Mobile phones aren't just for calling and texting, but work as full-featured computers, complete with internet access. Parents who want their children to have the safety advantage of carrying a phone may not want kids to have unfettered internet access, however. With the rise of smartphones, parental control software has expanded to cover mobile devices in addition to laptop and desktop computers.
Parental lock features can provide some reassurance that children are using mobile devices responsibly and that strangers aren't communicating with them without your knowledge. A parental lock app is a great step toward making your children's use of mobile devices safer. Here are 5 reasons the parental lock app is your friend.
1. It Can Prevent In-App Purchases
In-app purchases can wreak havoc on your finances. Many apps and games are advertised as free, but within the apps are purchasing options. For example, a video app might let you find a video to watch, and then use its in-app purchase functionality to allow you to rent a video without leaving the app. The problem is, apps automatically charge the credit card connected to the app, and kids may not realize that they're adding charges to their parent's credit card every time they use in-app purchase functionality. In-app purchases are convenient - perhaps too convenient - and using the parental blocker on tablet devices and phones can prevent unpleasant surprises on your credit card bill.
2. It Prevents Kids From Using Certain Apps
You may not want your children to use certain apps installed on their phone. For example, you may not think they're old enough to have a Facebook account, and you don't want them to use the Facebook app that came pre-installed on their phone. The parental blocker that comes with your smartphone allows you to restrict which apps your children can use. That way, you won't have to worry about them accessing apps when you're not around to monitor their phone use.
3. It Prevents Access to Inappropriate Online Content
In some cases, you can use parental lock features to filter online content allowed onto your child's smartphone. This can be an enormous help to parents concerned about which websites their kids access when they're at school or at a friend's house. On iOS devices, for example, you can set up the parental lock feature to only allow access to websites that you specify. Once you create this "whitelist" of approved websites, the mobile browser won't access any others unless you go back and add them to the whitelist.
4. It Prevents Installation of Inappropriate Apps
Kids can be remarkably adept at using technology, so don't assume your young child doesn't know how to download apps. After all, app makers specifically make it easy to download apps to boost their popularity. But with the locking app for parents on tablet and smartphone devices, you can restrict app downloads or prevent them altogether. As with the settings for online content, you have the option of blocking apps based on age-appropriate ratings. That way if your 12-year-old tries to download an app that's rated for ages 17+, he won't be able to.
5. It Can Disable Web Access Altogether if Necessary
Suppose your child is grounded from using the web for a week. Yet you want her to have her phone on hand at school and sports practice, but only for communication and safety purposes. Check your parental lock app to see if it allows you to disable web access from your smartphone. Most do. You can disable web access on your child's phone for however long she's grounded from using the web, and then change the setting to allow web access once again when that time period is over.
Final Word About Parental Locks
Mobile device manufacturers understand that parents don't necessarily want their children to have full access to all the apps, websites, and other features contained on smartphones and tablets. Parental lock features make a terrific first step when it comes to protecting children from inappropriate content.
Parental locks, however, can't do everything, and more parents are turning to comprehensive solutions like Familoop Safeguard. With one powerful software solution, parents can customize access across all devices, and monitor kids' device and computer usage from a central dashboard. When possibly questionable behaviors are detected, the dashboard notifies parents so they can act swiftly. Familoop Safeguard lets you allow your children the benefits of having a smartphone without worrying about who or what content they access with it - sign up to Familoop Safeguard trial to protect your kids online effectively and succeed in parenting.