How to block porn on a Kindle

UPDATE 30/11/2012

Hi, this blog post was originally written before the Amazon Kindle even had apps or the Kindle Fire existed. As such, a lot of the information is out of date. This blog post is almost two years old at the time of this update.

ORIGINAL POST

There are no parental controls on Kindles, yet.

One of the search terms that tends to get people near my blog is “how do i block porn on kindle” or something like that. Due to the fact that the Kindles that currently exist have no parental control settings whatsoever, this is not something that is easily answered. And what I’m talking about here is more how to stop kids looking at and/or buying “obscene” items on the Kindle store.

A quick trawl through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk’s forums will find some suggestions, such as the ones found here. Your choices are to deregister the Kindle once you’ve got some books on it that your kid wants to read, or to delete all 1-Click payment details for the account associated with that particular Kindle once you’ve bought some books for it. Obviously in order to buy more books you’d have to register the Kindle with the same account as before or re-associate 1-Click payment details.

Basically, there’s no easy option. I have to say that Amazon could really do with installing some parental controls on the damn thing -_-

UPDATE: Having thought things over a little more, it would probably be best to deregister the Kindle, as that would stop anyone from e-mailing PDF versions of inappropriate material to the Kindle. However, it is still possible to basically copy over compatible files from a computer to a Kindle using a USB connection, so my final advice is: do your job as a parent and keep an eye on what your children (under 16) are reading.

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13 thoughts on “How to block porn on a Kindle

  1. I want to do my job as a parent in a proactive not reactive manner.
    The free market can tell kindle that it is not a device for children yet

  2. We have chosen to link our daughter’s kindle to a separate Amazon account with no payment details associated with it. We then buy gift ebooks from our Amazon account and send them to her account. we also keep her kindle disconnected from our wifi (it’s wifi only) and connect it only when we’ve sent her a book. This prevents downloading book previews, which require no one clock payment info.

    • Your solution makes lots of sense Todd. How does this work when the child (in my case a teen) is at a place with free wifi such as McDonald’s or Starbucks? Will the kindle pick up their free wifi? Do your kids use their Kindle only at home? We are considering buying our son a Kindle Touch (Kindle Fire makes us worry even more in terms of parental controls), but have not yet figured out this part. He is a good kid but you never know and I would much rather be cautious.

      • Gabriela,

        You cannot prevent your child from viewing adult content these days. Do not be naive and believe you can. You can view adult content on a PS3, or XBox, or on a friends DVR, phone, computer etc etc.. Several online games are littered with profanity. 13 is Young Adult. Treat them as so. Let him/her have the kindle. Let them screw up and make a mistake, do your job as a parent and keep an eye on your child and their activity. You are a mentor and enforcer.

        If this is too much work and responsibility for you, then do not get your child a kindle. Get them a coloring book.

      • Gabriela … that is a perfectly idiotic response. Being a good parent means you do limit what your children have access to. Your comment basically says parents should step out of their child’s life at a avery young age and just let them recklessly run into all manner of wickedness with no guidance whatsover. Stupid. I hope your kids survive.

  3. I have a gifted daughter who is 9 and is reading at a 12th grade reading level. She easily reads 200 pages with amazing comprehension on an average day. This includes fiction and nonfiction. The librarians know her well and help us keep an eye on her so that she does not pick books that have R or X-rated passages. Now we are looking at a Kindle because we can’t store all the books we buy nor can we carry so many books everywhere. We literally check out a 100+ books from the library each month. But just because a child is gifted does not mean she is emotionally or psychologically ready for some explicit books that may be rated high on a best seller list. So we are on the fence with buying the Kindle. I write this not as a doting parent, but as a parent who is responsible and fed up with postings on forums that chastise parents seeking parental controls on media devices. But what I have read so far, I am best sticking with libraries and librarians.

    • Ben Opper – I’m with you 1000%. If I weren’t trying to do my job as a parent, I wouldn’t be searching for ways to block my child from inappropriate materials.

      Children aren’t allowed into pornographic shops, but Kindles and other devices allow them unfettered access to the exact same materials via the internet. When a child reads as much as my son does, it only makes sense to give him the opportunity to read and expand his mind as much as possible.

      If I weren’t a concerned parent, I wouldn’t be looking for ways to protect my child while I’m educating him on what’s appropriate and what isn’t. That’s just plain good common sense. Allowing him to make mistakes is a good thing. Allowing a young child unfettered access to the WWW? Not so much.

  4. I have contacted Amazon and complained about this. Why can’t they create an “adult only” area to sell this crap. I don’t like viewing it all of the time when I want to find a book and I would never buy a Kindle for my kids knowing what is offered. So much of it is free if you have a Kindle Fire, it’s crazy. Maybe if Amazon gets enogh complaints they will change things.

  5. It is easy for Amazon to install parental controls in kindle. Whenever a download is requested, an authorization should go out to the parents account and the parent should authorize. It should be that simple. No rating required etc.

    I would have bought kindle for my kids if such a control was available….

  6. Forgive me for being tech- illiterate, but if you have parental controls on your computer and you have to connect your kindle to the computer to download from amazon, will that work at limiting what the person has access to or not at all???

    • You don’t have to connect a Kindle to a computer to download books, in fact that isn’t possible unless you’re copying over your own documents to it. It’s done via 3G or Wi-Fi connection.

  7. one thing you can do to help a lot is go to opendns and download their free parental controls. It is based inside your router settings so it will block most porn from ALL devices that use internet in your home. A very determined child will still find a way to get access to some porn though. But its a start. Also, you can enable parental controls on the kindle to prevent them from downloading 3rd party browser apps such as Dolphin browser which makes it easier for them to get access to some porn. opendns parental controls here: http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/

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