23 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2012 3:14 PM by 5ivedom

    Parental Controls

      My wife and I have purchased 2 NookColors for our kids - pre-teen and teenager.  I am concerned by the fact that the platform does not have any parental controls - things that I view as a must would be the following (these should all be optional as some parents may want to control different aspects of internet capabilities):

       

      - Allow access to BN.com to purchase NookBooks, but do not allow the transaction to be completed unless the parent goes in to authorize either via the web site or directly on the NookColor.

       

      - Allow access to your application marketplace, but do not allow the transaction to be completed unless the parent goes in to authorize either via the web site of directly on the NookColor.

       

      - Allow the parent to limit access to the internet in the following ways:

       1: Limit total amount of time during any given day that the internet can be accessed.

       2. Limit hours of the day when they can access the internet - example between 6:30 AM and 9:00 PM

       3. Limit the web sites that can be visited.  Allow the parent to key in which web sites the child can visit and then disable the ability for the child to access any other web site.

       

      - Have a parental override login - would bypass any password set by the child and allow the parent access to the NookColor to view what has been downloaded, changed and make changes to the configuration information.

       

      - If you allow email access via the NookColor, have it setup so that it will copy incoming/outgoing messages to a parents account.

       

      Hopefully, others in this forum will have additional ideas that would be useful ...

        • Re: Parental Controls

          Some of the internet issues you suggest can be accomplished by your router, at-least if the NC is accessing the internet that way.

          • Re: Parental Controls
            I guess we all have different parenting styles, but if you want that much control I think purchasing these devices may have been a mistake. My kids both have nook classics and know they must have permission before making a purchase. It has never been an issue. We share an account and I know every book in the library. I monitor internet use just like I do anything else they do. I 'm not meaning to be demeaning in any way but if you want that much control perhaps there is a better device for your family.
              • Re: Parental Controls

                 


                MiniMischief wrote:
                I guess we all have different parenting styles, but if you want that much control I think purchasing these devices may have been a mistake. My kids both have nook classics and know they must have permission before making a purchase. It has never been an issue. We share an account and I know every book in the library. I monitor internet use just like I do anything else they do. I 'm not meaning to be demeaning in any way but if you want that much control perhaps there is a better device for your family.

                 

                Bingo.

                 

                 

                 

                  • Re: Parental Controls

                     

                    How do you monitor your kid's internet access on the Nook Color?   Are you over their shoulder 24/7?  They can easily delete the web history.  

                     

                     

                      • Re: Parental Controls

                        I'm not big on monitoring my kids, but many routers can keep logs of websites visited and email logs to you.

                          • Re: Parental Controls

                            withfeeling wrote:

                            I'm not big on monitoring my kids, but many routers can keep logs of websites visited and email logs to you.


                            Kids need limits and need to know someone is watching those limits.

                             

                            Don't think so....leave a loaded pistol on a table in the family room, tell your kids to never, never touch it.   Now, go to a neighbors for a cup of coffee or take a long afternoon nap while the kids are downstairs "playing." 

                             

                            Not serious about that!!!!!!!!!!

                             

                            ....but the concept is the same.   Kids learn by carrot and stick.   So do adults.   I certainly don't mean you need to beat your kids nor do I mean you need to reward them for NOT doing bad things.    But they do need to know the difference between right and wrong and also need to know that someone cares enough to WATCH them, or at least give the impression they're being watched.

                              • Re: Parental Controls

                                donc13 wrote:

                                 

                                ....but the concept is the same.   Kids learn by carrot and stick.   So do adults.   I certainly don't mean you need to beat your kids nor do I mean you need to reward them for NOT doing bad things.    But they do need to know the difference between right and wrong and also need to know that someone cares enough to WATCH them, or at least give the impression they're being watched.


                                 

                                Exactly what I was saying.  Thank you. I think that falls under the Good Parenting umbrella.

                                 

                                • Re: Parental Controls

                                  This is a problem that extends way beyond the Nook.  The solution that works for our family is openDNS.  Its pretty easy to repoint your home router to OpenDNS so it blocks adult sites from all wifi devices in your house.  Your WII, computer, PSP, Nooks, etc.  

                                   

                                  Even if you aren't technical, its worth taking the time to figure this out, or have a friend set it up for you.  Not only does it block adult site, but it also provides logs you can check on the web to see where your kids are going.  

                                   

                                  Not sure if this will pass BN URL rules, but here's a link to the free OpenDNS service:

                                  http://www.opendns.com/start/

                                   

                                  There are paid plans here too, but I 99% of us would only want / need the free / basic service. 

                                   

                                    • Re: Parental Controls

                                      A big "+1" for OpenDNS.  I've used them for years, although not for that reason.  I use their dynamic IP service.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      • Re: Parental Controls

                                        morgman wrote:

                                        This is a problem that extends way beyond the Nook.  The solution that works for our family is openDNS.  Its pretty easy to repoint your home router to OpenDNS so it blocks adult sites from all wifi devices in your house.  Your WII, computer, PSP, Nooks, etc.  

                                         

                                        Even if you aren't technical, its worth taking the time to figure this out, or have a friend set it up for you.  Not only does it block adult site, but it also provides logs you can check on the web to see where your kids are going.  

                                         

                                        Not sure if this will pass BN URL rules, but here's a link to the free OpenDNS service:

                                        http://www.opendns.com/start/

                                         

                                        There are paid plans here too, but I 99% of us would only want / need the free / basic service. 

                                         


                                        Can you unblock the stuff the parent's might want? :smileywink:  Just kidding.  This is a great product and an excellent tip.  Thanks for adding this to the discussion!

                                         

                            • Re: Parental Controls

                              From the Barnes and Noble Terms and Conditions of Use (emphasis mine):

                               

                              VIII. AGE OF USERS
                              Our products and services are marketed for and directed towards purchase by adults or with the consent of adults. Individuals under the age of 18 ("Minors") are not permitted to use Barnes & Noble websites without the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Furthermore, we do not knowingly collect or solicit personal information from children under the age of 13 or knowingly allow such persons to register for an online account or to post personal information on our websites. Should we learn that someone under the age of 13 has provided any personal information to or on any of the Barnes & Noble websites, we will remove that information as soon as possible.

                               

                              The Nook color assumes that you have read the Terms and that you are an adult. If you are not, a parent is supposed to supervise use. The Nook Color is directed to adults since you need a credit card to purchase books and individuals under 18 are not legally allowed to have credit cards (children are not allowed to enter into most legal financial contracts)

                               

                              By the terms of service, YOU are the parental control... 

                                • Re: Parental Controls

                                   

                                  The argument to have us restict it through our router is short sided. The nook is so user friendly, it shows all the wifi conenctions in the neighborhood, three of which in our case are not secured, and he connects right to them after our router has denied him access ... so how am I supposed to police that?

                                  I 've restricted my router, but the nook shows him other wifi connections, and he hooks right up - innocently -

                                   

                                   

                                  Any 12 year old boy that doesn't have internet restrictions is going to find stuff intentionally or not with a device that his parents cannot control.

                                   

                                  so stop the arguments to have parents restrict the routers - that won't stop kids from accessing the internet from any unsecured wireless in a store or neighborhood.

                                   

                                  As far as the Barnes and Noble site itself, having a policy doesn't stop kids from accessing it. Having a "policy" not to drive drunk doesn'tt keep drunks off the road - give me the keys to the nook, and I'll keep my son from driving his nook where he shoudln't go. It's not going to be a negative for mature adults that buy a nook, it's a tool they'll never want to access - but parents need it!!!  Be glad kids want to read, but give us the tool in this expensive nearly $300 investment , incl tax :smileyhappy: ,to allow them to use it safely!

                                    • Re: Parental Controls
                                      roustabout

                                      Alamo, if you're still within your 14 day return period, my advice is that you return the NC and buy your son an Ipod Touch. It's comparable in price. 

                                       

                                      The folks at Apple have done a lot of work on making browser lockdown possible on the i-everything ecosystem.  A fundamental difference in outlook between Apple and Google - Google wants you to see everything, because they want to sell every advertiser your eyes and fingers.  Apple, by contrast, doesn't want to sell you;  they want to keep you chained up, letting you buy only software they approve through their shop, taking their cut of it. 

                                       

                                      If you google up some info on the parental controls in the appleverse, I think you'll be impressed.

                                       

                                      That said, there's a lot you can do both at your router and on your device.

                                       

                                      - On  your router:  use OpenDNS as your name service provider, instead of your ISP.  Set up a free home account, and turn on the parental controls.  Let your kid freely access the better connection at your house, knowing that stuff will be blocked which should be.  (mostly;  nothing is perfect.)  This will give you a second benefit;  you're much less likely to get a computer virus or worm on any of the machines in your house if you browse via openDNS than via an unfiltered DNS service, as openDNS blocks a lot of malware by default.

                                       

                                      - On your nook color:  assuming that you are now past the point where you could buy the better device for parental control, you can simply remove access to the web browser and the shop.

                                       

                                      The method involves a little work on your side. 

                                       

                                      http://nookworks.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-want-to-lock-down-browsing-and.html

                                       

                                      I want to lock down browsing and shopping

                                       

                                      Now and again, the nookboards have a parent turn up who wants to have control over what's in the library for their kid. Usually, these folks also want to have control over what the kid can do with the internet.

                                      As long as you are ready to dedicate the NC solely to your kid's use, including assigning a unique registration email to the NC, this is possible.

                                      The method is very simple: remove the browser and the shop from the device.

                                      The library still works, and books can be read. If you go to the BN website, log into the account tied to that device, and buy books, the books will sync to the device and be readable.

                                      However, since the shop on the device is disabled, no offending titles will be displayed. Since the browser on the device is disabled, no offending websites will be displayed.

                                      If you want more granular control, the iTouch is a great device that has very fine-grained parental controls available. It costs about as much as the NC (for a smaller screen, granted)

                                      If you like the large screen and the price of the NC, this method has the advantage of being free. As set up, it is also reversible - the first scripts copies the Browser and Shop to /media/my files, then deletes them from /system/app. The second script puts them back.

                                       

                                      How to do the lockdown:

                                      You will need:

                                      - a microSD card

                                      - a copy of the Clockwork Recovery disk image
                                      - Copies of the files:

                                      - NoShopNoBrowse.zip to remove access to the browser and shop.

                                      http://www.mediafire.com/?0okd2499bdh7w9s

                                      - RestoreShopBrowse.zip to put the files back again if you want to restore access

                                      http://www.mediafire.com/?rjx4h4j2q7asp9o

                                      - a disk imaging tool such as diskimag (or use dd for mac/linux)
                                      - a good zip tool - I recommend 7zip.

                                      Leave the No Shop and Restore files zipped.

                                      The Clockwork Recovery disk image is available here

                                      http://legacyschool.us.to/nookdev/clockwork/0.7/

                                      Download the file that matches the size of your SD card.

                                      Step 1: Make a bootable CWR disk.

                                      Completely unpack the CWR file you downloaded. You must use a file whose name ends in .img. as your source for making the disk. The files I am pointing to for downloading end in .tar.gz, and are essentially "double compressed."

                                      gz = gzip. 7Zip, an excellent cross-platform compression utility, can decompress these, leaving you with a file whose extenion is .tar

                                      .tar = unix tape archive. 7Zip, an excellent cross-platform compression utility, can extract files from these.

                                      Once you've unzipped and untarred the file, you should have an .img file (sized appropriately for your SD card. You will need at least a 256 M card (the 128M images don't quite fit on a 128M card, more's the pity,) but I prefer to use larger cards so I can also store backups on them.)

                                      Use an imaging program (diskimag or winimage or dd for mac or linux) to make a bootable SD card by "writing" the .img file to your SD card.

                                      This erases all the data on that card.

                                      The card is analogous to a bootable disk for your PC (remember boot floppies?) The program formats the card and write a very few files to it. Those files tell the Nook Color "you can boot from me. Once booted, run Clockwork Recovery."

                                      After you make the disk, leave it mounted on your computer.

                                      Copy the NoShop and RestoreShop files onto the CWR card. Leave them zipped!

                                      Safely remove the card from your computer. Power down your Nook Color and insert the CWR card. Power on, and you will boot into Clockwork Recovery, which is controlled using the volume and power buttons to go up and down in menus (volume) or back (power.) An action is chosen using the N button on your NC.

                                      Navigate to "install ZIP from SD Card"

                                      Install the zipfile of your choice, NoShopNoBrowse.zip locks access; RestoreShopBrowse undoes the process.

                                      Navigate back to the beginning menu in CWR (where the "reboot now" prompt is a choice.

                                      Remove the CWR disk and choose Reboot.

                                      When the device reboots, apps installed before this process will be onboard, as will books and any sideloaded content. The web browser placeholder will be there, but will not launch. The shop placeholder will be there, but will not launch.

                                      As DeanG pointed out originally, the scripts are so simple that anyone with a ZIP viewer can verify the contents of the relevant files:

                                      The NoShop files that do the work are:

                                       

                                      • META-INF/com/google/android/updater-script
                                      • tools/remove.shop.browser.sh

                                      The RestoreShop files that do the work are:

                                      • META-INF/com/google/android/updater-script
                                      • tools/restore.shop.browser.sh

                                      If you have also rooted the NC you are running these scripts from, you almost certainly have ROM Manager installed.

                                      If you do, you can use ROM manager to boot into Clockwork, and that lets you do this very time-saving thing:
                                      - copy the scripts to whatever SD card you normally have in the device
                                      - reboot into CWR
                                      - install the script of your choice
                                      - reboot

                                      Here there's no need to swap cards.

                                      Obviously, if you have a rooted NC and older kids, this particular may stop working, because eventually the kids will figure out how to boot into ROM manager and run the restore script.

                                      Unless, of course, you rename it and put it in a subdirectory, which will delay them for a few days more.

                                      But by then smarter kids will already have used their allowance to buy an SD card and install CM7 on it, and be watching and reading anything they like without leaving a trace on the device :smileyhappy:

                                    • Re: Parental Controls
                                      beeyebickiebuy

                                      Laurie_Gator wrote:

                                      From the Barnes and Noble Terms and Conditions of Use (emphasis mine):

                                       

                                      VIII. AGE OF USERS
                                      Our products and services are marketed for and directed towards purchase by adults or with the consent of adults. Individuals under the age of 18 ("Minors") are not permitted to use Barnes & Noble websites without the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Furthermore, we do not knowingly collect or solicit personal information from children under the age of 13 or knowingly allow such persons to register for an online account or to post personal information on our websites. Should we learn that someone under the age of 13 has provided any personal information to or on any of the Barnes & Noble websites, we will remove that information as soon as possible.

                                       

                                      The Nook color assumes that you have read the Terms and that you are an adult. If you are not, a parent is supposed to supervise use. The Nook Color is directed to adults since you need a credit card to purchase books and individuals under 18 are not legally allowed to have credit cards (children are not allowed to enter into most legal financial contracts)

                                       

                                      By the terms of service, YOU are the parental control... 


                                      This subject comes up a couple times every month or so.  I suggest that this post by Laurie_Gator be replicated each time a new thread is started about parental controls and leave it at that.

                                      • Re: Parental Controls

                                        From Barnes & Noble's front page on the Nook Color (emphasis mine):

                                        • World's most advanced VividView™ touchscreen
                                        • Books, magazines, & interactive kids' books
                                        • Apps, Music, Email, Web & soon Netflix,Hulu Plus

                                        ----

                                        It's definitely being marketed to children.  I'm getting one for my 7-year old for Christmas.  I'd certainly like to have some workable parental controls - even my iPhone has that, and has had it from the start.

                                         

                                        If I end up having to disable the antenna in the device...well I'm a computer engineer, I'll figure that out if I have to.  But it would be very handy if I could use the same sort of parental controls like what I have on my XBox, where I could mark his account as a child account.  I'd like him to at least be able to browse children's books without having to weave through all the erotica (quite a bit of which is free).

                                         

                                        Of course, the demos at the store emphasized that it'll play Angry Birds and some Dr. Seuss interactive books.  Not marketing to kids at all, right?

                                          • Re: Parental Controls
                                            roustabout

                                            Internet access by the NC can be restricted now (as of release 1.3 of the software.)

                                             

                                            If you would like to disable the shop entirely, take a look earlier in this thread - I posted  clockwork scripts for disabling just the internet, or the internet plus the shop.  You could easily modify the browser+shop one to only affect the shop. 

                                             

                                            Android devices don't support multiple users, and BN, being a bookshop, has a strong cultural flinchiness about censoring books.

                                             

                                            "even my iPhone has that, and has had it from the start."

                                             

                                            Yes, but your iPhone is very expensive, up-front and in monthly charges.  The iPod Touch is a great device and it has very good parental controls built in, because it's a derivative of the iPhone and you get the development done for the phone as a bonus. 

                                        • Re: Parental Controls

                                          In settings there has always been a device lock passcode, then when you want your child to use the device you can unlock it for them; and now with the update you can add another passcode to lock the web browser.  It may not be able to pick and choose websites to block, but at least you can keep your child from unsupervised browsing.

                                          • Re: Parental Controls

                                            I couldn't agree more!  We have parental controls on all our computers (5 in the house) and the iPad; so next thing I know my tween is sneaking onto her Nook to access what she can't elsewhere.  If I had even considered that this would be a problem I would never have allowed her to purchase it.  Time limits and access to ANY web sites are my big issue.

                                              • Re: Parental Controls
                                                whiteoakBR

                                                I try not to respond to these "parental control" issues since I personally think that most of the problem lies in the parent/child relationship.  If your tween is "sneaking" then maybe she hasn't been taught why you don't want her doing certain things in the first place.

                                                 

                                                I raised two children (now 30 and 26), yes mostly before the use of internet.  I homeschooled for a lot of years and then they went to school.  I do understand trying to keep the "nasty" of the world away from children.  But, and it is a large but, they need to know what the nasty is about and why they should avoid it.  If I had blocked everything and restricted all access without teaching them the why they would have explored for themselves.  I am not advocating massive "nasty" details but simple explanations about why certain subjects are not fit for consumption.  And they do have to grow up in the world we have.

                                                 

                                                When we got the internet and when they went to school they were prepared to avoid the "nasty" as much as it is possible in the world, I didn't worry that they would "sneak".  Teaching and trust go a long way in helping children avoid the bad parts of the world.

                                                 

                                                There are a lot of threads with information on how to install some types of controls on the NookColor but if the NC is truly a problem the only way to be absolutely certain is to get rid of it.

                                                  • Parental Controls on HD+

                                                    WhiteOakBR, I'm trying out the Nook HD+ and there are the following options when you set up a Child Profile. You can enable or disable each:

                                                     

                                                    1) Browse Nook Shop

                                                     

                                                    2) Password Protect Purchases in Shop

                                                     

                                                    3) Make Shopping Kid Friendly

                                                     

                                                    4) Access My Files in Library

                                                     

                                                    5) Browse the Web

                                                     

                                                    6) Reads for Kids

                                                     

                                                    7) Apps for Kids

                                                     

                                                    8) Video for Kids

                                                     

                                                    8b) Allow Access to Movies & TV Shows with ratings.

                                                     

                                                    9) Games for Kids

                                                     

                                                    *****

                                                    This is the second step.

                                                     

                                                    First step is choosing 'Child Profile' and then a gender, name, and age for your Child.

                                                     

                                                    Third Step is you get Age-Appropriate recommendations for your child. You have to select one or more 'interests' for your child from things like: Baby Favorites, Stories Every Kid Should Know, Animal Tales, Bedtime Stories, Family & Friends, Picture Books, Silly Fun.

                                                     

                                                    Based on your interest you get free samples.

                                                     

                                                    Fourth Step is that you get the option to add a passcode so that your child can't visit other profiles on the device. I guess I got this because my main profile didn't have a passcode.

                                                     

                                                    *****

                                                    After that the Child Profile was populated with your purchases that qualify as 'children books' and 'children apps'.

                                                     

                                                    *****

                                                    How to Change Profiles.

                                                     

                                                    Swipe Down on the top left where your Name/Profile Name is listed.