As many of you may know I am a fan of Apple. Not just because of their great products (my iPhone4 popped up with a reminder for me to write this blog today and I am writing it on my 17” MacBook Pro laptop) but because of Steve Jobs (Apple’s CEO) stance against porn. He has made several comments about keeping porn away from kids recently. For example back in April he said, according to TechCrunch.com, “we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.”
I applaud Steve and Apple with their stance. But technology that is created for good can be corrupted by no fault of the creator. A drunk driver can turn a car into a killing machine. That wouldn’t be Ford’s fault. A steak knife, wielded by a thief, can be used to terrorize. That’s not the fault of Chicago Cutlery. A guy (or gal) can turn the Internet into their own private porn theater. That’s not Al Gor…ah the National Science Foundation’s fault. That brings us to Apple’s newly announced updated iTouch (an iPhone without the phone part or an iPod on steroids).
What has me concerned about the newest version of Apple’s iTouch? It has Apple’s FaceTime technology. What’s FaceTime? FaceTime’s is Apple’s video calling feature. If your kids get the new iTouch they can make video calls with their friends who have an iTouch or an iPhone4 (we’ve finally caught up to Dick Tracy). This is very cool technology but just like drunk drivers can turn cars into something dangerous kids can turn FaceTime into something dangerous. Sexting (sending nude pictures via text messaging or the Internet) has been a major problem across the country. The benefit of sexting (I know that sounds strange) is that parents, law enforcement and so forth could discover it because the nude pictures or videos that are sent between kids have to be stored on their phones. With FaceTime the video call is not saved anywhere. So kids can make nude video calls with FaceTime and there is no record of it.
That is a scary prospect. And with the iTouch being a handheld device those nude video calls could happen just about anywhere. Don’t think kids would do something like that? The continued rise of sexting among teens says otherwise. Kids using FaceTime for nude video calls will happen. So what can parents do about it? Be aware of the potential danger of an iTouch with FaceTime (I think we have that covered). If your kids have one, talk to them about the dangers of nude video calls and the legal ramifications (see my blog titled “The Sexting Craze” for more details). Also, Apple gives you the ability to turn off FaceTime. I’m not saying this is necessary but it is an option. Here’s how to turn off Facetime. Go to the “Settings” icon on the iTouch (this also works on the iPhone4). Once open go down to “Restrictions” and touch it. At this point you may have to turn “Restrictions” on and set a password. Then go down to “FaceTime” and turn it off.
The FaceTime technology is great but just like so many others things it can be corrupted. The porn industry has already jumped on the FaceTime technology by setting up two-way video sex chat services. The first service that launched last month had 1,000 FaceTime callers in 5 days (at 4 bucks a minute).