In today’s day and age, protecting children from inappropriate sexual content is a constant battle. Here at NCOSE, we’re committed not only to fighting sexual exploitation, but also supporting families in their defense against it. This article will walk you through the protections iBooks provides and what they don’t protect you from.
Bad News: What’s on iBooks
Apple’s iBooks, while a useful app in many ways, is guilty of promulgating violent and rape-myth-riddled erotic literature that’s available to children on any computer with the app installed. Remember, according to Apple, iBooks is one of the apps that come pre-installed on your iOS 10 devices. This is yet another example of the automatic opt-in system Apple has worked into the iBooks app. (If you own an Apple product that runs macOS, sorry, “‘iBooks’ can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by macOS” according to the dialogue box that appeared when I tried to delete it from my own computer. However, this app can be deleted from products that run iOS 10 and 11. This information is subject to change with updates to Apple software.) In spite of their claim to “understand the importance of taking extra precautions to protect the privacy and safety of children using Apple products and services,” Apple’s “precautions” are limited. (https://www.apple.com/legal/privacy/en-ww/)
Erotica is tucked away in a variety of genres not listed under the main Categories section of iBooks. Apple enumerates the specificity of genres in the source they provide authors as they ready their creation for publication. In iBooks, erotica is only identified under Romance but the third level of specification (shown in the examples below) isn’t listed in the app. So, for example, in Fiction/African American, there is Erotica but the reader doesn’t get the luxury of knowing which books are erotica without placing parental restrictions on the app.
Photo credit: Tim Gouw