BlackBerry parental controls kick in PDF Print E-mail

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's (RIM's) application – intended to protect children from the potential dangers of its Internet-enabled devices – has gone live.

RIM announced this weekend that BlackBerry Parental Controls is available as a free download for BlackBerry 6 OS and BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones. “For those using BlackBerry Software 5, a compatible version of Parental Controls will be available in the near future.”

The app furnishes parents and guardians with options to help them protect their children by restricting access to specific functions, features and applications. Its launch comes just over a month after RIM said the popularity of the device among the youth warranted BlackBerry-specific protection.

Last month, Dave Pryce, vice-president of government relations for EMEA and APAC at RIM, said RIM had “come to realise how important [the protection of children on mobile phones] is”.

Third parties with their own parental control measures, such as Vodacom and MTN, have their hands tied when it comes to BlackBerry handsets, as their USSD solutions were not accessible on these. Pryce says the company blocked its application programming interface for security reasons. “Due to RIM's architecture and the BlackBerry solution that is based on specific coding, third parties cannot disable or block content or set the browser.”

RIM, together with the Safer Internet Centre (UK), has developed a publicly available document outlining the means of support parents can access via the app, in order to help children use their smartphones safely and responsibly.

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