KidFox: native parental controls for Firefox on Android
Mozilla plans to release the first version of Kidfox, a parental control system for Firefox running on Android tablets, in Firefox 42.
This control system allows parents to customize and lock down specific features of the web browser for children that use the device and Firefox.
The main idea behind the feature is to give parents more control over what their children can or cannot do when using Firefox.
The initial version that will ship with Firefox 42 gives control over Firefox features only which means that they won't allow parents to block certain Internet sites or categories for example.
While that is the case, it is possible to add further protection by installing and configuring add-ons that run in the browser while children are using it.
List of initial parental controls
Parents can enable the following restricting policies for the Kidfox version of the browser:
- Disable the installation of add-ons.
- Disable Private browsing
- Disable Clear Browsing History
- Disable Master Password
- Disable Guest Browsing
- Disable Location Services
- Disable Home Customization
- Disable Developer Tools
- Disable bookmark import
- Disable Display Settings
How KidFox works
KidFox makes use of restricted profiles, an Android feature introduced in version 4.3 of the operating system.
These restricted profiles are created by the device administrator, and they may restrict access to certain device features and apps installed on the device.
This mode supports individual app restrictions as well if supported by the application, and that's what Firefox makes use of in KidFox.
This means however that KidFox becomes only available if parents have created restricted profiles for their children.
Firefox on Android checks if a Restricted Profile is used and starts the browser in KidFox mode instead of regular mode when that is the case.
Mozilla plans to improve KidFox significantly in future updates. One of the first additions the organization plans to add to the parental control mode is a country-specific filter.
It appears that Mozilla plans to work with partners to use blocklists automatically at this stage. It is unclear if overrides will be provided and how this will look like in detail.
KidFox is currently available in Firefox 42 (not yet available on the stable channel) for Android 4.3 running on tablets. The tablet restriction is imposed by Android and not by Mozilla.
The first iteration of KidFox makes the browser simpler to use and locks down some features that kids could use to bypass certain restrictions.
It is missing features such as blocking the uninstallation of add-ons or blocking access to about:config which Mozilla should consider adding in future versions of KidFox. (via Android Zeitgeist / SÃ¶ren Hentzschel)Advertisement