How to use BlackBerry Parental Controls for security and peace of mind

SECURITY / 05.15.12 / tywill1

Update July 13th, 2012: BlackBerry® Parental Controls is now available in the BlackBerry App World™ storefront for customers running BlackBerry® 6 or BlackBerry® 7 OS smartphones. To learn more, check out the following post: Now Available on BlackBerry App World: BlackBerry Parental Controls for BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones

Good morning, readers! Today we’ve got a guest post from Thusenth about an important new feature in our latest OS update. Read on for more – Ed.

It’s no secret that BlackBerry® smartphones are known for their security. It’s baked deep into our BlackBerry OS DNA, and many features of the BlackBerry smartphone experience can be customized and managed by BlackBerry® Enterprise Servers and their administrators.

You might not think it obvious, but one segment of customers that can benefit from BlackBerry security are teens – they may even be children – with phones provided by their parents or guardian. You can see the parallels here with the Enterprise market – IT is now mom, and the Enterprise user is now little Jimmy.

If you provide a BlackBerry smartphone to a teen or child, you may want to set limits on what features or services your child has access to. We see there’s an opportunity here for us to leverage our expertise in security and manageability to help parents.

With this in mind, we developed Parental Controls, which is included in the BlackBerry® 7.1 OS that’s being rolled out with our new BlackBerry® Curve™ smartphones (9320 and 9220). Parental Controls is an integrated feature that provides parents and guardians simple options to help them protect their children by restricting access to specific functions, features and applications. A free download of Parental Controls will be made available for BlackBerry® 7.0 OS and BlackBerry® 6 OS next month; and for BlackBerry® Device Software 5.0 shortly after through the BlackBerry App World™ storefront.

A couple examples of the restrictions you can set by going to Options -> Security -> Parental Controls are:

  • Camera – A control to disable use of the camera for both still pictures and video. Upon attempting to launch the Camera application, the user would be provided with the message “Camera has been blocked.”
  • Phone – Limit the phone to receive calls only from phone numbers that exist in the Contacts application. This feature will block incoming phone calls from unknown callers.

For more information on all the available Parental Controls settings, check out the official user guide.

Research In Motion® (RIM®) is active in a variety of international organizations dedicated to making the Internet a safer place for children. For additional tips to support your child on how to use their BlackBerry smartphone safely and responsibly, take a look at this guide from the UK Safer Internet Centre.

In addition to Parental Controls, BlackBerry App World also offers content rating and filtering options for applications based on the CTIA Wireless Association’s “Guidelines for App Content Classification and Ratings”. To take advantage of this, download the latest version of BlackBerry App World.

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