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Apple Plans to Close Longstanding Loophole Allowing Children to Circumvent Parental Controls

Apple has committed to addressing a longstanding flaw in its parental controls system that enables children to bypass restrictions and access adult content online.

The bug, discovered in 2021, allows children to circumvent controls by entering a specific nonsensical phrase into Safari’s address bar. Despite being reported to Apple, the issue remained unresolved until a recent report by The Wall Street Journal drew attention to its persistence. Apple has now pledged to address the issue in the next iOS update.

This loophole effectively disables Apple’s Screen Time parental control feature for Safari, granting children unrestricted access to the web, contrary to parental restrictions.

While it seems the bug was not widely exploited, critics argue that its existence and endurance reflect Apple’s insufficient attention to parental concerns.

Mark Jardine, an iOS developer and parent, commented on the buggy nature of Screen Time, expressing frustration over loopholes that undermine its effectiveness.

Since its launch in 2018, Screen Time has been marketed as a tool for both parental monitoring and personal time management. However, parents have become the primary users, relying on its features to regulate their children’s device usage.

Apple’s crackdown on third-party apps offering similar functionality raised concerns about competition and access to parental control options. Critics argue that Apple’s dominance in this area has led to neglect in improving its own parental control features.

Dan Moren, an Apple blogger, highlighted the frustration experienced by parents with Screen Time, noting that Apple’s removal of third-party parental control apps from the iOS store has limited alternatives for users.

In response, Apple emphasized its commitment to addressing issues with Screen Time, acknowledging ongoing improvements to enhance user experience and ensure effective parental controls in future software updates.

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