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Filtering, Tracking Software Available for iPhones, Other Mobiles

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Filtering, Tracking Software Available for iPhones, Other Mobiles

A report from the New York Times provides a brief roundup of software products now available to help parents place controls and online website tracking of their children's cell phones. It's interesting to me that the angle the Times highlights in their headline "Helping Parents Snoop on Kids’ iPhone Habits" involves parental "snooping" instead of "protection". It seems today that parents who want to provide online oversight, accountability and protection get labeled by the culture as snoops or as violators of their kids' privacy. But, if that's the price parents must pay, so be it.

The debate over supplying children with Apple iPhones might be heating up, but perhaps a more pressing concern is the level of access that kids already equipped with smartphones have to the rowdy world of the Web.

Mobicip, a start-up based in southern California, is one of the companies trying to tackle that issue head on. The company provides a free, kid-safe browser for iPhones and iPod Touches. Mobicip’s browser works exactly like Safari, but bars access to Web sites containing sexually explicit material, graphic violence, Web-based chat clients, e-commerce, social networks and games.

Another program, iWonder Surf, available for download for $14.99, performs a function similar to Mobicip, but the remote access is more fleshed out, allowing parents the ability to block and unblock sites at their leisure.

Safe Eyes Mobile, available for $19.99, is another application that controls access. Safe Eyes Mobile, like its desktop brother, tracks Web history and sends e-mail notifications to parents when Web surfers try to gain access to restricted Web sites. In addition, Safe Eyes Mobile lets parents set limits on browsing time.

Source: New York Times