An expert on children’s media evaluates three child-protection apps.
With the rise in the use of the Internet comes the rise in dangers it brings. These dangers do not affect only adults, but children as well. Moreover, children are more vulnerable to certain dangers, like inappropriate content and identity theft, since they spend most of their time online occupied with school work, playing games, or chatting with friends.
Online predators are constantly seeking to prey on innocent children. “Grooming” (preparing children for sexual contact) is on the rise, and cyberbullying and sexting has now become a norm among youth.
It is simply not possible for parents to be with their children 24 hours a day, looking over their shoulders to check for possible dangers. So how can parents protect their children online? The answer to parents protecting their kids lies in parental control applications.
What are parental control apps?
These are applications that allow parents to monitor and control how their children use their phones, tablets, and computers, in order to keep their children safe online. There are many parental control applications on the market currently, and many parents can find the number of choices and details of various plans overwhelming.
To assist parents in choosing the best parental control app to protect their children, this article reviews three parental control apps. The review is based on the following criteria:
Ease of Use
How easy is the parental control app to use?
Ease of Installation
The best parental control apps are quick to download and install. How simple are the installation instructions and set up?
How useful are the parental control app features to parents? Top products support restrictions on programs installed, games, instant messaging apps, and downloads, and provide accurate reporting.
How easily can parents access monitored logs, and on which devices? How much complete administrative control does the parent have with respect to the monitored device?
Product support is very vital. Does the app come with a user’s guide, in addition to customer support contact methods? What forms does customer support take: email forms, telephone numbers, online documentation such as FAQs, forums, tutorials?
|mSpy||Net Nanny Kidgy|
|Ease of Use||9||8 9|
|Ease of Installation||9||8 10|
|Feature list||9||7 7|
|Control Effectiveness||10vb 9||7 10|
|Customer support/Help||9||7 9|
mSpy – Score 9/10
mSpy is the current leader in parental control apps. Its installation wizard is simple and easy, and the user does not need to be computer savvy to install it. It has over 25 features for parents. Among them are:
Keyword alert – immediate alerts on the specified keywords/phrase
Keylogger – parent sees all keyboard strokes made on the monitored phone
GPS – Allows easy monitoring of the location of children.
Geofencing – allows parents to set a virtual “barrier,” so that when a device enters the defined boundaries, parents receive a notification. Parents can set an unlimited number of allowed and forbidden zones, and are notified when they are breached.
Parents can view detailed logs of all the features mSpy monitors. The reports/logs are very comprehensive. mSpy works on Android OS, iOS, Mac and Windows PC.
mSpy has a dedicated 24/7 Customer Care ready to assist their clients.
Net Nanny – Score 7/10
Net Nanny has been on the market since 2007. Set up is fairly easy. Features are not as comprehensive as mSpy’s, and are limited on iPhones as compared to Androids. Net Nanny is basically concentrated in blocking inappropriate websites, but does not cover complete phone monitoring. Although they have forums and support systems, they do not have a 24/7 customer care service. This is unfortunate, as parents should be able to contact someone live to asist them with the app at any time.
Kidgy – Score 9/10
Kidgy can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It is easy to install and must be installed on both parent and child phones. Kidgy is less a parental control app than a parental assistant app. It has fewer features than mSpy, but some of those features are innovative and especially relevant for parents:
Panic button – a special button allows children to send an eergency SOS message to their parent when in distress.
Scheduler – allows parents to assign tasks or activities for their child to do, with time allocations to their kids’ devices.
GPS – parents can monitor the location of their children.
Web browser monitoring
With several parental control apps on the market, parents now have their pick of which system serves their needs, and those of their children, the best. We hope these reviews have been helpful in assisting parents to make their choice; because in this day and age, it is crucial that parents remain involved in their children’s access to media.