Mobiflock: parental control for smartphones
A local company has developed a solution to allow parents to control the content their children can access using smartphones. By Craig Wilson.
Mobiflock, a mobile safety and security company, has launched a parental control service for smartphones and tablets. The service, which has been in beta development for the past six months, allows for Web and application-level blocks on Android smartphones and tablets and parental control services for Android, BlackBerry and Nokia devices.
The parental control is called Mobiflock My Child. Alongside it, the company has launched a free service called Mobiflock My Life that allows users to block unwanted callers, track phone use and locate or disable a lost or stolen phone.
There is no support yet for Apple’s iOS devices because of the strict vetting process the company’s App Store imposes on applications. Mobiflock will continue try to meet its stringent requirements, particularly as the iPad is the most prolific tablet computer on the market, both in SA and internationally.
According to the company, with a growing number of children owning or having access to smartphones and tablets, it is becoming important that parents understand their children’s online habits and take measures to protect them from digital dangers.
Moreover, it says its research has revealed that a third of 14- and 15-year-olds, and 21% of children overall, have accessed “inappropriate websites” on their phones. In addition to accessing adult and inappropriate content, other dangers include cyber bullying and inadvertently divulging personal information.
Mobiflock My Child also gives parents visibility over their child’s mobile device use and the ability to block specific content, contacts or activities.
Parents can also limit phone use via a timetable, locate the phone, and block or wipe a stolen phone. A Web-based dashboard allows parents to manage all of the phones they are protecting with Mobiflock. Mobiflock’s services work across all networks whether via Wi-Fi or GSM connectivity.
Patrick Lawson, Mobiflock’s founder — he also cofounded bulk SMS company Clickatell — says the benefits smartphones offer children are enormous but adds that no matter how tech-savvy they appear, they are still children and need guidance and protection.
He says Mobiflock My Child has been designed to allow parents to choose the “most appropriate restrictions for each of their children”.
“We’ve also made sure we haven’t removed all the fun from having a smartphone”.
Both Mobiflock My Child and Mobiflock My Life can be installed by downloading the Mobiflock application from the Android, BlackBerry or Nokia application stores. The former costs $25/year per device and includes a 30-day trial. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media