New Apple patent curbs sexting, teaches Spanish instead
Parental controls are nothing new in the electronic age, but they've never applied to texting before. Steve Jobs latest endeavor looks to do just that, much to the chagrin of some and great relief to the parents of said same some.
Posted October 14, 2010
By JIM SQUIRES, EVERGEEK MEDIA
It natural for most parents to worry about objectionable content to which their children are exposed - and worse yet, for which their children may be actually responsible.
Indeed, with the advent of sexting - the use of mobile phone text messages to send sexually explicit communications - young people are getting themselves into all kinds of naughty in this hip new digital age.
Enter Apple, purveyor of the ever popular iPhone, which has just received patent approval on a technology that may be able to help parents curb their kids inappropriate behavior if not unintended exposure to it.
Originally filed in 2008, the US Patent and Trademark Office has just approved a patent filed by Apple that can prevent the sending and receiving of objectionable text messages.
The patent, titled "Text-based communication control for personal communication device," allows for content restrictions and filtering based on defined criteria. In some instances, this means objectionable words will simply be blocked. In others, the foul language could be removed from the message while the rest of the content is delivered intact.
This is nothing new to internet chat rooms and forums, but it's new and some say long overdue for mobiles device with one-to-one or one-to-many text-based yammering.
Parameters for defining objectionable content could range from choosing a list of unacceptable words to selecting pre-defined criteria en masse based on a child's age or grade level.
In a surprising twist, the patent filing claims that parents could turn texting into an educational process. In the example provided by Apple, it's suggested that if a child were learning Spanish, the filters could be set so that the user is required to include a certain number of Spanish words in their communication each day. Te has puesto nada de ropa interior?
While the patent may very well limit one- or two-way sexting text, it has no impact on images sent in messages, which still falls under the banner of sexting, and there's no indication that Apple intends to apply for a patent on inappropriate body part imaging.
iPhone 4 Photo Courtesy of Apple (and not intended to indicate sexting)