APPLE'S SCREEN TIME parental controls have confused priorities. Want to build a bomb? "Well, boys will be boys," Safari chuckles with a ruffle of the hair, before providing a whole search page full of results.
Want to find out more about your rapidly changing anatomy? "PERVERT," Safari screams, clutching at its pearl necklace (ironically another search term it doesn't like), before presenting a note that your deviant-fact hunt has been restricted.
It's remarkably inconsistent too, as research from sex education platform O.school discovered. Want to read articles about how women want to be raped on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website? Go right ahead kiddo. Want to join ISIS? Oh you scamp - let me show you some cool websites.
If, on the other hand, you want Google's advice on whether masturbation is normal, how you should report sex abuse, teen pregnancy, or who you can call as a gay teen considering suicide, then Safari won't help you. It'll tell you when you're older.
There are ways around the filter, and they don't make for happy reading. Reddit is completely unfettered, if you're happy with your kids getting their sex education from r/4chan or r/Mensrights. They can even learn more at r/porn if they want the fine details of what goes where and when.
These inconsistencies appear all the way through. You can't search for "counselling for gay teens," but you can visit websites offering conversion therapy or fire-and-brimstone diatribes about gay people going to Hell. Charming.
Perhaps most confusingly of all, the sex advice that does slip through the net is alarmingly gendered. So you can search for "how to jerk off" if you like, but you can't look up "what is a vibrator."
It's all a bit clumsy, really, and should prove alarming reading to parents. Parental controls are supposed to provide peace of mind to parents, but this inconsistent mess provides nothing of the sort… unless you're a prudish neo-Nazi, happy with your children considering a career in Islamic terror. µ
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
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