Apple

Best parental control apps for monitoring your kid’s activity on Android devices

The security battle between iOS and Android tightens each time an operating system update comes out. Apple has held the lead for years — and though the gap is expected to close with the 2020 release of Android 11 and its heightened privacy measures, iOS 14’s release will be right on its heels. But one…

The security battle between iOS and Android tightens each time an operating system update comes out. Apple has held the lead for years — and though the gap is expected to close with the 2020 release of Android 11 and its heightened privacy measures, iOS 14’s release will be right on its heels.

But one aspect of cyber safety remains Android’s turf: Cooperating with parental control apps.

These apps, which usually require access to a phone’s location, contacts, browsing history, and call and text history, are occasionally hindered by Apple’s more strict app restrictions (like a 2019 policy change that slashed functionality on a handful of apps). Many parental control apps that don’t play well with iOS (like Qustodio) have no problem running their full suite of features on Android’s flexible OS, giving families who prefer Samsung and Google phones over iPhones, or Fire Tablets and Galaxy Tabs over iPads, a more robust approach device monitoring.

On the same beat, some brands of parental control software that work on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices aren’t able to be downloaded onto Macs (like Norton) — an obvious restriction for pro-Apple families who want to use the same parental control software on a kid’s Phone and MacBook. The content of Google’s RCS text messages are easier to log with an app than with iMessage, but parents can probably see iMessages if they share an Apple ID with their kid.

How are parental control apps different from Google Play controls?

Most smartphones are equipped with some sort of in-house parental controls. Android’s version are in the Google Play settings. These quick, laid back starter controls can act as a trial run for how kids will respond to parent-supervised phone or tablet usage. For kids who just need a few loose boundaries to ensure that their apps and movies are age-appropriate, the Google Play settings that limit content to your specified highest rating (like T for Teen or PG-13) could suffice. 

But Google Play’s options won’t be comprehensive enough for a lot of people. They don’t touch on screen time, real-time web filtering, blocking of specific websites or apps, recurring geofencing, or school, homework, or bedtime schedules. Unless you’re all registered through Google Family Link (a separately-downloaded parental control app from Google — more on that below), parents can’t tailor settings from their own phone or get notifications about suspicious activity. 

Geofencing is great for parents juggling the schedules of multiple children

A parental control app can also help keep tabs on your kid when they’re away from home. Though most have a basic “Where’s my child?” GPS function, only a select few software options offer geofencing. This location-based service lets you set up virtual boundaries around where a child should or shouldn’t be, as well as a specific time that the child should be there. Let’s say that your child goes straight from school to a sports practice three times a week. The geofencing feature will monitor their phone’s location and will alert you if your child doesn’t show up to the scheduled area on time, and some even offer an SOS button for emergency situations. Teenagers may even enjoy not being bombarded with “Where are you?” texts.

Geofencing can also be used to monitor web time when your child is in a designated location. For instance, many parents like to disable games or social media apps during school.

What is the best parental control app for Android?

Most decent apps can set limits on screen time, send an activity report of which apps are used the most, and let parents block or delete sketchy or distracting apps. From there, criteria for an app that works for your family depends on nuances. Older kids may not need hardcore web filtering or strict monitoring of the numbers that text and call them, while younger kids who don’t text or go anywhere by themselves will probably require reliable geofencing and parental approval of apps they try to download.

If you’ve found that the phone or tablet works well as a discipline tactic, an app with an ad-hoc locking or unlocking feature is a must. With a single toggle, parents can reward kids with free time outside of the daily schedule or automatically lock certain apps (or the whole device) for a timeout. 

Parents who are concerned about specific apps like WhatsApp or TikTok need to ensure that the chosen parental control app allows customized downloads rather than basing restrictions on a maturity rating alone.

You should probably tell your kid that you’re watching their device

There’s a fine line between responsibly monitoring your child’s device and invading their privacy. Wanting to keep tabs on their behavior isn’t being too strict, especially if it’s their first time having their own device: , a pediatrician who sees patients with autism, ADHD, and developmental delays, told Mashable’s Rebecca Ruiz that taking an active role in what kids consume online and tailoring screen time rules to their specific needs is a critical strategy — no matter what age.

Letting them in on the decision could lessen the likelihood of rebelling or trying to find loopholes in the app, and letting them help decide the limits might make them more open to having these guidelines in the first place. Instead of confiscating their phone as a means of screen time control, devise a mutually agreed upon schedule for when texting, social media, or games are allowed, and when their device needs to lock for uninterrupted learning at school, homework, or falling asleep. If you’re worried about smothering them, consider an option that provides warnings about screen time instead of immediately locking the device, or an option that lets them request extra time or access to a site that they feel is wrongfully blocked. If they use their phone to play sleep music, an app that lets you customize which apps are restricted at night lets your kid keep their routine intact. 

Here are the best parental control apps for Android in 2020:

Best Google Play reviews

Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f148src158%252fd86ee61d c4asrc 432c b492 6d2522177d2f.png%252f48srcxsrc.png?signature=n7nndwssym ip7yoisysldf3uxi=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Image: mashable photo composite

The Good

Straightforward pricing • Restricts games but leaves reading apps open before bed • Restricts everything but educational apps during school • Ad-hoc Pause and Play mode • Task-reward system

The Bad

Limited to one device per child • Can’t do much with text or call contacts

The Bottom Line

Parents who left reviews were impressed with the level of customization in the app blocker.

Screen Time

A hidden gem of an app that’s great for situation-based app blocking and runs smoothly.

  • Free version: Yes
  • Screen Time Premium: $6.99/month
See Details

Setting your kid loose with their own phone or tablet is no trivial matter. Parents are rightfully critical of a parental control app’s safety features and ease of use — and this skepticism makes itself known in the review section of the Google Play Store. If you want an app that you know that thousands of other parents trust, check out Screen Time: the parental control app with a 4.1 out of 5 star rating from over 45,000 reviewers.
Though it may not pop up in a quick Google search for best parental control apps, Screen Time’s top tier ranking on the app store proves its reliability. It doesn’t seem to fall prey to the common complaints like a laggy design or inflexible controls that make life harder rather than easier. 
If you want to do more than monitoring app usage or web history, paying for Premium is a must. Customizable app blockers give kids some leeway while still ensuring that they aren’t distracted at the wrong times: Lock everything but educational apps at school and

Read More

Be the first to write a comment.

Leave a Reply

Apple

Odds-on Mayor Favorite Will Make NYC ‘Bitcoin Center,’ Issues Miami Warning

Eric Adams. Source: A screenshot, Instagram/ericadamsfornyc The frontrunner in the race to become the Mayor of New York has vowed to make the Big Apple “the center” of Bitcoin (BTC) within the space of a year if he is elected. In a speech to supporters yesterday, the leading candidate, Eric Adams, said, “I’m going to…

Eric Adams. Source: A screenshot, Instagram/ericadamsfornyc
The frontrunner in the race to become the Mayor of New York has vowed to make the Big Apple “the center” of Bitcoin (BTC) within the space of a year if he is elected.
In a speech to supporters yesterday, the leading candidate, Eric Adams, said,
“I’m going to promise you in one year, you’re going to see a different city.
Read More

Continue Reading
Apple

Coinbase Card Available for Use on Apple Pay and Google Pay

The largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, stated that it has integrated Apple Pay and Google Pay, enabling online shoppers to pay with their Coinbase Card on both online payment platforms, while also earning crypto rewards.  Shop With Coinbase Card on Apple Pay and Google Pay  In a blog post on Tuesday (June 1, 2021), Coinbase

The largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, stated that it has integrated Apple Pay and Google Pay, enabling online shoppers to pay with their Coinbase Card on both online payment platforms, while also earning crypto rewards.  Shop With Coinbase Card on Apple Pay and Google Pay  In a blog post on Tuesday (June 1, 2021), Coinbase
Read More

Continue Reading
Apple

New function added to “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app to store electronic vaccination QR codes (with photos)

     The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) announced today (June 1) that a new function has been added to the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app, allowing the public to store their COVID-19 vaccination records (electronic vaccination records) or electronic testing records in the app to facilitate easy display of the records when necessary.      Under the vaccine…

     The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) announced today (June 1) that a new function has been added to the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app, allowing the public to store their COVID-19 vaccination records (electronic vaccination records) or electronic testing records in the app to facilitate easy display of the records when necessary.

     Under the vaccine bubble, there are more opportunities for members of the public to present their vaccination records for verification. In addition to bringing along their paper vaccination records, members of the public can now upgrade the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app to the latest 2.0 version and choose to use the newly added “Electronic Vaccination and Testing Record” function to store their vaccination records and related QR codes in the mobile app for easy retrieval if needed, by scanning the QR codes on paper or electronic vaccination records. The new function is also applicable to saving electronic testing records.

     To protect the stored records and personal data privacy, users are required to pass through the same biometric or password authentication that they use for unlocking their phones whenever they want to open the newly added electronic vaccination or testing records. Since the new function of the mobile app needs to collect and store relevant personal data on electronic vaccination and testing records, users are required to confirm the relevant terms before they use the function for the first time.

     The “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app does not require registration for use and does not have a tracking function. As with users’ check-in data, the electronic vaccination records saved in the mobile app via the new function will not be uploaded or transferred to the Government or any other systems. All information will only be saved in users’ mobile phones. Users can replace or remove the electronic vaccination or testing records from the mobile app anytime. The OGCIO has consulted the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data regarding the implementation of the new function in the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app to ensure its compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. Members of the public can feel at ease when using the app.

     In addition, “iAM Smart” iPhone users can also choose to use a newly added function to save the QR codes of the electronic vaccination records into Apple Wallet when downloading their records.

     The OGCIO aims to bring greater convenience to the public on storing and displaying their vaccination records and related QR codes through the new functions, thereby facilitating mobility under the vaccine bubble. All these functions will only store the information in relevant mobile apps in the phones of the users on their own choice. The QR code on the vaccination record is equivalent to an anti-counterfeiting feature by adopting digital signature technology to ensure that the data it contains is tamper-proof and authentic. The spokesman reminded the public that both paper and electronic vaccination records, as well as the related QR codes, are personal documents and should be kept properly. Members of the public should neither send such electronic documents nor share them with others on social media.    
Read More

Continue Reading
Apple

Parler returns to Apple App Store with some content excluded

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The iOS app for conservative-leaning social media platform Parler is back in the Apple App Store today, after what the company says were “months of productive dialogue with Apple.” “The entire Parler team has worked hard to address Apple’s concerns without compromising our core mission,” Parler…

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The iOS app for conservative-leaning social media platform Parler is back in the Apple App Store today, after what the company says were “months of productive dialogue with Apple.”
“The entire Parler team has worked hard to address Apple’s concerns without compromising our core mission,” Parler interim CEO Mark Meckler said in a statement emailed to The Verge on Monday. “Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions. This is a win-win for Parler, its users, and free speech.”
Parler, which bills itself as a free speech alternative to Facebook or Twitter, was banned by Apple, Google, and Amazon following the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol. The…

Continue reading…

Read More

Continue Reading