Popular app allowed Maui students to access porn on school iPads


Some children on Maui are accessing pornography on school computers.

A parent reached out to KHON2 using the “Report It” feature on our website, and told us it was happening at Lokelani Intermediate School in Kihei.

The parent told us her 12-year-old son and other students had access to inappropriate websites on their school-issued iPads.

“As a parent of a 12-year-old, I’m furious that they gave my son exposure to pornography that I’ve tried so very hard to prevent,” she said.

School officials at Lokelani told students to download the Puffin Web Browser app, which would allow them to watch certain types of videos. But students saw more than they expected, which the school’s principal confirmed with KHON2 over the phone.

“Puffin does not support content-filtering at this moment. If you currently use 3rd party’s content-filtering service, Puffin will bypass the service.” – Puffin Web App FAQ

Principal Donna Whitford said the web browser gave all 600 students access to inappropriate images online. The school just began collecting all of the school’s iPads and will be removing the Puffin app.

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Students stumbled onto an inappropriate website earlier this school year.

“The first time, we found out that there was a site that was very close to our Teen Biz site that we use,” Whitford said.

Whitford said the students at Lokelani are smart and know how to get around the blocks placed on the iPads.

“Can you put an additional filter or block?” KHON2 asked.

“We’re not able to do that at this level, but we are able to ask for assistance at the district level and at the state level,” Whitford said.

We went to the Department of Education to find out how this happened more than once at the same school.

“How do children find a way around these filters and blocks, things that IT officials and school officials have put in place?” KHON2 asked.

“We live in a digital world now. I think anyone who has a personal phone or mobile phone, all of these smart devices, kids today think at a faster pace than when we were growing up,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz of the Hawaii Dept. of Education.

Every student receives a lesson about iPads when they receive it. They learn about responsible use, inappropriate websites and Internet safety.

“How do school officials ensure that this won’t happen again when choosing a different web browser?” KHON2 asked.

“Right now it’s just taking a look at all of the browsers, all of the apps and making sure that we can not only mitigate the situation, but do corrective action moving forward,” Dela Cruz said.

“So will you increase monitoring?” KHON2 asked.

“Yes, we will definitely talk with the parents again to stress the fact why monitoring is so important,” Dela Cruz said.

The DOE does not know of any other school using the Puffin app.


The company that developed the Puffin Browser also has a product specifically made for K-12 students. This browser includes filtering.

Puffin Academy Program for K-12 Education

It is time for students to embrace a secure, safe and Flash enabled mobile Internet. Puffin Academy browser is the only Adobe Flash enabled mobile browser designed specifically for K-12 students; and Puffin Academy can only access web sites designed for K-12 e-learning. Puffin Academy browser is provided free of cost to students.

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