Using Android Safety Tools to Monitor Children’s Activity

If you’ve ever worked with us before, you know that eDesign-Pro is a mom-owned sole proprietorship and I have five children, none of which have even made it to their teen years as of yet! Our 10 son and 11 year old daughter both have Android-powered mobile phones,  so certain apps are used a bit differently in our family. Here are some great ideas for Android apps that help you monitor your children’s activity, safeguard them from inappropriate web content, and locate them in an emergency (or recover their lost phone) using the GPS.

  • The Android Market online: To my knowledge there isn’t any way to restrict what your children have access to in the market (aside from utilizing a service that your carrier may provide, such as T-Mobile‘s “Web Guard”) but going to this website and logging in with my child’s credentials allows me to see the apps they have downloaded and which ones are currently installed so that I’m able to determine if any of them are not appropriate and should be removed. It’s a much quicker and easier way to get all the information I need on every app they are utilizing and is accessible even when they aren’t home. The only downside is that there is currently no way to remove the app without using the device itself. This is strictly a monitoring tool.
  • SMS Backup +: This app allows you to connect your text messages and call logs to your Gmail or Google Apps account and sync them with your email.
    • FOR YOU PERSONALLY: When you switch phones, you can easily restore your call log and text messages into your new phone so that you don’t lose any of that data. Also, when you forget that you left your phone in the other room and you’re working (or playing) on the computer, you’ll notice those missed calls or texts in your email so that not too much time passes before you know to respond.
    • FOR YOU, AS A PARENT: If you have children that you want to monitor, you can have this app work in the background on the phone without notifications to sync these items to your email (it doesn’t use the account programmed into the phone – it uses the account you set up in the app) so that you will receive all their activity within 1 minute. Know who your kids are talking to and what the conversation is. I realize some parents consider this an invasion of privacy; I call it making sure I know what my kids are up to. TomAYto, tomAHto.
  • Lookout Mobile Security: It’s anti-virus software. For your phone. :) Need I say more? Being highly recommended by CNET and with over 10 million downloads, this is definitely a must-have. There is a free version and a paid version. After the trial month, you can either continue the upgrade by purchasing ($2.99 per month or $29.99 per year) or be reverted to the free version. The upgrade allows you to remotely lock and wipe your phone if it’s lost or stolen as well as backup your photos and restore them to a new device. Click the link to view a full listing of free and premium features. This keeps their phones safe when they are clicking around without knowing what they’re downloading… and restores their memories if they drop their phone out of their pocket after they’ve just taken irreplaceable photos :)
  • Where’s My Droid: When paired with the SMS GPS Enabler, this is a powerful tool if your phone is ever lost or stolen. You can use the SMS GPS Enabler to enable GPS using text message commands if it isn’t already activated to help you locate your phone using Where’s My Droid. Both are free apps, but Where’s My Droid does offer premium services like remotely wiping the SD card and phone data as well as activating the app from a landline telephone.
  • Life 360: Stay connected with every Android-using member of your family with maps, check-ins, and even a panic button which notifies everyone of your whereabouts and that you are in need of assistance. There is even an optional sex offender map which allows you to see who is in your area and keep track of threats. The feature can be disabled if you don’t want your children viewing the information. Click the link to view a full feature list and compare the free and premium versions.

What Android applications have you found useful in safeguarding your family?

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