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Kids, where there is a will there is a way.

You try to be a good parent and put some guardrails in Internet usage, and they find ways around them.

So this beautiful Monday morning I awoke around 4 am and figured I would hit the restroom and go back to bed. Upon heading to the bathroom, I noticed lights on throughout the house. I know before I went to bed, I turned them off, so I ventured around the house. I come up to the bathroom on the main floor, and I see someone is in it, and I hear what sounds like YouTube gaming videos.

Sure enough, one of my children was up and mentioned he needed to go to the bathroom. Ok, I can accept that, I mean I was up using the bathroom as well. But I was more interested in how he was watching YouTube at 4 am when I have the Internet, and their mobile devices enabled with parental controls to ensure they are getting some time away from their devices.

So after a few minute discussion, I discovered my son should consider a career in forensic or technical investigations. It appears he found a workaround to my parental controls by merely using the Apple iMessage application. I am still trying to figure out if and how I want to resolve this. I am sure if I close this door, he will find another one to open. Here is how he did it in case you were wondering.

  1. Open iMessage on the Apple iPhone or iPad
  2. Scroll through the list of applications that are installed and include an iMessage extension.
  3. Find the YouTube message extension and open the app.
  4. Use the search function and find the video you are interested in watching.
  5. Play the video inside of iMessage as it lets you preview the videos before sending them to someone via the iMessage application.

And there you have it, five straightforward steps to play a YouTube video on your mobile device even if parental controls are enabled. I could disable iMessage with the parental controls, but then he would not be able to receive any messages. Oh, the joys of parenting.