Six Best Parental Control Apps for Android

Parental Control Apps for AndroidWhen you give your child a smartphone, you give them the world –  access to a wide world of information, people and possibilities, anyway. That world can come with a lot of fun and education. But it also comes with a lot of risk. The possibilities are endless, but so are the dangers to your children when they immerse themselves.

At the same time, when you send your child out into the world today you no longer have to worry about not knowing where they are. Technology allows parents to monitor their children’s locations with smartphone apps and GPS technology.

Today, there are many free and premium apps on the market designed to help parents monitor their children’s online behavior and physical locations. How do you choose the right app for your child’s android phone? How do you prevent them from downloading the wrong apps or media? Which apps will let you know where your child is at any given moment of the day? Which apps help you know when your child is being cyberbullied on social media? In this blog post we’ll break down six of the more popular parental control apps for Android so you can choose the one that is right for your family.

Related: Cyber Safety Tips for Kids – Preventing Cyberbullying and Inappropriate “Friends”

Top Six Apps for Android Parental Control

MamaBear App: MamaBear is your all-in-one family safety app providing parents information to worry less and encourage larger boundaries for kids to explore more. This app is especially good for kids that are first time smartphone users and new to social media. The app allows kids to keep parents updated with simple check in buttons with added emoticons, “Come Get Me” or “Emergency” notifications. MamaBear allows parents to know their child’s current and recent locations, setup arrival and departure alerts for places like school, home and practice or know when they exceed a preset driving speed. Our favorite feature is a time saver from trolling our kid’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Parents can set up alerts to monitor only the important stuff like new friends/follows, words on your programmed restricted words list, uploaded photos and tags.

The Kids Place: Kids Place is an app launcher with parental controls and child lock especially nice for shared devices. It protects your personal data and restricts kids to apps you have approved for them. Kids Place also prevents children from downloading new apps, making phone calls, texting or performing other actions that can cost you money. It includes convenient features for parents such as auto app restart and is useful for small kids who accidentally exit launched apps.

Kid Mode: Kid Mode puts all your child’s favorite Android apps in one place also good for shared devices. With the app’s child lock feature, kids stay safely in Kid Mode – the app prevents accidental in-app purchases, deleted texts, or confusing ad clicks. Kid Mode comes with fun games and videos customized for every child’s age, an art studio where kids can paint, color and draw, illustrated storybooks that family members can read and record, a video mail feature that lets kids exchange short messages with family, weekly activity emails on what your kids have been playing and learning and more.

Norton Family: Norton Family with parental controls helps you protect your child from online threats while you’re on the go. Protect your kids from inappropriate web content, unsafe texting and unsuitable mobile apps. The app allows users to track the websites kids visit or attempt to visit, block access to inappropriate websites, setup custom email alerts to notify you when your kids attempt to do something they shouldn’t. A premium version of the app with additional features is available for a fee.

MMGuardian Parental Control: MMGuardian Parental Control enables parents to lock your child’s phone via a simple text message, set time restrictions to limit use, eg: during school hours, prevent your child texting and driving, block incoming calls and texts, monitor alarming text messages, control which applications can be used and when, then receive a daily report on your child’s phone usage.

Screen Time: Screen Time is a parental control app that allows you to monitor and manage the time spent on your family’s tablets and phones. Screen Time is not as invasive as many of the parental control apps available, so it is well suited to families with older children and teenagers, as well as younger children. The app’s features include daily time limits on selected apps, bedtime curfew on selected apps, lights out curfew on all apps, school time curfew on selected apps and more.

There are many great tools on the Google Play app market that can help parents make the most of smartphones and keep their families safe at the same time. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can make the most educated app choices for your Android devices.

 Image Credit: Techradar 

Helping You Get Started with MamaBear 2.0

MamaBear 2.0You spoke and we listened. A new-and-improved version of the MamaBear Family Safety App inspired by suggestions from our users is now available.

MamaBear 2.0 features a number of enhancements that will be of interest to both children and parents:

  • Parents will love the larger map view with one-tap access to all information and more details on a child’s activities, such as their current and recent locations and any recent alerts received.
  • School and safe place alerts are now combined into a simpler feature with notifications letting parents know when their child has arrived or left places. The arrival alert to safe places provides additional comfort to parents.
  • The new view when a child’s logged in makes MamaBear more entertaining for kids and supports the app as a family communication tool. Enhancement to the check-in feature uses fun emoticons to share how they’re feeling.  And it’s customizable allowing children to choose their own wallpaper for the app background.

How to Get the Update

Visit the Apple App Store on your iOS devices and the Google Play Store on your Android devices to install or update the MamaBear App. Remember to update the app on your children’s phones for optimal use of the new features and be sure your children are appropriately logged in.

If it’s your first time installing MamaBear:

1. Download the app on the primary parent’s phone and create an account to add your family members.  Add the phone number and/or e-mail address you want to monitor as the child.

2. Install  the MamaBear App on the child’s phone. Log In with your child’s phone number and your password. The child’s view of the app is different than yours.

3. Be sure MamaBear App stays put. If your child closes MamaBear out of memory or deletes the app on their phone, you won’t receive location points. Check settings on your child’s phone to make sure location services is turned on and background refresh is on. Updated locations are controlled from MamaBear being active on your child’s phone.

Here’s a video to help set up parental restrictions on iPhone to prevent deleting apps.

Related: New Phones – Happy Kids – Anxious Parents

Helpful Tips

  •  Added guardians will have the same parental view as the main account holder. The main account holder and guardians will only be able to view children’s location and alerts, not each others.
  • You can monitor Facebook and Instagram activity without your child logging in to the app. You’ll simply need their login and password for each social site. Build a restricted words list to be alerted to inappropriate language, indications of hate or bullying.
  • Set Up location, driving and social media alerts. On the parent’s MamaBear version, tap “Settings” and select your child. You will see the easy-to-follow options for setting up alerts for location, social media and driving. When entering an address – keep it simple. In many cases, you don’t need to enter the full address.  We use Google to look up what we think you mean.  Sometimes just a place name works for the address to pop-up an accurate “did you mean” box.

Related: When Parents Monitor Kids’ Instagram

Tell Us More

We couldn’t have developed MamaBear 2.0 without the invaluable feedback of our friends and fans. But our work isn’t done – the team at MamaBear will continue to invite the suggestions of our users so that we can continually work to fill as many family safety needs as we can. The MamaBear Family Safety App provides parents with  ways to communicate with and protect their children in the age of digital parenting.

 Your feedback is important to us. Stay in touch and let us know what you think of MamaBear 2.0.  Email info@localhost with your questions, comments and ideas.

 

Google Latitude Alternative for Android and iPhones

Google Latitude alternative Android Iphone

If you have ever shared your location on a mobile device, you may have used Google Latitude. Google Latitude allows users to find friends and family on a map as well as share where they are with friends and family. The user controls who gets to see their location and at what level of detail.

Google recently announced that they are retiring the Latitude service as of Aug. 9. According to Google, “Products being retired include Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android, Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, the public badge, the iGoogle Gadget, and the Latitude website at maps.google.com/latitude.”

If you used Google Latitude with your iPhone or Android device, the retirement means you’ll no longer be able to share your location using Latitude. Also, Latitude is no longer a feature on the latest version of Google Maps for mobile on Android and will be removed from iPhone on the App Store. That and your list of Latitude friends will be deleted.

You can read more about the change and what it means here.

Using the MamaBear App as a Google Latitude Alternative

With Google Latitude’s retirement, other location tracking apps will attempt to fill the void. While there are many choices for Latitude alternatives, for families there is no better replacement option than MamaBear. The MamaBear Family Safety App offers the best Google latitude alternative for Androids and iPhones.

Adding MamaBear to your iPhone or Android device provides you a way track your children’s locations, making sure you are aware of where they are and where they’ve been. The app also allows you to schedule alerts for location activity and it gives your kids a one-click opportunity to check-in, or send you an emergency notification. This gives your children a sense of freedom while also easing your own worries and enabling you to keep the whole family safe and secure. In addition, you can selectively share your current location with your children.

For concerned parents wanting to protect their growing children and give them the freedom they need to roam and explore, MamaBear goes a step further than Google Latitude.

MamaBear doesn’t just tell you where your kids are on a map. The app alerts you if they leave school or a scheduled activity early or they visit a restricted place you set. MamaBear monitors your kids’ social media behavior with notifications about new friends or followers, photo uploads, tagged photos or posts and restricted words you deem as signs of bullying or inappropriate on Facebook and Instagram. MamaBear can even let you know if they are in a speeding vehicle.

Without Google Latitude, parents still have options for sharing their location and tracking their children. MamaBear is one GPS tracking system for mobile devices that offers the same features at Latitude, along with so much more.

MamaBear is available for download on Android devices here and Apple devices here.

When Parents Monitor Kids’ Instagram: Too Far, or a Modern Necessity?

monitor kids instagram

We talk about Instagram quite a bit. The photo and now video sharing app is extremely popular and regularly controversial among parental discussions. Even though it’s known as a photo sharing app, the social media platform exemplifies the debate on children’s privacy and need for monitoring services. It’s a safe bet that the new introduction of Instagram Video service will keep the app in the forefront of the family monitoring debate for a while. You may question if monitoring your child’s social media is going too far or a modern necessity? Here’s some information to consider.

Instagram Stats

Instagram averages 100 million active monthly users or more and is the top photo sharing option for teens in the United States. Access to iPod touches, as well as iPhones and iPads and Android devices, have made it accessible to a huge range of teen and young adult users. Current estimates place Instagram at 1000 comments and 8500 likes per second, making the photo sharing app one of the busiest social media networks in the world. Source: http://www.digiday.com/brands/15-stats-brands-should-know-about-instagram/

The flexibility of use and exposure among its users also makes it extremely popular with celebrities increasing it’s likability among our children. The list of celebs who regularly use the app ranges from names like Miley Cyrus to Michelle Obama. In the last year, stars like Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Justin Beiber have received millions of comments, and hours of real media attention, by posting backstage photos of major events like the concerts and award ceremonies and even personal photos on Instagram.

Kids on Instagram

While Facebook remains popular with adults of all ages, the younger generation of social media users clearly prefers Instagram. Unfortunately through all the fun and connectivity most social media provides, it can also pose a significant risk to unattended kids and teenagers. The most prevalent and often discussed risks are bullying, inappropriate contact with adult content and inappropriate contact with adult users.

The current trend of Instagram beauty pageants encourages teenage girls to post pictures online so the entire Instagram community can rate them. Classmates and thousands of users, including unknown adults, rate these pictures and comment on if the posters are “pretty” or not. It’s a clear example of internet bullying and inappropriate contact with strangers that have no business interacting with a child online.

Even more frightening for many parents is the threat of interaction with strangers that Instagram can present or exposure to photos their kids just aren’t ready to see. Geo-tagging and other photo sharing options lead to some scary realities when it comes to child predators. Our kids may not quite understand how much information they’re actually revealing about themselves with a public Instragram profile and they may not stop to consider that sharing certain things like locations or name of their school with 100 million users isn’t a great idea.

As a modern necessity, MamaBear gives parents the option to monitor their kids’ Instagram and Facebook accounts for worrisome activity giving them an opportunity to discuss and protect their child’s reputation and well being. It saves parents time from scrolling through the fun and innocent photos and presents needed information to parents help keep our kids safe. Using the restricted words feature can inform parents of indications of bullying, hate or inappropriate language. And the follows notification can help parents monitor who their children follow. As always, be sure your children’s account is set to private and keep the conversation going about social media safety. Together we can keep social media the intended fun environment we all enjoy.

Try MamaBear free for Apple devices here and Android devices here.