Archive | August, 2013

Comparing MMGuardian with Android’s New Kid Mode

5 Aug

Kid Mode, more technically called “Restricted Profiles,” is Android’s first attempt to create a real, native way for parents to control the content on their kids’ phones.  While the idea is laudable, as Techcrunch highlighted, the implementation needs work because Kids Mode still does not provide parents with the comprehensive feature set they need to effectively keep kids safe.

Kid Mode centers primarily on Application Control.  It allows parents to essentially whitelist the apps they want their child to be able to access.  Moreover, it allows parents to get granular within each app – enabling or disabling the app’s permissions to alter its available feature set.

But, Kid Mode is an “opt-in” option for developers – and a virtually unknown Android option for parents.  So how many developers, at this early stage, will voluntarily allow their apps to be blocked from a huge population segment of devices?  That is simply unknown at this point.

More importantly, while App Control is a very important feature, Android’s attempt is not “parental control” in the needed, comprehensive sense: – it is more of a one trick pony.  App control is just one problem parents have with their kids’ use of devices: other issues include overuse, which is solved by instant and scheduled lock, unsavory contacts and texts, which is prevented by call and contact blocking and text monitoring, and texting while driving.  MMGuardian solves each of these problems in turn, creating a much more complete solution for parents.

In the future, Android will need to get in front of this issue to even come close to the capability that third-party apps already provide parents today.  Whitelisting and blacklisting – of both contacts and apps – is just the beginning.  The future lies in true device management: setting lock and location schedules well in advance and enabling continuous safe driving and bullying protections.

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