(Robert de Niro in the film Meet the Fockers)
The world of Android can be an incredibly educational and fun place for your children. Entrusting a smartphone or tablet to a child is the best way your little one can learn about technology. However, if you're going to hand over that Android, you need to ensure the content on it is safe for their eyes. So today we're offering a run-down of the best parental control apps for Android, to make sure your device provides a safe environment for your child to grow and learn.
To Prevent Children from Downloading Apps to Your Android
Every time you give your child your device, you worry, asking yourself whether he'll download all paid apps on Google Play to your device. I still remember the time I called a number labeled "Santa Clause" on an advertisement and the insane bill I racked up on my family's AT&T plan. To avoid such inconveniences, consider using an app called AppNotifier, which will send you an e-mail each time a new app is purchased and block apps from being downloaded.
To Know Where Your Kids Are
We question the ethics of installing Family Locator & GPS Tracker, which allows you to monitor where your children are at all times. The principle is simple – the application connects to 3G or WiFi and automatically sends you alerts when your child arrives at school or home – but the ethics of tracking kids is a bit dicey, in my opinion. You can also monitor the content of messages, photos and videos on the device. People can raise their kids as they wish, but I am a big fan of trust. Still, this application could be useful.
To Let Your Children Play, Securely
Kid Mode optimizes your smartphone for children so that they can play their favorite apps, according to their ages and abilities, develop their creativity or video chat with other family members. Kid mode locks your phone so it's impossible for them to call, look at your e-mails or chat through other channels. Every week, the application sends you an e-mail letting you know which functions your child has accessed. This is a locked environment that kids might actually find fun.
To Select Which Apps Your Children Can Access
Suppose you want to select exactly which applications your children can use – like math apps or apps that encourage them to eat their brocoolli. Kids Place helps you set up a customized home screen featuring only your most child-friendly apps. The application also disables the wireless networks so you can avoid exposing your kids to radiation.
To Control What Your Children Do Online
So you gave your children permission to go online but still want to make sure they don't abuse your trust or chat with strangers? Norton Online Family allows you to keep an eye on your childrens' web wanderings, including what sites they visit and who they talk to.
To Control ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING a Child Does on Your Phone
For the truly paranoid, Phone Control allows you to monitor absolutely everything that happens on your phone: the app will forward you all outgoing and incoming SMS messages, photos taken, contacts, phone calls and locations of the device. Phone control operates absolutely invisibly to the user and your child cannot even see the icon on the phone. I'm a bit disgusted by this app, but I seem to be in the minority judging by the number of downloads (nearly 100,00) and high praise the app has attained on Google Play.