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Porn on an Apple Watch?! How Clever Kids Find It and How You Can Block It

Now that Apple Watches are capable of having their own cell service, many parents see them as the perfect solution for communicating with their child on the go without all the dangers of a smartphone. But kids are accessing pornography right on their wrist! And since most parents don’t know that porn can be accessed this way, they aren’t checking for (or blocking) porn on an Apple Watch.

Porn on an Apple Watch? Really?

Yes, this is really happening. 

The Apple Watch doesn’t have a separate icon for a browser app. This might lead you to think that your kids won’t be able to access the internet through the watch. Unfortunately, it’s easier to get online with an Apple Watch than you might think.

3 ways kids can access porn on an Apple Watch

  1. Siri. A simple voice search will take kids straight to any webpage.
  2. Email/Messages. Kids will send themselves an email or a text with a link to websites they want to access on their Apple Watch.
  3. Third-party browser apps. Although Apple Watches don’t come with a web browser installed, there are apps available in the App Store for third-party browsers.

We’ve had parents reach out to us to say their teens took advantage of these features to access pornography without a phone or laptop. A child can easily ask Siri “What is sex?” or more explicit questions and be led straight to the dirtiest corners of the internet. The page might show up in “reader mode” which shows only text, but a simple tap on the address bar will change it to a full-featured view. The screen may be small, but the images and videos will display. There are actually people out there making porn specifically formatted for the Apple Watch.

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How to block porn on an Apple Watch

In order to prevent your child from accessing inappropriate content on an Apple Watch, you’ll need to install the watch through Apple’s Family Sharing. This allows you to use Apple’s parental controls app, Screen Time, to apply limits to the watch, including filtering explicit content.

However, it’s not entirely clear whether this filter blocks explicit content through the watch’s browser. The list of what Screen Time can block is extensive, but focuses specifically on iPhones, iPads, and laptops. At the time of publication, the answer to this specific question about the watch’s browser doesn’t seem to be online anywhere. 

We called Apple Support, posing as a customer considering an Apple Watch as a phone alternative for their child. Our customer service rep stated that turning on the explicit filter would filter the watch’s browser, but they also seemed unaware of how easy the browser is to access and didn’t understand why it was a problem. Personally, we’d be hesitant to trust that a child with a previous porn problem wouldn’t find a way around the filters.

Apple Watch Alternatives

If this lack of certainty (or the price tag!) makes you hesitant about giving your child an Apple Watch, consider one of the popular kid-oriented phone watches. We compared three popular options to help you decide what works for your family. Or consider a smartphone specifically designed with kids in mind, rather than an adult phone with parental controls tacked on.

No matter what device you decide to give your child, discuss the risks of pornography before handing the device over. (Our books give you a great way to start the conversation!) No filtering or blocking technology will ever be perfect; kids are just too clever! Instead, focus on developing your child’s internal filter—their understanding of why pornography is harmful to their brain—and have a plan of action for when (not if) they are exposed to it.

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Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids

"I really like the no-shame approach the author takes. It's so much more than just "don't watch or look at porn." It gave my children a real understanding about the brain and its natural response to pornography, how it can affect you if you look at it, and how to be prepared when you do come across it (since, let's face it... it's gonna happen at some point)." -Amazon Review by D.O.

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