With technology entering children’s life at a younger age, many parents now consider monitoring and even controlling kids’ activity on the Internet. Children are more vulnerable to the dangers of the Web, but new apps have been developed to help parents in this not so easy task – to track their kids on the Net.
It’s always good to know where your child is – at school, at a basketball practice or at the piano class. Here mobile services have proved very successful with their options for GPS tracking of the kid. But it’s a whole different matter when it comes to Web surfing – kids can become victims of terrible crimes while staying comfortably in their bedrooms, safe and sound. Or at least we think so. The truth is that according to a recent statistics, one in three American teenagers owns a smartphone. Moreover, half of them even say smartphone is their only way to get online, which means it’s far more difficult for parents to monitor their activity.
And with the smartphones and tablets in their pockets and backpacks, children are connected wherever they are. But the development of new mobile apps allows parents to monitor and even in some cases to control children’s activity on the Web. Last month, Net Nanny, a monitoring software company released a browser app for Apple’s iOS devices that filters all Web content and blocks profanity. The Android version of Net Nanny can actually control which apps a kid uses depending on the parents’ settings. The company recently introduced its new service, Net Nanny Social, which is an annual subscription to an online tool for watching out for issues such as cyber bullying, identity theft and sexual predators. The service includes Facebook and Twitter among other websites.
Another app developing company, Kytephone, offers an app that allow parents to directly control the apps and websites their kids use and visit, and can monitor and block the people they receive texts and calls from. Kytephone released its new app for teens which is almost the same without the option for blocking calls.
Children aged 2 to 8 can be protected with the free app by Playrific which features a locked browser allowing only content suitable for children such as educational videos, interactive games and books. Available for Android, iPad and on the Net, the app creates the feeling in children that their access on the Internet is limitless. Of course, parents know that it’s not exactly limitless.
One of the most popular apps is the free, Android-compatible SMS Tracker, downloaded more than half a million times. It runs in the background, letting parents to see all ingoing and outgoing call logs, text messages, and even photos.
Mobiflock, on the other hand, provides a complete remote control of your kid’s phone – you can block certain apps, disable the camera or even shut down the phone for a particular period of time. It’s available for Android, Nokia, and Blackberry, but it’s a bit pricey compared to others – $25 per year.