July 17, 2015
If you have kids, you know that “screen time” is a matter you face each day, an issue facilitated by mobile devices. But you are not alone with your problem. According to a recent study signed by Pew Research Center, 92% of teens (aged between 13 and 17) go online daily, and 24% of them go online almost constantly. Since I am a parent, my next question was: How can parents protect kids against cyberbullying? There is no shortage of companies providing mobile monitoring solutions, so I picked up three that I think are the best in terms of features and price: Trackidz, My Mobile Watchdog, and NetNanny.
With Trackidz, parents are able to monitor and control their kids' screen time and see from their own device how much time children spend on their phone or tablet. Besides that, Trackidz sends a notification to parents via Trackidz Dashboard app if it detects a significant change in the weekly usage on the child's device, which could be a sign of cyberbullying. Other useful features are “allowed time” and “block schedule,” by which the parent can define how much screen time Trackidz allows for the child. The app is currently limited to Android devices, and after a 15-day trial it requires a one-time $4.99 payment, which covers all the devices the family members have. Trackidz for Kids [download link], Trackidz Dashboard [download link].
My Mobile Watchdog
Another useful solution is provided by My Mobile Watchdog: It allows parents to monitor text messages, block apps, set what apps can be used, and track location by GPS. It's like a watchdog in the pocket: anytime an unapproved person communicates with the child, the parent is notified and gets a copy of it. Some of the My Mobile Watchdog's solutions work on both iPhone and Android devices , but given Apple's control over iOS, the majority are limited to Android phones. My Mobile Watchdog can be tested for 14 days for free, after that it requires a monthly payment of $9.95 for up to five kids per family. MyMobileWatchdog for Android [download link]
Another solution for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, NetNanny is a powerful Internet filter which parents can customize to their needs. It allows parents to filter website content, block porn, mask profanity, allow or block mobile apps, and also allows time controls. To get the most out of the app, iOS users will need to replace Safari as the default Web browser with NetNanny's. Depending on family demand, NetNanny costs $59.99 per year, for which parents can protect up to five devices (supported platforms: Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.7 and later, Android 2.2-4.4), or $10.39 per year (20% off the regular price of $12.99) for one Android device, or $4.99 per year (50% off the regular price of $9.99) for a single iOS device. NetNanny for Android [download link] and iOS [download link]
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