Monitoring children’s online activity has become a priority for many concerned parents. But regulating screen time and restricting activity on adult sites may become more difficult now that Apple has targeted third-party parental-control apps, according to a report from The New York Times.
The Times reports that Apple has shut down or removed key features from 11 of the 17 most downloaded apps, such as OurPact, Freedom, Mobicip, Kidslox, and Qustodio. Apple has denied that it purposefully targeted these apps in order to limit competition. Instead, Apple released a statement earlier this week saying it only blocked or restricted specific apps because “they put users’ privacy and security at risk” by “using a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management.”
Apple claims MDM technology is too “risky” because it gathers sensitive information that’s sometimes accessible to hackers.
“Parents shouldn’t have to trade their fears of their children’s device usage for risks to privacy and security, and the App Store should not be a platform to force this choice,” the statement read. “No one, except you, should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device.”
Some app companies find it odd that Apple is only now implementing this strict policy after it unveiled its own monitoring software, Screen Time, which allows parents to see how much time kids are spending online.
How could this affect you? According to the Times, Apple’s Screen Time technology doesn’t quite compare to some of the now-restricted or deleted monitoring apps. For instance, parents can’t establish scheduled block times and, while they can set parental controls on Safari and some other apps, they can’t block adult content on YouTube or Instagram through Screen Time. As a result, parents may have to set certain restrictions within individual apps — that is, when those options are even available.