Kids & Technology

5 Ways to Monitor Handheld Devices


Remember the olden days when you could protect your child from inappropriate content on the web by installing filtering software on the family PC? It was such a simpler time…sigh.

If your child owns a mobile phone, iPod, iPad, or other handheld device with web capabilities, you need to consider the perils of constant access to the internet (also consider having them sign a Family Cell Phone Contract). Additionally, you’d probably be wise to do a periodic review of the text messages they send and receive to check for unwanted content or themes. Luckily, software developers have introduced filtering products to offer parental control for mobile devices and keep kids safe. Here are a few options currently available:

1. Net Nanny Mobile. Net Nanny first introduced parental filtering software for PCs, and has now adapted that technology for mobile devices. Net Nanny Mobile filters websites that your child may try to access, blocks inappropriate language, and allows you to remotely view and uninstall apps you may deem inappropriate. This software also allows you to read all incoming and outgoing text messages. Currently, Net Nanny Mobile is available for Android devices including the Kindle Fire, with an iOS version (for use on Apple devices) due out soon.

2. Phone Sheriff. Phone Sheriff allows even tighter parental control by allowing you to restrict usage of mobile phones to a certain schedule. This product—which is compatible with Android phones, iPhones, and Blackberries—logs every action your child makes on the phone and uploads those to a remote viewing panel for parental review. This filter is “silent,” meaning your child won’t even know it’s on their phone unless you choose to tell them.

3. MobiStealth. This comprehensive monitoring software has many of the features of other products, plus it offers the option of recording and listening to phone calls and GPS monitoring. It may seem like overkill, but you could always use the feature you think necessary to ensure your child’s safety and opt out on the others.

4. Covenant Eyes. If web filtering is your primary concern, the software from Covenant Eyes may be a good fit. It gives every web site a rating (like “T” for Teen or “M” for Mature), so you can customize the kinds of sites your child’s browser will open. How the filtering options work varies based upon the operating system your phone uses, so make sure you understand what the filter can or can not do on your particular device.

5. Mobile carrier-provided services. Many of the major cellular phone providers offer at least a few parental control options for each line used by children and teens ranging from usage caps and schedules to web filtering. Some of these services carry an extra fee.

 

Related Resource: Restricting Internet Access for Kids

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