A Parent's Guide to Apps with Unrestricted Web Access

Unrestricted web access
  1. How Unrestricted Web Access Can Be a Problem on Mobile Apps
    • As a conscientious parent, you know that there are some things online that your kids just don’t need to see. There are adult-themed websites and apps that your kids aren’t ready for, violent and scary content that can give them nightmares, and much more. Of course, there are also quite a few measures that you can take to ensure your children have safe online experiences and that they don’t get access to any inappropriate material.
  2. Steps to Protect Your Children Online
    • The best way to protect your kids when they’re online or using a mobile app is to be there with them. The more you can monitor them when they’re accessing the Internet and mobile apps, the more you’ll know that they’re only seeing appropriate material. You can also spot inappropriate material as soon as you see it and guide your kids away from it.
    • And, when you see this kind of thing, you can immediately talk with your kids about why that content, image, or video wasn’t the kind of thing they should be looking at. This kind of education and communication is invaluable in helping your kids identify inappropriate content so that they can navigate away from it on their own.
    • Unfortunately, though, you can’t always be there when your kids are online. Furthermore, you don’t want to be a helicopter parent, hovering over your kids at all times. So what can you do? Well, in this case, technology is your friend. You have a lot of options for parental filters and controls. You can set up plug-ins for your Internet browsers with filters that will block websites that use too many curse words or have too many instances of sexually explicit or violent language or images.
    • To further protect your kids and keep yourself in the loop with their app usage, you can make sure that your App Store and Google Play accounts are password protected and that your kids don’t have the password to download new apps. This way, when your kids want to download something, they’ll need to come to you. Then you can decide whether it is age appropriate and talk with them about why you will or won’t allow them access to it.
  3. Unrestricted Web Access Circumvents Parental Controls
    • If, however, you let your kids download an app that has unrestricted web access, they’ll be able to view any website featured in the app. Basically, any app with unrestricted web access can open a browser whenever you click a link in the app. Links in the app could be to any website online, and that can open your kids up to a lot of content that you don’t want them to see. That’s why, though it might seem innocuous when you first see it, having unrestricted web access gives unlimited access to everything.
    • That’s also why parents should pay attention to which apps have embedded unrestricted web browsers. If an app has unrestricted web access, your child may not be exposed to inappropriate content directly due to the app itself, but they will be exposed to the content that other users post. If your child is connected with someone who posts graphic sexual or violent content from the Internet on an app with unrestricted web access, then your filters and controls will be all but worthless.
  4. Talk to Your Kids about Inappropriate Content
    • Some apps with unrestricted web access are educational and fun and you may not want to completely ban your child from using them. Whether this is the case or not, you can improve your child’s experience online by talking to them about inappropriate content and why they shouldn’t be looking at it or reading it.
    • The more you talk to your kids about why they are not allowed to see some content, the more receptive they’ll be to your rules. Be open about your family’s values and morals, what’s important to you, and how inappropriate content can be damaging. Start conversations about healthy relationships and how important it is to be a kid and not to grow up to fast.
    • This kind of communication will equip your kids with the tools necessary to turn away from inappropriate content when it pops up in front of them. And you can further limit that kind of content by searching for the apps your kids want to use in the SaferKid database, where you’ll find ratings and reviews that are much more comprehensive than what you’ll find out from iTunes ratings.
    • Beware of apps with unrestricted web access. We recommend that you check your child or teen's phone daily (or at least several times a week) to see what new apps they have. If you don't recognize them, look them up in our directory. We'll tell you about unrestricted web browsers and other things that can help you nip these kinds of issues in the bud.