Smartphones keep us connected and entertained, and allow parents and children to feel safe knowing they have so much information in their pockets.
While there are many benefits associated with smart devices, unsupervised use of these devices can cause problems, from eye irritation to interfering with school work. Monitoring and restricting a child’s activity on smart devices can help mitigate these negative effects.
Here are five apps to keep track of your child’s phone usage.
GOOGLE FAMILY LINK
With this app, parents with Android devices can limit a child’s screen time and customize SafeSearch filters to block inappropriate content from appearing in search results.
Family Link also allows parents to block certain apps from being installed on a child’s Android device. If your child tries to turn off supervision, the device is locked until you unlock it.
THE NORTON FAMILY
Norton Family offers the option to get browser history reports, YouTube watch history, and insights on the keywords they search for.
It also allows you to remotely lock your child’s smart device and has a feature called “School Time” to help them stay focused while tackling any homework online.
This service is compatible across the majority of devices and their software. It costs about $50 per year.
Life360 is a service focused on location sharing. With features like Location Alerts and Crash Detection, you can be alerted when any of your kids leave or arrive somewhere or if they might have been in a car accident.
The app also offers the option to send local emergency services in case of an emergency when the “SOS” feature is triggered. Life360 also offers data breach alerts and theft protection.
All these features are pay-walled with a subscription that varies from $15 to $25 per month.
Working in the same way as the Netflix Kids profile, Amazon Kids offers an experience tailored to children of a selected age.
Amazon Kids also allows parents to set goals for kids to complete certain tasks within a certain amount of time and restrict access to certain web pages. It also blocks in-app purchases.
Amazon Kids works best on Amazon’s own Fire Tablet but the app is also available for download on Android and iOS devices.
Like Norton Family, Qustodio offers reports on your child’s device activity, but what sets Qustodio apart is the option to view texts and calls on your child’s phone.
It is very important to have boundaries with your children and respect their privacy while maintaining your relationship with them, so it is not recommended to use this as a first option or to test. But if you find yourself in a certain situation where you feel the need to take advantage of this feature, it’s helpful to have it close at hand.
Qustodio is compatible across most mobile platforms, and subscriptions can cost up to $138 a year.
–via New York Family