It’s a favourite fun fact of ours at Tele2 that until last year, the words, “NSW wins the State of Origin series” had never been typed into an iPhone. As a proud Queensland-based business, that fact certainly gives us some satisfaction, but the really interesting thing is how it puts into perspective how quickly smartphones have become part of our everyday lives.
Not so long ago “smart phones” like those made by Blackberry were used exclusively by busy executives and businesspeople. But as new models became available, and prices dropped, these modern marvels became available to the entire market.
And as smart phones became cheaper and people upgraded their existing handsets, the older and cheaper models became much more popular among teenagers and children.
Smartphones are fantastic tools for kids, just as they are for adults. They allow them to listen to music, read their assignments and stay in contact with their parents and friends. But for parents, these benefits must also be considered against the potential for harm. Personal information, photographs and personal security are all incredibly important, and need to be protected.
This need is well recognised, and there are a range of apps that allow your child to use their smartphone to its full potential, while protecting their safety.
MGM Pinpoint is an app created by a local company, MGM Wireless. The company provides technology solutions to schools, including electronic roll marking, as well as SMS messaging to notify parents about emergencies and important events.
It is a trusted company, with their products in use across Australia in over 1000 schools and childcare centres.
MGM Pinpoint is an app that will send an automatic text message to the parent of a child who does not arrive safely at school. In addition, the SMS will contain a link to a Google-generated map that shows the location of the child using their phone’s GPS data. Privacy concerns are addressed by having the data available to parents and schools only during school hours.
Best of all, the App is free, and has been reviewed favourably in The Australian by the newspapers tech writers.
Securafone is a neat solution for a problem that troubles many parents: their teenage children texting, tweeting and emailing while driving. Once installed, the app will “lock” the phone from performing those functions when the data processed by the phone indicates that the user is travelling at over a certain speed.
Checking and sending text messages while driving is a leading cause of driver distraction that leads to both minor and major accidents. And the app it may be of use to more than just teenagers, with the problem not confined to any one demographic.
Securafone is currently available on Android operating systems only.
Ignore No More
A mother in the United States was sick of her son consistently ignoring her phone calls and allowing them to go to voicemail. She also found that despite leaving voice messages, the call back was rarely forthcoming.
Frustrated by the experience, she came up with a simple idea. Calls from her phone would be answered, or she would have the power to lock her son’s phone remotely.
That simple idea led to the app, and it has had a popular reception among parents, if not their children! It requires the app to be installed on both the parents and child’s phone, and it cannot be deleted without a passcode (held by the parent).
Once the call is returned, the app sends a secure code to the child’s phone, which allows it to be unlocked and restores all of its features. It is available on both Android and Apple phones.
Mobile Minder is essentially a security guard for your child’s smartphone. It is a solution that allows parents to access their child’s device fully, from their texts to their photos, apps and calls.
All data is available to the parent’s phone, and inappropriate photos, texts and apps can be deleted or blocked. It is a heavy touch solution, but its range of features and level of control appeals to some users.
Smart phones are incredible tools, and their use should be encouraged as they can deliver enormous benefits. However, keeping your kids safe is also a priority, and these apps, along with educating your kids about using their phones safely, can help to protect them from the risks that may arise.