Android Parental Control – What are your options?

android parental control app

The invention of smartphones and social media combined with younger children now having cell phones has led to new needs and new possibilities in parenting.  With the added responsibility and dangers associated with smartphone ownership, it’s no surprise that parents quickly turn to child monitoring and parental control apps. There are several parental control apps and options for Android; we’ll take a look at a few. It’s also good to remember, when it comes to parental control apps, to consider very specifically what the app needs to do for your family.

We need parental control apps for a variety of reasons. Our own peace of mind as parents is as good of a reason as any when it comes to wondering about a child’s whereabouts and well-being. Children exploring boundaries can also require more intense scrutiny than we’re able to gather simply by observing in the home as parents. Some parental controls are necessary to keep children from texting too much; some are simply good for curbing problem behaviors.

Which Android Parental Control Apps Should You Use?

The Android platform offers a few good options for parental monitoring and control apps. For younger children, apps like Reward Chart can make for an easy transition into parental monitoring, as well as enforcing good behavior. Apps that prevent tampering with the phone like Kids Place are popular with parents, but not always with kids. Apps that monitor location and social media, as well as phone usage are also popular with parents, though require a monthly service fee.

Apps like Kids Place and Kid Mode can be used to prevent all tampering with a phone. Parents can install these types of apps to choose which apps and features the child can access. Apps like Reward Chart, if installed early in a child’s phone progression, can help a child develop good behaviors and make the adjustment to parental monitoring apps easy.

Monitoring apps like Code9, MMGuardian and Phone Control give parents varying monitoring options but come with monthly or up-front fees. Other family locator apps can track children using GPS, but most come with few options. Norton Online Family offers online monitoring but lacks GPS tracking or location alerts. MamaBear offers multiple GPS monitoring options, as well as social Media and driving speed alerts, making it an excellent, well-rounded solution to parental control apps and is free during its beta launch.

General GPS monitoring apps are good, but they don’t provide as much depth with additional alerts and multi-functionality. Apps that prevent tampering are a good idea if a parent wants to be sure that software stays put. When combined with the MamaBear app, these apps give parents a free, comprehensive solution for child monitoring and parental control.

What Android parental control apps have you tried?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Looking for a parental control app for your Android device? We review the top 8 parental control apps on Android devices.
Android Mobile Apps
Date Published: 01/11/2013
4 / 5 stars

New Phones – Happy Kids – Anxious Parents

social media tracking

I’m sure you experienced pure delight on your child’s face when they unwrapped their new phone! Now it’s time to decide what parenting measures you need to protect them while they have a new, very powerful piece of technology. Many parents turn to monitoring apps, also known as parental control apps, as well as measures to keep the child from tampering with the monitoring tools. Follow this quick and easy advice on setting up and choosing the right parenting restrictions and monitoring for a child’s new phone.

Device Restrictions:

On iPhones:

– Go to the “Settings” app on the phone and click “General”
– Scroll down to select “Restrictions”
– After clicking “Enable Restrictions” and entering a private passcode, parents can set up restrictions for usage, content, location and more.
– Switch the button off for “Deleting Apps” to prevent the child from tampering with any apps meant for monitoring, like the MamaBear App.

On Android supported devices:

– Go to the Google Play store and click on “Settings”
– Select content filtering to allow your preferred maturity level
– Lock the settings, by touching ‘Set or Change PIN’ in the Google Play “Settings” area
– Unlike device settings on Apple, you’ll need to turn to the App Store to install apps to provide similar device restrictions
– For instance, the Kid’s Place app sets what apps you want your child to be able to open, limiting device features.

Content:

On an iPhone in the restrictions area described above you can restrict content of music, movies, shows, and apps based on the child’s age.

On Android devices they allow filtering by maturity level. You can see how they define maturity level here: http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1075738
Using the MamaBear App can bring to parent’s attention use of “restricted” words deemed by the parent on Facebook and Instagram.

Usage:

Typically usage restrictions, like limiting text messaging, phone calls and data is best done by contacting the service carrier for the individual device. There are also apps available that can restrict phone usage while driving like the DriveSmart app.

Location:

For many parents a useful feature of their kid’s GPS enabled smartphone is knowing where they are and where they’ve been. The MamaBear App parenting app is invaluable in this regard, offering real time monitoring and location alerts. Parents can access all of the alerts functions through the settings menu. Driving alerts use a simple on or off interface and allows parents to choose a maximum speed. Though you may want some apps to use your child’s location to take advantage of specific features, not all apps need to know your child’s location.

On iPhone go to “Settings” then “General” and then “Privacy.” Tap on location services to see all the apps that are using the location of the phone. If it’s necessary for the app to have location services leave it on. If not, you can turn off location services for particular apps.

On Android, go to “Settings” and click “Apps.” You’ll need to click each app to see if they have location permission.

Using these simple tips will help parents keep their new smartphone users safe and give their kids some freedom with their new best friends. I promise they won’t be leaving home without it.

MamaBear is available on the Google Play store for Android phones and in the Apple App Store for iOS enabled phones and devices.

Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Started With The MamaBear App

Child Tracking

MamaBear installs easily and parents can begin monitoring a child’s location, driving speed and social media activity immediately. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting started with the MamaBear app for iPhone and Android.

1. Download the App on the primary parent’s phone

The MamaBear child monitoring app is available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Just search for MamaBear and click install. The Android or iOS web enabled smartphone or device will do the rest.

2. Sign Up

Once the app is downloaded on the parent’s phone, click on the icon from your home screen to open the app and then click “Sign Up” to create an account and add your family members.
*Note: add the phone number and/or e-mail address you want to monitor as the child. 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.

3. Download the MamaBear App on the child’s phone

Download MamaBear from google play or the iTunes App Store on your child’s phone. Select Log In. DO NOT select sign up. Log In with your child’s phone number and your password. The child will see three safety features on their view of the MamaBear App – Check In, Come Get Me, Emergency buttons for a discreet way of getting in touch with you.

4. Ensure the 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. You will receive a notification if this happens and a check-in request button will appear when you tap your child’s icon if we haven’t received a location point from their phone in a while.

Here’s a video to help set up parental restrictions on iphone to prevent deleting apps:  Click Here To Watch

You can monitor Facebook and Instagram activity without your child logging in to the app. You’ll simply need their log in and password for each social site.

5. Set Up location, driving and social media alerts

On the parent’s phone MamaBear version, click on “Settings” (it’s the button that looks like a gear on the top right). Select your child under the “Family” tab. You will see the easy-to-follow options for setting up alerts for location, social media driving. Location alerts include a school alert, a safe places alert or a restricted places alert. Monitor Facebook and Instagram activity including restricted words alerts. Lastly set the driving sped you’d like to be alerted to if your child drives or rides over. Once opened, each of these alerts menu options has more in depth options for parents to use.

Child Tracker setup

6. Choose alert delivery type

Once the alerts are set up, it is just a matter of choosing your notification preference. In the “Settings” menu simply click “Edit Profile.” Scroll down to “Alert Type” to choose your preferred notification. Email alerts are delivered via email while Push based notification delivers alerts directly to the phone’s notification center. Push notification is the default alert types for MamaBear.

With these easy steps, parents are prepared with information and insight using the MamaBear child monitoring app. If you ever have any questions about using MamaBear, don’t hesitate to email us at info@localhost.

The Smart Phone Gift Giving Guide for Your Kids

android and iphones for kids

The holidays are coming.  For many families, that means new cellphones and smart phones for the kids. When choosing the best cell phones for kids, there are several qualifiers that parents can look to before making a final decision. Price and functionality tend to be the most important considerations. Finding a balance of the first two options and a phone that meets the requirements the parents and child have in mind is usually going to result in the best cell phones for kids.

Affordability is a pretty important factor in choosing the phone for a child. Finding a phone that won’t break the family’s gift budget is important. Finding a budgeted phone that works effectively and has all the features the parents feel the child needs is also important. Typically one or two year old models fall neatly into a low or median price range while still offering full functionality, making them solid choices. Phones from providers who offer a family plan for calls and information are good choices for affordability as well.

Functionality is an issue with many modern phones. Call reliability is extremely important to parents who expect to use the phone to talk to the child regularly. A phone that is going to be used as information or learning tool will need a strong network card to ensure uninterrupted data.  Strong text functionality is typically important to modern kids and parents who use texts to communicate. Reasonably modern phones offer all of this functionality while avoiding the cost of brand new models. This makes slightly older but still modern phones some of the best cell phones for kids.

Many parents find that ensuring the child has a phone with a strong GPS system is the most important factor in functionality in a new phone. This typically means a more modern phone with a functional GPS tracker is ideal. Apps like MamaBear use this modern GPS functionality to track and monitor children, not just lost and stolen phones. Modern GPS is available in many phones, both brand new from lines within a few years old. The Samsung Galaxy SII and the IPhone 4s for example are not new to market but offer full modern GPS functionality.

Another important part of functionality for a child’s phone is parental control. Restricting the ability of the child to surf the web or watch videos is important to many parents. Preventing the child from deleting or modifying controls or parenting related apps is important. In this regard newer models of iPhone do tend of offer better functionality.

The best cellphones for kids fall squarely into a few areas. Affordability, both in terms of purchase and monthly costs, is an important consideration for parents. The phone doing what it is intended for is important for both parents and children. Functionality in certain areas, like GPS and parental restriction, is typically very important to parents. Recently produced, but not brand new, models tend to meet all of these criteria effectively. When loaded with a child monitoring app like MamaBear, they can also help a parent quietly observe more and worry less.