Apple's iOS Addiction already has a solution on the Mac

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2018
Apple is vexed with the problem of excessive customer satisfaction, particularly in the troublesome demographic of young users. That's the latest hot take reaction to the issue of kids being given permissive parental approval to stay up all night on their iOS devices, leaving them sleep deprived and distracted. Apple's parental controls on iOS are focused on limiting access to content and specific apps, but the company already has tools in place to enforce parents' wishes on the Mac. It just needs to bring these to iOS.


Parental Controls on macOS already enable bedtime restrictions


The problem of children being distracted from sleep and a focus on school and growth certainly isn't new. For decades, kids have stayed up too late playing with toys, watching TV, playing video games or simply running around outside.

What is new is the technology to securely enforce how devices work. Apple has long provided parental controls in macOS, a form of the business-oriented policy management designed to prevent employees from using devices, apps or content outside of their corporate-approved permissions. Apple brought some of these controls to iOS under Restrictions Settings.

These settings enable parents to block access to specific apps and features, from the Wild West of the WWW in Safari to access of AirDrop file sharing, the Camera and Siri. Parents can also password protect access to iTunes, iBooks, News, Podcasts, and block the installation of new apps. There are also privacy settings parents can use to limit what apps can access their location, contacts, calendars, photos, microphone and so on.

Back to the Mac

What's still missing is time, date and bedtime hours restrictions that are available under Parental Controls on Macs. The controls on Apple's desktop platform also include limiting web browsing to specific sites, emailing to specific contacts, and can limit a child's account to using the "Simple Finder," which effectively restricts what a young user can do in various ways.

Apple issued a statement is response to concerns that young people were at risk of distraction and even suicide from excessive use of unrestricted technology, noting that it planned to bring additional controls to iOS.

The company stated that "effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent" already, while outlining "new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these [parental control] tools even more robust."

The nutty insanity of maliciously cynical Apple narratives

The histrionic attention to Apple's "addiction" problem has been blown into a full gale bomb cyclone of low-heat white flurries by the typical sources. Even MacWorld included a cliche subheading spectating that future updates "might be too little, too late!" despite not knowing anything about what they might include, ignorance expressed as criticism in describing Apple's comments as a "vague statement."

None of the common reports on the contrived AddictionGate story seemed to understand that parental controls already exist on the Mac, and none acknowledged that Google's Android, Amazon FireOS, or any other phone, tablet or game console platform (or television) might suffer from a similar inability to enforce the aims of parents who don't actually physically engage in the control of access to their children's devices.

Also not mentioned in any of the reports of the dire state of children possessing iPhones was acknowledgement of Google's harassing, abusive comments and sickeningly bizarre and violent YouTube content directed specifically at children and monetized by the company until an uproar ensued; nor FaceBook's wildly permissive data gathering on children in its Facebook and Messenger apps and its feed of content that regularly splashes suicide-inducing abuse and depraved, explicit content from virtually any source; nor the potential for children to stay up late using Amazon's Alexa to order age-inappropriate materials without parental guidance.
watto_cobra

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,979member
    Perhaps this is something Apple can add in iOS 12. I doubt its gonna be anything added in iOS 11. It might be better if Apple could do some kind of iCloud based thing though so parents can modify settings without having the device in their hands. 

    In the end though...parents should be parents and if the child isn't doing what they're supposed to with it then maybe they don't deserve it. Having a mobile device is a privilege, not a right. 

    Maybe I couldn't talk with my friends over my Nintendo, or my PS1 but it still could be a distraction and keep me from doing my school work, studying for tests, etc. That was easily solved by taking it away. I guess thats too much for parents these days. 
    edited January 2018 jony0cornchipbestkeptsecretwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    It does seem odd that only Apple is being targeted for parental controls on devices when there must be hundreds of companies that could be targeted for needing such controls. It would seem all gaming devices should have some sort of use-time controls built into them in order for parents to limit children's playing time. Apple has become a loser of a company to always allow itself to be attacked by the news media or some other entity while other companies are totally ignored. There must be billions of Android smartphones that don't have strong parental controls on them. Does a PS3 or PS4 have such parental controls? Of course, like any electric device, the power plug can simply be pulled and the device taken away.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    stpatstpat Posts: 10member
    This is definitely an issue that Apple is responsible for providing better tools for parents. They've created a powerful pocket size computer with access to the almost limitless resources in the internet and built-in gaming and social media to hook the users. It's much different then when prior generations had access to other physical devices/phones, because they were very simple and easy to control access/content. The current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration and monitoring without excess cost or time requirements, to allow for meaningful usage and access, yet restrict the content or consumption of the device. Additionally, to Apple's own assertion, these are highly personal devices that tend to make children have a sense of entitlement to the device. The argument of "just take it away" does more damage to the relationship and the sense of trust between the child/parent then it does to solve the actual issue, which is limiting access and consumption. I'm not saying Apple should be helping to monitor this, but at least provide the same tools they have currently for the Mac. 

    This is potentially a huge social issue as phone/technology addiction leads to lots of unsocial tendencies and behavioral problems, so for essentially the entire current youth generation to be caught up in this could have huge implications 20-30 years from now. I already see it in the workplace and the inability of lots of young 20 somethings to have face to face conversations without having to pick up their phone as a distraction from actual physical communication. It's sad and scary.
    joshbishmuthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Really they need better parity between the MacOS and iOS parental controls.

    This would be amazing on iOS.

    iOS internet restrictions on the Mac would be miles ahead of MacOS.

    Right now if you block all sites on iOS and only have a whitelist, you can still use Spotify or Dropbox apps without it requesting to allow IP addresses all the time. Right now on MacOS, if you whitelist, Spotify and Dropbox ping IPs ALL. THE. TIME. Super annoying to get the approval popup all the time.

    Overall the both solutions are ok, but need improvement.
    edited January 2018 joshbishwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Unfortunately the problem of devices distracting kids is worse than the old problems of kids wanting to play outside, or with toys etc. In comparison to the TV its more tightly integrated, the interactivity keeps kids involved. 

    Kids still get hungry and thirsty when playing with toys or outside, while on the phone they can go hours without noticing. Playing outside is healthy, playing with others outside or on toys builds social interaction skills and makes friends.

    Online apps try to tie the kids in (and do a good job of engaging them), and they change the challenges continually. Kids can hide their phones from parents and do things much less supervised. 

    I think they activate the same neurology engaged in gambling that leads to problems.  

    None of this is Apples fault or responsibility. 

    We monitor our kids closely but even with lots of effort it isn't enough. If Apple can help is that would be good.  

    The MacOS stuff is a start. Perhaps make a "parental friendly" rating that app developers can apply for that allows greater oversite - like parents authorising friends, or giving privacy to chats with specific real-life friends but sharing chats with parents for anyone met online (for 8 year olds, for example). 
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,397member
    Have Apple fixed parental controls by High Sierra? My Mac is stuck on ElCap on which parental controls are B. R. O. K. E. N.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    wiseywisey Posts: 27member
    stpat said:
    This is definitely an issue that Apple is responsible for providing better tools for parents. They've created a powerful pocket size computer with access to the almost limitless resources in the internet and built-in gaming and social media to hook the users. It's much different then when prior generations had access to other physical devices/phones, because they were very simple and easy to control access/content. The current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration and monitoring without excess cost or time requirements, to allow for meaningful usage and access, yet restrict the content or consumption of the device. Additionally, to Apple's own assertion, these are highly personal devices that tend to make children have a sense of entitlement to the device. The argument of "just take it away" does more damage to the relationship and the sense of trust between the child/parent then it does to solve the actual issue, which is limiting access and consumption. I'm not saying Apple should be helping to monitor this, but at least provide the same tools they have currently for the Mac. 

    This is potentially a huge social issue as phone/technology addiction leads to lots of unsocial tendencies and behavioral problems, so for essentially the entire current youth generation to be caught up in this could have huge implications 20-30 years from now. I already see it in the workplace and the inability of lots of young 20 somethings to have face to face conversations without having to pick up their phone as a distraction from actual physical communication. It's sad and scary.
    Please look in the Restriction section of Settings > General of your iPhone or iPad before claiming that “current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration without excessive cost or time requirement”.  In this section, you can shut off many apps, turn off the microphone (so the phone cannot be used for talking), prohibit installation of Apps or in-App purchase, prevent viewing of porn sites or any specific sites, not allow “private viewing” which erases the record of sites viewed, and restrict of many other functions of the iPhone.  You can add a passcode which prevents the child from changing it.  It only takes a few seconds and no cost.  The only thing that is missing, which this article points out is available for the Mac OS, is being able to schedule the restrictions both on the calendar and on the clock.

    You say that it is sad and scary that all these 20-something year old people interact with their smartphones first and can’t interact with other people.  I think that it is more depressing and frightening that parents who complain about Apple’s lack of parental controls on iPhones have not even looked at their own IPhones or iPads, or looked the subject up on Internet, before going public with this complaint about Apple.  They gave the iPhones to their kids without understanding the consequences or knowing how to protect their kids against the device they gave their kids.  An iPhone is very dangerous technology in the hands of a kid.  They can get themselves into trouble, use it to play too much instead of studying, look at material that they are too young to understand, and get influenced by people they should not be exposed to.

    In short, parents are giving young children technology such as an iPhone without restrictions, finding that their kids are getting into trouble, and then blaming Apple for not having parental controls on the device, which have been there for many years.  Apple has been making iOS and MacOS devices for children for decades.  Apple has put much thought and effort in providing extensive teacher and parental control of the iPads and Macs at schools and homes.  The parents have a responsibility to their children, too.  This responsibility includes understanding the technology that you give to your kids and how to protect them. It includes teaching your kids courteous and safe practices such as not texting at meals or while driving. Finally, parents need to restrict or take back the iPhone if the kids are not using the device appropriately or safely.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    macxpress said:
    Perhaps this is something Apple can add in iOS 12. I doubt its gonna be anything added in iOS 11. It might be better if Apple could do some kind of iCloud based thing though so parents can modify settings without having the device in their hands. 

    I love the idea of having these setting Cloud-based! It can be built into Family Sharing.

    I also agree with the sentiment that in the end, this is the responsibility of parents and guardians. A lazy man blames his tools.


    edited January 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    It does seem odd that only Apple is being targeted for parental controls on devices when there must be hundreds of companies that could be targeted for needing such controls. It would seem all gaming devices should have some sort of use-time controls built into them in order for parents to limit children's playing time. Apple has become a loser of a company to always allow itself to be attacked by the news media or some other entity while other companies are totally ignored. There must be billions of Android smartphones that don't have strong parental controls on them. Does a PS3 or PS4 have such parental controls? Of course, like any electric device, the power plug can simply be pulled and the device taken away.


    I guess, for better or worse, people hold Apple to a higher standard than any other company.

    Hell, if everything had parental controls, kids wouldn't be able to open Coke cans!!

    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,979member
    macxpress said:
    Perhaps this is something Apple can add in iOS 12. I doubt its gonna be anything added in iOS 11. It might be better if Apple could do some kind of iCloud based thing though so parents can modify settings without having the device in their hands. 

    I love the idea of having these setting Cloud-based! It can be built into Family Sharing.

    I also agree with the sentiment that in the end, this is the responsibility of parents and guardians. A lazy man blames his tools.


    This is what I was thinking...Apple could make some kind of dumbed down MDM through iCloud and if all of the phones are linked with a family iCloud account or something an Admin can change settings and keep the phone from leaving the iCloud account, thus also eliminating the restrictions. If the phone was wiped, well the phone is associated with the family iCloud account so it just re-enrolls back in and sets the phone back up. 

    This is kinda how it works in education. All iOS devices purchased from Apple (and only Apple) are enrolled into what used to be called DEP (Device Enrollment Program) and now called Apple Classroom, and the DEP is linked to an MDM (Mobile Device Management), in our case Jamf Pro. So when the device phones home to Apple to activate which it will do every single time it has to go through the initial setup process, Apple sees its part of DEP and then DEP links it to the MDM and the MDM controls what is available on the device and what you can and cannot do/see. You can factory restore it all day long via iTunes or DFU mode, etc, etc and it will just keep doing that cycle over and over again. There's no way out of it. 

    So the basic foundation is already there. Apple would just need to figure out a way to dumb it down a little for an untrained customer to use. 

    This will most likely create some issues with people selling phones. If my phone is part of an iCloud MDM and I forget to unenroll it, then sell it, the new user will be stuck with my settings until I release it. This is an issue that Apple would have to think about as it will come up. The same thing happens in education. If I forget to remove it from my DEP, the next user can't really do anything with it. 
    edited January 2018 GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,154member
    macxpress said:
    Perhaps this is something Apple can add in iOS 12. I doubt its gonna be anything added in iOS 11. It might be better if Apple could do some kind of iCloud based thing though so parents can modify settings without having the device in their hands. 

    In the end though...parents should be parents and if the child isn't doing what they're supposed to with it then maybe they don't deserve it. Having a mobile device is a privilege, not a right. 

    Maybe I couldn't talk with my friends over my Nintendo, or my PS1 but it still could be a distraction and keep me from doing my school work, studying for tests, etc. That was easily solved by taking it away. I guess thats too much for parents these days. 
    Increasingly mobile phones are neither a privilege nor a right -- but a necessity...   Simply taking them away may be possible but it carries negative ramifications that limit its use to all but the most authoritarian of parents (which carries its own set of ramifications).
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,154member
    stpat said:
    This is definitely an issue that Apple is responsible for providing better tools for parents. They've created a powerful pocket size computer with access to the almost limitless resources in the internet and built-in gaming and social media to hook the users. It's much different then when prior generations had access to other physical devices/phones, because they were very simple and easy to control access/content. The current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration and monitoring without excess cost or time requirements, to allow for meaningful usage and access, yet restrict the content or consumption of the device. Additionally, to Apple's own assertion, these are highly personal devices that tend to make children have a sense of entitlement to the device. The argument of "just take it away" does more damage to the relationship and the sense of trust between the child/parent then it does to solve the actual issue, which is limiting access and consumption. I'm not saying Apple should be helping to monitor this, but at least provide the same tools they have currently for the Mac. 

    This is potentially a huge social issue as phone/technology addiction leads to lots of unsocial tendencies and behavioral problems, so for essentially the entire current youth generation to be caught up in this could have huge implications 20-30 years from now. I already see it in the workplace and the inability of lots of young 20 somethings to have face to face conversations without having to pick up their phone as a distraction from actual physical communication. It's sad and scary.
    I think the authors of the request stated the reason for "Why Apple?" was singled out pretty well:  
    They said that, while it is true that Apple is not responsible for the negative effects, they have already set the precedent of addressing wrongs that they are not responsible for -- such as, for instance, going green in response to climate change. 

    Further, and I think more importantly, they pointed out that Apple tends to set the standard in multiple areas...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,154member
    wisey said:
    stpat said:
    This is definitely an issue that Apple is responsible for providing better tools for parents. They've created a powerful pocket size computer with access to the almost limitless resources in the internet and built-in gaming and social media to hook the users. It's much different then when prior generations had access to other physical devices/phones, because they were very simple and easy to control access/content. The current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration and monitoring without excess cost or time requirements, to allow for meaningful usage and access, yet restrict the content or consumption of the device. Additionally, to Apple's own assertion, these are highly personal devices that tend to make children have a sense of entitlement to the device. The argument of "just take it away" does more damage to the relationship and the sense of trust between the child/parent then it does to solve the actual issue, which is limiting access and consumption. I'm not saying Apple should be helping to monitor this, but at least provide the same tools they have currently for the Mac. 

    This is potentially a huge social issue as phone/technology addiction leads to lots of unsocial tendencies and behavioral problems, so for essentially the entire current youth generation to be caught up in this could have huge implications 20-30 years from now. I already see it in the workplace and the inability of lots of young 20 somethings to have face to face conversations without having to pick up their phone as a distraction from actual physical communication. It's sad and scary.
    Please look in the Restriction section of Settings > General of your iPhone or iPad before claiming that “current parental control tools do not exist, or provide easy configuration without excessive cost or time requirement”.  In this section, you can shut off many apps, turn off the microphone (so the phone cannot be used for talking), prohibit installation of Apps or in-App purchase, prevent viewing of porn sites or any specific sites, not allow “private viewing” which erases the record of sites viewed, and restrict of many other functions of the iPhone.  You can add a passcode which prevents the child from changing it.  It only takes a few seconds and no cost.  The only thing that is missing, which this article points out is available for the Mac OS, is being able to schedule the restrictions both on the calendar and on the clock.

    You say that it is sad and scary that all these 20-something year old people interact with their smartphones first and can’t interact with other people.  I think that it is more depressing and frightening that parents who complain about Apple’s lack of parental controls on iPhones have not even looked at their own IPhones or iPads, or looked the subject up on Internet, before going public with this complaint about Apple.  They gave the iPhones to their kids without understanding the consequences or knowing how to protect their kids against the device they gave their kids.  An iPhone is very dangerous technology in the hands of a kid.  They can get themselves into trouble, use it to play too much instead of studying, look at material that they are too young to understand, and get influenced by people they should not be exposed to.

    In short, parents are giving young children technology such as an iPhone without restrictions, finding that their kids are getting into trouble, and then blaming Apple for not having parental controls on the device, which have been there for many years.  Apple has been making iOS and MacOS devices for children for decades.  Apple has put much thought and effort in providing extensive teacher and parental control of the iPads and Macs at schools and homes.  The parents have a responsibility to their children, too.  This responsibility includes understanding the technology that you give to your kids and how to protect them. It includes teaching your kids courteous and safe practices such as not texting at meals or while driving. Finally, parents need to restrict or take back the iPhone if the kids are not using the device appropriately or safely.


    Unfortunately, the restrictions you site are crude and mostly black and white where the kid can do either everything or nothing.   Further, they are mostly geared towards restricting sex and violence rather than abuse, obsession or addiction tied to the mobile device...

    This is a new threat to young people that has evolved and expanded since Steve issued the first iPhone a  mere 10 years ago.   Parents need better tools than Apple currently provides in order to adequately monitor and control the devices in the hands of young people.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,154member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    Perhaps this is something Apple can add in iOS 12. I doubt its gonna be anything added in iOS 11. It might be better if Apple could do some kind of iCloud based thing though so parents can modify settings without having the device in their hands. 

    I love the idea of having these setting Cloud-based! It can be built into Family Sharing.

    I also agree with the sentiment that in the end, this is the responsibility of parents and guardians. A lazy man blames his tools.


    This is what I was thinking...Apple could make some kind of dumbed down MDM through iCloud and if all of the phones are linked with a family iCloud account or something an Admin can change settings and keep the phone from leaving the iCloud account, thus also eliminating the restrictions. If the phone was wiped, well the phone is associated with the family iCloud account so it just re-enrolls back in and sets the phone back up. 

    This is kinda how it works in education. All iOS devices purchased from Apple (and only Apple) are enrolled into what used to be called DEP (Device Enrollment Program) and now called Apple Classroom, and the DEP is linked to an MDM (Mobile Device Management), in our case Jamf Pro. So when the device phones home to Apple to activate which it will do every single time it has to go through the initial setup process, Apple sees its part of DEP and then DEP links it to the MDM and the MDM controls what is available on the device and what you can and cannot do/see. You can factory restore it all day long via iTunes or DFU mode, etc, etc and it will just keep doing that cycle over and over again. There's no way out of it. 

    So the basic foundation is already there. Apple would just need to figure out a way to dumb it down a little for an untrained customer to use. 

    This will most likely create some issues with people selling phones. If my phone is part of an iCloud MDM and I forget to unenroll it, then sell it, the new user will be stuck with my settings until I release it. This is an issue that Apple would have to think about as it will come up. The same thing happens in education. If I forget to remove it from my DEP, the next user can't really do anything with it. 
    I like that!
    That would definitely be the best option.  My only concern was feasibility, but you showed that it is very doable.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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