Apple has been awarded a patent for technology that would allow user control to be extended over the content in SMS messages. The obvious use of this would be to curb illicit material in text messages. From the US Patent Office:
In one embodiment, the control application includes a parental control application. The parental control application evaluates whether or not the communication contains approved text based on, for example, objective ratings criteria or a user’s age or grade level, and, if unauthorized, prevents such text from being included in the text-based communication. If the control contains unauthorized text, the control application may alert the user, the administrator or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. The control application may require the user to replace the unauthorized text or may automatically delete the text or the entire communication.
In short, this mechanism could help end sexting.
There are other uses outlined in United States Patent 7814163, including time controls, language controls and more.
Apple wanting to patent this type of system isn’t supring. Since the announcement of the App Store, Apple has taken a strong stance against adult material, and their parental controls both on the Mac and on mobile devices are far above and beyond what any other manufacturer has provided. Apple wants their products to be as family-friendly as possible, and this is just another step in that direction.