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E-Readers (Family Safety)

Family safety

The convenience of having hundreds of books all contained in a 7 ounce, 6 inch electronic device, or e-Reader coupled with newer multifunction abilities like browsing the internet, watching movies, and downloading applications, have made e-Readers a high demand item for both children and adults.

Uplifting uses

The scriptures, manuals, and hymns can be read from an e-Reader, and many great classic books can be downloaded and read on e-Readers free of charge through websites like Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive.

Types of e-Readers and dangers

Kindle e-Readers

All Kindle e-Readers have built in internet access. The level of potential danger with these devices varies according to different types of Kindle device. A breakdown of these devices and their potential dangers follows.

Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is a full-color, multi-function device and is similar to an Apple iPad, but without as many features. The Kindle Fire has the ability to browse the internet, stream movies, download and play games, etc. Instead of using traditional e-Ink technology, the Kindle Fire utilizes a backlit LCD screen. Some potential dangers include:

Mandatory free advertising on lower priced devices.
While the advertisements may be in good taste today, there is no way to know the future standards of the mandatory advertising on the lower priced Kindles.
No parental controls are available for devices with Kindle Fire Software prior to 6.3.1.
If you buy the first model of the Kindle Fire, we strongly urge you to follow the instructions at Amazon's support page on updating the kindle to update to the latest version of the Kindle Fire Software. Without this update, pornographic content may be accessed, without restriction, from various sources.
The built-in web browser may prevent content filtering.
Silk, the Kindle Fire's web browser does not offer content filtering. By it cloud-based nature, external filtering software and services may not work on the fire either. However, access to the browser can be disabled through the Parental Controls.
Unable to function without 1-Click Settings turned on.
The Kindle Fire only works if the user is logged on to his or her Amazon account and its 1-Click Settings, which means it only takes one click to buy any product sold from Amazon's website. The Kindle Fire is delivered "pre-registered" (unless the gift option is checked when purchasing it), which means the user is automatically logged on as soon as the device is turned on for the first time. The only way to disable this feature is to de-register the device. If the user decides to deregister their Kindle Fire, the downloaded apps on the device will cease to function, and the various functions of the device may not work.[1]
Access to Amazon's free book collection.
The Kindle offers free access to millions of books on the Amazon website. While some titles are clean, there are many, many titles mixed in with the clean ones that are pornographic, and browsing the free collection means that not only are the pornographic titles shown, an image of the cover of the digital book is shown as well. Since users are already logged in, it only takes one click to download any book from the free collection. The Kindle's Parental Controls can be used to disable specific content libraries.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.
Personal document delivery
As with most other Kindle devices, the Fire has the ability to receive documents through a specified email address. Any email address within the device's approved list is able to deliver documents and media, which also leaves open the door for access to adult content

Kindle Touch and e-Ink Devices

The Kindle Touch and Kindle utilize e-Ink technology, which more closely mimics the printed page than a backlit screen. This limits the features of e-Ink devices to a black and white screen, and no downloadable movies. Potential dangers include:

Mandatory free advertising on lower priced devices.
While the advertisements may be in good taste today, there is no way to know the future standards of the mandatory advertising on the lower priced Kindles.
No filtering included on the Web browser
The Experimental Web browser does not include filtering of websites, but filtering may be possible through hardware or proxy-based methods. The browser can be disabled through the password protected Parental Controls panel.
Access to Amazon's free book collection.
The Kindle offers free access to millions of books, as well as active content, on the Amazon website. While some titles are clean, there are many titles mixed in with the clean ones that are pornographic, and browsing the free collection means that not only are the pornographic titles shown, an image of the cover of the digital book is shown as well. Since all titles are free, there is no credit card needed to download the books. Access to the Kindle Store can be disabled through the Parental Controls Panel.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.
Personal document delivery
As with most other Kindle devices, the Fire has the ability to receive documents through a specified email address. Any email address within the device's approved list is able to deliver documents and media, which also leaves open the door for access to adult content

Barnes and Noble Nook e-Readers

All Barnes and Noble Nook e-Readers have built in internet access. The level of potential danger with these devices varies according to different types of Nook device. A breakdown of these devices and their potential dangers follows.

Nook HD

The Nook HD tablet is similar to the older Nook Tablet and Nook Color described below, but with additional features for protecting children. A Nook HD tablet can store multiple user profiles. A parent logged in under a password-protected "parent" profile can edit the "children" profiles (which don't have a password), and filter the content available to them on a per-app and per-book/publication basis.

Nook Tablet and Nook Color

The Nook Tablet is similar to an iPad, but with a few less features. It also comes preloaded with many applications, some of which may pose a danger to children. It does have some parental controls. The Nook Color has less features than the tablet, but is similar. Potential dangers include:

Marketing toward children.
Most people agree that Barnes and Noble is marketing the Nook Tablet and Nook Color to children. Emphasizing children's games and interactive children's books are just a few examples of this. However, Barnes and Noble also has a policy of not categorizing pornographic books as "adults only". Barnes and Noble makes erotic books readily available to anyone with a Tablet or Color device.
No way to restrict library content by user or disable email access.
While the Nook Color and Tablet enable parents to password protect the internet browser, social features, and buying features, there's no way to restrict library content by user or to disable e-mail access.
This is extremely dangerous, as many of the free titles offered by Barnes and Noble are pornographic, and the images of the book covers are pornographic. These books can be easily accessed by any user. Compared to Amazon, Sony, Kobo, and other "free" collections offered by e-Reader manufacturers, Barnes and Noble's is by far the most pornographic, with several soft core pornographic titles available on each page of the "free books" section.
Preloaded Content.
The Nook Color and Tablet come preloaded with apps such as Pandora, which is an online radio. The problem with Pandora is that if the user signs up without checking the feature to not allow explicit music, the stations will automatically play music with explicit lyrics.
Graphic novels and comics availability.
Nook is heavily marketing the ability the Color and Tablet have to view comics and graphic novels in crisp, amazing detail. Not only does Nook feature such things as the Marvel superheroes, but it also offers Japanese Manga, some of which are sexually explicit.
Free magazines.
The Nook offers free issues of magazines to be downloaded, some of which can be considered pornographic.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.
Android features.
The Barnes and Noble e-Readers can be "rooted" to function as an Android device, complete with the same apps and games available to those with Android phones. Many free children's games on the Android feature ads that link to pornographic websites. Some of the ad content is not appropriate for children.[1] With the rooted Nook and the Android Market application, a user has access to many applications that are sexually explicit and/or pornographic.

Nook Simple Touch

The Nook Simple Touch utilizes e-Ink technology, and is therefore limited to black and white output. While it does not offer applications and games or streaming media, it does have internet access. Some potential dangers are:

Hidden Web browser
An undocumented feature of the Nook Simple Touch is how the search bar doubles as a Web address input box which loads Web Pages.[2] There is no content filtering available in this browser. External content filtering software and services may be used to filter content.
No way to restrict library content by user or disable email access.
While the Nook Simple Touch enables parents to password protect the internet browser, social features, and buying features, there's no way to restrict library content by user or to disable e-mail access. This is extremely dangerous, as many of the free titles offered by Barnes and Noble are pornographic, and the images of the book covers are pornographic. These books can be easily accessed by any user. Compared to Amazon, Sony, Kobo, and other "free" collections offered by e-Reader manufacturers, Barnes and Noble's is by far the most pornographic, with several soft core pornographic titles and graphic covers available on each page of the "free books" section.
Free magazines and newspapers available.
The Nook offers among its free titles, magazines and newspapers, some of which may be pornographic.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.

Sony e-Readers

Sony utilizes e-Ink technology, and is limited to black and white output. This limits the functionality of the e-Reader, however, the current Sony product line offers internet access in order to download newspapers and books, but no web browser. Some potential dangers include:

Access to free libraries.
While the Sony does offer access to free book titles, including some comics and graphic novels, there was only one book that had a suggestive cover image in the entire free library. However, that is subject to change at any time, and the Sony offers the ability to borrow from public libraries, which have a multitude of pornographic titles available for checkout.

Kobo e-Readers

All Kobo e-Readers have built in internet access. The level of potential danger with these devices varies according to different types of Kobo device. A breakdown of these devices and their potential dangers follows.

Kobo Vox e-Reader

The Kobo Vox utilizes an LCD backlit screen display, which allows it to operate in full color and offer games, streaming, web browsing, and other features. The Kobo Vox is built on the Android system, and has open access to over 15,000 Android applications. Some potential dangers include:

No way to remove preloaded applications.
The Kobo Vox come preloaded with apps such as Rdio, which is an online radio player, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and a few games. These cannot be removed from the device without advanced technical skills.
No parental controls.
The Kobo has no parental controls on it, and it does include its own browser, so anyone with access to this device can browse the internet, including video, without any restrictions.
Free magazine trials and book previews.
The Kobo offers free issues of magazines to be downloaded, some of which can be considered pornographic, as well as free book previews from its millions of titles available.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.
Free membership to Kobo's Book of the Month Club.
Activating the Kobo device automatically gives the user free membership to the book of the month club, some title may be inappropriate.
Partnerships with European and Hong Kong publishers.
Many overseas publishers and retailers sell titles under a different standard than the U.S. Many titles are pornographic.

Kobo Touch and Kobo WiFi

The Kobo Touch and Kobo WiFi devices utilize e-Ink technology, and are limited to black and white output. Some potential dangers include:

No parental controls.
The Kobo has no parental controls on it, and it does include its own browser, so anyone with access to this device can browse the internet.
Free magazine trials and book previews.
The Kobo offers free issues of magazines to be downloaded, some of which can be considered pornographic, as well as free book previews from its millions of titles available.
Access to other free libraries.
Other free library access, including the ability to borrow books from public libraries, leaves the door open for free access to adult book titles.
Free membership to Kobo's Book of the Month Club.
Activating the Kobo device automatically gives the user free membership to the book of the month club, some title may be inappropriate.
Partnerships with European and Hong Kong publishers.
Many overseas publishers and retailers sell titles under a different standard than the U.S. Many titles are pornographic.

Advice from Church leaders

"Choose wisely when using media because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you.

Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit." [3]

"I plead with you to leave it alone. Stay away from any movie, video, publication, or music—regardless of its rating—where illicit behavior and expressions are part of the action. Have the courage to turn it off in your living room. Throw the tapes and the publications in the garbage can, for that is where we keep garbage. --Elder H. Burke Peterson [4]

Tips and suggestions

  • Educate children on the potential dangers of these devices. Even if they do not own one, chances are that many of their peers may own one of these devices. Explain that it is best to operate these devices with a parent or trusted adult supervising.
  • Understand the capabilities of the device. Do plenty of research and testing before purchasing an e-Reader.
  • Understand how to use parental controls on these devices, not just for children, but for anyone who would be using the e-Reader.
  • If children will be using an e-Reader, consider buying an older model without internet access, like the Sony PRS-300, from eBay or other online markets.
  • Do not browse "free library" collections. Instead, decide on a title to download and then search for the specific title.
  • Opt for the e-Ink devices, as some say that they cause less eye strain during long periods of reading, and they are less likely to be used as entertainment devices.

References

  1. Reuters. "Amazon's Kindle Fire Lets Kids Charge Up A Storm", Yahoo! Finance, 7 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  2. David Carnoy; New Nook Touch has hidden Web browser; CNET June 8, 2011
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For Strength of Youth, rev. 2011
  4. Elder H. Burke Peterson. "Leave It Alone", Ensign, January 1995.

Additional resources

External links

This page was last modified on 30 July 2016, at 02:11.

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