Apple Bans Parental Control Apps. Here’s what you need to know!

Apple has recently banned some of the most popular parental control apps from the App Store. (Update: Apple retracted the anti-MDM policy on June 4, 2019.) The remaining apps in the store have removed the ability to provide effective parental controls. We created CleanRouter because we believed parents should have control over the amount of screen time and content on their children’s devices. We still do.

 

What can you do to protect your family? Our Child App for Android and iOS are distributed via our internal infrastructure and NOT through Apple’s App Store. Our Child App has the following features:

  • Enable or disable specific apps
  • Enable time restrictions
  • Turn the device’s internet off and on
  • CleanBrowser, which replaces Safari, Chrome, etc., to provide safe browsing on your Clean Router network or a 4G connection

 

How do you get started? Our Child App is included in the mobile subscription, so Clean Router users on this plan can contact support to get started! Email us at support@cleanrouter.com,  call 520-445-4673 during our regular service hours of 7am-7pm MST (Arizona time) weekdays, 10am-4pm Saturday, or use the live chat feature on our website, CleanRouter.com! Families with the basic subscription, now is a great time to upgrade! Contact us today using any of the methods above!

 

If you have been following the controversy surrounding this story, you may have read about a technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM. After meeting all of Apple’s requirements, including applying for several licenses, we have implemented the use of MDM in our Child App. It’s the only way to give parents the ability to see what apps are on their kids’ devices and allow or block those apps. For reasons Apple has not disclosed, the use of MDM is permitted on Apple devices, but the distribution of apps using MDM through the App store is now prohibited. Other articles have pointed out how this decision coincides with the release of Apple’s new parental controls feature, Screen Time. We will not comment on Apple’s possible motives.

 

Of course, families should guard their online privacy closely and choose their parental controls software with great care. Clean Router only gathers and uses the necessary data for the Child App to function properly. We also do not share or sell data to third parties. We have followed and will continue to follow the policies put in place by both Apple and Google. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your Clean Router, please contact us using any of the methods listed above.

 

Clean Router remains dedicated to providing families with online peace of mind.

 

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Learn tips to keep your kids safe online

 

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Establishing Safeguards to Prevent Legal Trouble Online: A guest post from Carver, Cantin & Mynarich

As parents, we know excessive screen time and online mischief can impact our kids’ physical and mental health, grades, spirituality, and values. What we often forget or don’t realize, though, is getting into trouble online can have legal consequences for our kids. Today’s guest post from Carver, Cantin & Mynarich offers their legal perspective on why we need to keep our kids safe online.

 

Today’s children are the first digital natives. They were born into a world surrounded by digital devices- the perfect tools for education, communication, and entertainment. Unfortunately, the internet is also a dangerous world with issues ranging from cyber-bullying to inappropriate content. Here are a few ways parents can keep their children safe online and help them avoid legal trouble.   

 

Begin by limiting online time. The longer a child is exposed to digital media, the greater the chance of being exposed to its harmful effects. Several of the harmful effects of lengthy screen time include obesity from a sedentary lifestyle, sleep problems, and behavioral problems like bullying, learning developments, and violence. Additionally, more screen time means more time to find inappropriate content or get into other trouble online.    

 

So, just how much screen time is too much? According to the Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under the age of 18 months should not be exposed to any. Those between 18 to 24-months can be exposed to very limited amounts, while those between 2 to 5-years can handle just one hour of supervised exposure. Beyond the age of 5, an allowance of no more than two hours per day is recommended.

 

Next, parents should monitor online time. Besides exposure time, parents need to determine the quality of the content their children consume. They should help their children choose positive educational content and talk about how to make good choices online. This could entail helping kids discern what is “fake news,” putting in place parental controls to ensure kids aren’t looking at overly-sexualized or other age-inappropriate content, or just talking about things online that might interfere with their emotional, physical, or mental well-being. Moreover, parents should watch programs with their children and discuss what they are watching. This will not only help parents monitor what their kids are doing, it will also help teach their kids the boundaries of what is and isn’t appropriate.

 

Consider installing protective software. Given that adults aren’t available 100% of the time to monitor what kids are watching, protective technology can be really helpful. There are a myriad of technologies that can protect them from potentially harmful content. One such tool is Clean Router. This enables parents to manage and monitor all digital devices in their home. As such, it blocks internet pornography, filters Youtube, enforces time restrictions, and logs all activity.

 

Finally, when it comes to your kids’ online time, be consistent with rules and consequences. One of the negative effects of online exposure to inappropriate content is violence, which includes physical and emotional bullying.

 

Cyberbullying is on the rise, especially among teenagers. It is bullying carried out via digital technologies, such as texts, emails, and social media. Among other things, bullying can cause low self-esteem, drugs and alcohol abuse, poor grades in school, and physical and emotional health issues. Moreover, cyberbullying has serious legal ramifications.   

 

Kids also may not realize the danger of sharing personal information or photos online. This is especially true when it comes to sexting, which involves sharing sexually explicit content via digital devices. Your teenager may think they are just sending a cute picture to their significant other, but in some states, sexting between teens can be legally considered the distribution of child pornography. In fact, several states have specific laws on teen sexting. In Missouri, for example, distribution of a minor’s sexually explicit content can attract a one-year jail sentence and $1,000 fine.

 

With serious risks like this, it is critical that parents establish safeguards to protect their children online. Though the internet is an incredible resource, it also opens the door to emotional, physical, and legal risks, especially for kids and teens.

 

 Carver, Cantin & Mynarich are a team of criminal defense lawyers in Springfield, Missouri. The firm specializes in Internet crimes, along with serious felonies, criminal tax, death penalty prosecutions and a wide-range of other criminal cases. The firm is a 2017 and 2018 U.S. News & Best Lawyers Best Law Firm in America.

 

Thank you, Carver, Cantin & Mynarich!

 

Hey parents, ready for online peace of mind?

 

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Parental Controls for MacBooks

While mobile devices have become much more mainstream over the past five years, some users still prefer the feel and capability a laptop. While the iOS mobile restrictions are easily accessible (get step by step directions here), the Apple laptop parental controls require a little more legwork. Once the setup is done, though, parents have a lot of great options for securing a MacBook even when it leaves your Clean Router safety bubble.

 

Here’s how:

 

*Start by opening System Preferences at the bottom of the page. It’s a grey box with a gear inside.

 

*Find the yellow icon labeled Parental Controls.

 

*A window will pop up. Click “Create a new user account with parental controls” and continue. You may need to enter your admin password.

 

*Choose the desired age range, name the account, and create a password. Click “Create User” when done.

 

*Now set the account’s limits. The first tab is Apps. You can turn off the camera (highly recommended! Click here to read about why webcams and kids don’t mix!) You can also disable any app that comes preloaded onto Macbooks like FaceTime, various games, the App store, and more.

 

*The Web tab gives you three options: restricted web access, “try to limit access to adult websites” (their words), and access to a specific list of websites. For the third option, Apple put together a few educational websites, but you can delete any of the sites on their list and add any sites you want.

 

*The Stores tab restricts access to the iTunes and iBooks stores. You can also block music, books, and videos according to their rating and content.

 

*The Time tab offers limited scheduling options. You can allow a certain number of hours on weekdays and weekends, and give the computer weekday and weekend “bedtimes.” Unlike Clean Router, though, you can’t create a daytime schedule for internet use.

 

*The Privacy tab can keep various apps from accessing the laptop’s data. Keep in mind that the restrictions can’t retroactively keep apps from accessing the data– once an app is allowed access, there is no going back.

 

*The Other tab controls access to dictation, printing options, the CD and DVD burner, explicit language in Dictionary, Dock options, and Simple Finder (a simpler desktop format for younger users). It’s a random collection, but parents may want to restrict some of these options based on their kids’ needs.

 

*And click the padlock icon at the bottom to save the settings!

 

To read more family tech safety tips, follow our blog at CleanRouter.com/blog!

 

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iOS Parental Controls (and how to use them)

Did you know you could turn off Safari on your iPad? Many people are unaware that Apple devices come with a good set of parental controls, so this handy tool goes unused. This post will break down the iOS restrictions for Apple mobile devices and answer some common questions.

 

To begin, open your Apple device’s settings. Select the general category from the menu, then click “Restrictions.” At the top of the page, select “Enable Restrictions.”

 

Allow

All the basic Apple apps are listed in the “Allow” section: FaceTime, Safari, Siri, AirDrop, etc. You can leave these apps accessible (the toggle bar will be green), or toggle any app off (the toggle bar will be white). When an app is off, it will no longer appear in your menu of apps until you toggle it back on or turn off the restrictions altogether. In the “Allow” section, you can also keep kids from installing apps, deleting apps, or making in-app purchases.

 

Allowed Content

In the next section, the various content types (websites, books, music, movies, etc.) are listed, and for each type parents can choose whether or not the device can download content with profanity, explicit sexuality, or violence. The last option in this section is “Password Settings” which allows you to decide if the iPad should request your password before every download or purchase, including free apps and other downloads in the iTunes Store.

 

Privacy

When you download and use most apps, they ask permission to access various kinds of data on your device like your microphone, your camera, your calendar, or your pictures. If you click on the items in the Privacy section, you have the option to prevent future apps from accessing the data on your device.

 

Allow Changes

Only three items are in this category: Accounts, Background App Refresh, and Volume. If you don’t want your kids messing with your Apple account, turn off that option under “Accounts”. The “Background App Refresh” is fairly innocuous– it just allows the apps on your device to automatically update when your device is connected to data or wi-fi. And if someone in your house has a tendency to blast the music, you may want to prevent them from doing so by clicking on “Volume.”

 

Game Center

If your kids use the Apple Game Center, this section is useful. You have the option to allow or disallow multiplayer games or adding friends. Either of these options can keep your kids from playing against strangers online.

 

Questions?

Q: I don’t want my kids searching the web with Siri. How do I prevent that?

A: In the Allowed Content section, click on Siri. Toggle off the second option, “Web Search Content”.

 

Q: I’d like my kids to ask permission before they use FaceTime. How can I restrict FaceTime?

A: Under the Allow section, toggle off FaceTime. This app will not be visible on the main screen until you turn off the restrictions.

 

Q: I have a Clean Router parental controls app on my device that I don’t want my kids to be able to delete. How can I prevent that?

A: In the Allow section, toggle off the Deleting Apps option.

 

Q: I only want my kids to be able to access certain websites. How do I set up the parental controls?

A: Under the Allowed Content section, click Websites. Select Specific Websites Only. A list of kid-friendly websites will appear. You can add to the list or delete any of these websites from your approved list by clicking on editing the individual websites listed.

 

Any other questions? Comment below!

 

No iOS? Protect your kids on any device in your home!

 

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The Best Internet Safety Tool: It’s Not What You Think

The internet may seem scary, but it does not have to be. Surfing the internet can be unsafe, but so can rock climbing, skiing, driving, and many other worthwhile activities. All risky activities can be enjoyable and life-enhancing given the proper instruction and tools.

As a parent, it is your job to provide your children with the proper instruction and tools to use the internet. We highly recommend that all families use the Clean Router, our internet filter that can block pornographic content from your internet network. However, a good internet filter should be only one tool in your internet safety kit.

The best internet safety tool? It is not an internet filter. It is YOU. Research has indicated over and over that the best way to shield your family from the effects of internet pornography, social media, and cyberbullying is to have frequent face to face conversations with your children. Talk about internet etiquette and social media. Talk about pornography and wasting time online. Talk about the importance of spending meaningful time off-line, and set the example.

These conversations may feel awkward at first. But, the more often they happen, the more natural they will be. Before and after you talk, remember to listen. Find out how your kids feel about selfies and nasty comment threads. Because technology comes so naturally to teens and tweens, they will have insight that you do not. As your older kids grow, they can become a valuable resource for helping you teach their siblings about internet safety.

 

Just don’t forget that YOU are the best internet safety tool.

 

To learn more about protecting your family’s internet activity and how to get online peace of mind, click here!

How (and why) to create an unassailable password

Here at Clean Router, we have spared no effort to bring you the most secure and convenient internet filtering possible. Intellifilter technology, customizable settings, universal compatibility– it’s all there.

But, once we ship the Clean Router off to you, the ball’s in your court. Of course our support team will be happy to help with any questions or concerns. But adjusting the filters, reading the daily email reports– only YOU can do that. And there’s one thing YOU, and only YOU, can do to exponentially increase the internet safety at your house: creating and protecting your password.

Now, this isn’t your Wi-Fi password. Feel free to distribute that password as far and wide as you please (unless the neighbors will mooch off your internet). We’re talking about your administrator password to the your Clean Router account. This is the password that allows you to adjust the filter settings and to visit blocked websites. The administrator password is the key to your whole internet security system.

The secret to a solid password-protected account is two-fold. First, you need to create a really strong password. Preferably, your password will be a seemingly random combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. But, of course, if that combination is too random, you will forget your password or feel the need to write it down somewhere. Both forgetting the password and writing it down can compromise the security of your account. So, create a password that is a seemingly random (but not to you) combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. We discourage the use of family member’s names, birth dates, wedding anniversaries– basically anything that is “on the record” somewhere. Some alternatives could be….

  • The day you and your spouse met/became an “item”/got engaged
  • A favorite book/movie/tv show
  • An inside joke
  • A family motto
  • A favorite celebrity
  • An old friend’s name

The possibilities are endless. Just be creative!

Once you have an especially secure password, realize that no password is fool-proof. If you believe there is a likelihood of someone (like a child) trying to hack your account, you should change the administrator password periodically and if you think the settings have been changed.

So, set up Clean Router, adjust your settings, create a fantastic password, and enjoy online peace of mind.

To learn more about how Clean Router can protect your family online, click here!

 

3 tips to prevent a technology dependency

“Glued to their phones.”

That’s how observers describe most teens, kids, and young adults these days. Even for older adults, disconnecting can require effort.

These behavioral patterns can lead to difficulty with face-to-face interaction, dangerous driving habits, obesity, or simply missing out on real life.

In our day, preventing a technology dependency requires parental guidance for kids and teens and mindful effort for everyone. Try these three tips to help you and your family stay in control of your screen time.

 

1) Ask yourself “Why am I plugging in?”

It’s easy to mindlessly pull out your phone and start scrolling. Two hours later, you haven’t moved an inch, and you aren’t even sure where the time went.

When you log on, have a purpose and maybe even a to-do list. Say to yourself, “I am going to ____, ____, and _____, and then I am getting off.

If you find yourself absent-mindedly pulling out your phone or computer, put it away until you really need to do something.

 

2) Schedule tech time

It’s important to remember that life is more than screen time! Have certain hours for your family that are the time for social media, entertainment, and work, and then unplug when time is up.

If you use technology heavily for work or are constantly expected to be available by phone or email, consider scheduling at least a little time each day to put work away and be truly off the clock.

 

3) Implement screen free hobbies

Work, music, research, movies, games– with all there is to do online, it’s easy to forget how many cool activities don’t require a charger cable.

Picking up an unplugged hobby like hiking, crafting, reading (a real book), or running will make you want to log off. Your eyes, posture, and and brain will thank you.

 

How do you keep technology from sucking you in? Comment below!

 

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How to kidproof your iPad in four easy steps

Congratulations on your brand new iPad! The world is yours to conquer through a touch screen.

What’s that? You have kids? Congratulations on them too! Kids and iPads can coexist quite nicely. Just follow these four easy steps to kidproof your new iPad and begin the fun for all.

1) Buy a good case

Kids of any age are hard on electronic gadgets, and even careful use can take its toll on your new iPad. Buy a sturdy case that will withstand bumps and that fits the ways you will use it.

2) Turn on Restrictions

If your kid is going to be using the iPad on a regular basis, consider turning on Apple’s parental controls, Restrictions. To access this tool, go to Settings, General, then Restrictions. You will see the option to allow or disallow apps, changes to settings, various ratings of media content, and sharing of information.

3) Don’t forget to disable In-App Purchases

Apple requires you to keep a credit card on file, so remember to disable In-App Purchases. Very young children may inadvertently charge your account, and older children may succumb to temptation.

4) Write down the password!

Setting up the Restrictions feature on your iPad will require you to choose a password. If you lose or forget this password, you will have to erase your device and set it up as a new device. This will essentially return the iPad to factory settings, and you will lose all your pictures, files, etc.

iPads and kids can mix! Just don’t forget to prepare your iPad for its safety and the safety of your children. Following these four easy steps will help ensure a long life for your iPad and online protection for your kids.

Thanks for stopping by! For more tips and tricks to make the most of your technology and to protect your kids online, visit our website at cleanrouter.com!

parental controls for internet

Feature Friday: How to Put the Internet to Bed

 

Did you know that exposure to screen light in the evenings disrupts your circadian rhythms and makes it harder to go to sleep?

Did you know that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15% of teenagers get enough sleep?

Does your son practice Angry Birds more than the piano these days?

Does your daughter spend more time on Facebook than homework?

Is technology interfering with your family time?

Does the internet just never, ever seem to go to bed at your house?

 

Clean Router provides great internet when you need it… and no internet when it’s time to disconnect! With Clean Router, you can put your internet on a schedule so you and your family can unplug and relax when it’s time.

  1. Go to cleanrouter.com
  2. Click on “My Settings” and enter the administrator password
  3. On the left side of the page (under “Filter Configuration”) select “Time Restrictions”
  4. Click on “Add Restriction”
  5. Select your designated internet bedtime on the calendar
  6. Name the time restriction
  7. Enter the MAC of the devices you want this time restriction to apply to
  8. Hit “Save”

 

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ……………………….

Your internet will thank you…. after it wakes up.

 

 Order your Clean Router today!