"The Internet" is 17+.Add Parental Controls to disable Internet on per app basis

Number:rdar://7072385 Date Originated:18-Jul-2009 10:25 PM
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:iPhone Product Version:3.0
Classification:Enhancement Reproducible:
18-Jul-2009 10:25 PM Gary Simmons:
The Internet as a whole contains explicit content, just like real life. It is impossible for a developer to know with certainty what content will show up in their app if it accesses unrestricted (and indeed even restricted) websites. Any application that allows text communication or voice communication with another person could be a gateway to swear words, pornographic conversations, political insurrection and all the other things that occur in real life, but may not be permitted on the app store.

A developer can only provide a rating that is truly and honestly descriptive of the content provided in the app.  Forcing a developer to rate their app 17+ because it can access the internet is a heavy-handed and wrong measure. (In fact since the app can access the internet it may access things that Apple doesn't permit even with a 17+ rating such as pornography. It may even access illegal matter such as child pornography).

The parental controls feature should be augmented with the ability to disable internet access on a per app or system-wide basis. This should alleviate the concerns of any parent or prudish individual that their child or themselves would access any "bad" content. The developers should provide ratings for their application solely based on the content contained therein. 

Expected Results:
1. A developer should rate their application even if it has internet access based on the content contained there-in
2. Apple should approve the app.

Actual Results:
Apps are being required to be rated 17+ if they access the internet. This was related to us at WWDC as well as other venues. (As a note, even Safari, Mail, etc. access this 17+ explicit content, and again have the ability to access things that are not permitted (pornography) or illegal (child pornography).

App store restrictions have been a problem since the app stores inception. The rating system solved some problems but created further problems.

Why are applications still being rejected based on content? Apple sells movies and music on iTunes that have more explicit content than some applications that are rejected. Additionally I truly feel that all content (other than content which is manifestly illegal) should be available for iPhone users. If Apple is unwilling to sell that content, the distribution system should be expanded to allow applications to be sold in other ways. (Perhaps you could allow independent store fronts "Powered by the App Store", to sell content that Apple doesn't want to be associated with selling directly).


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