for books – will be especially welcomed by parents who are used to handing over their iPhones and iPads to their kids.
In iOS 6, if you turn on parental controls, books in the iBookstore marked as containing sexually explicit content will be disabled from purchase, preview, and sharing. Even more important, books that are already in your library containing sexually explicit material will be hidden. (You will need iBooks 2.2 and higher for this second restriction to apply.)
These parental controls for books are similar to the restrictions that have previously been available for sexually explicit music on iTunes, and reflect both the growing popularity of the iBookstore and the increasing use of iPads and iPhones as e-readers.
Here’s how to set parental controls for books on the iPhone:
- Tap Settings, General, Restrictions and then Books.
- Set Explicit Sexual Content to OFF. This will restrict the sampling, downloading and reading of books with explicit sexual content.
If anyone tries to access sexually explicit content in the iBookstore with the restrictions in place, the following message will appear: “This book contains explicit sexual content. To download it, you must first go to Settings and edit your restrictions.” The Buy and Sample buttons will be disabled and no Share link will appear. To disable the parental controls, you or your child will need the password that was required when restrictions were first set up.
Even with the parental controls in place, it should be noted that the iBookstore is largely self-policing and it’s possible for sexual content to appear in a book without that work being marked as sexually explicit. It’s recommended that parents always supervise their children’s use of electronic devices if there is a possibility of accessing inappropriate content, or if the devices are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi or cellular networks.