Comparing Family Safety Apps: MamaBear and Find My Friends

Choosing the right family safety app isn’t easy. We’d like to help you by comparing the features of the MamaBear app with a few other apps out there for Android and iPhone.

In our last comparison, we looked at Life 360. Now let’s check out the similarities and differences of MamaBear to Apple’s iPhone app Find My Friends.

Related: Comparing Family Safety Apps: MamaBear and Life360

Find My Friends is primarily a tracking app. With Find My Friends, users request connection to people they want to view location. Once a friend accepts the request and installs the app, a user can see their friend’s location and vice versa with the option to turn off location sharing.

MamaBear and Find My Friends share a few similarities.  

Users can:  

  • View current location of people
  • Proactively send location. Find My Friends calls it “Notify Friend” and MamaBear calls it “check in.”
  • Set arrival/departure alerts

There are also a few key differences.

Here’s a the breakdown:

  • Who it’s targeting. MamaBear’s emphasis is on family safety, whereas Find My Friends is marketed in part as a social app for use by adults and their friends and companions.
  • Location history.  MamaBear offers a view of historical location points up to 7 days.
  • Message feed.  MamaBear presents all alerts and messages received for up to 7 days.
  • Social media monitoring. MamaBear notifies parents when their child makes a new friend on Facebook, follows someone new on Instagram or uploads a photo, gets tagged or @mentioned, receives a message that includes inappropriate words, bullying language or any other restricted words the parent sets.
  • Driving speed monitoring. MamaBear offers alerts when kids drive or ride over a preset speed limit including how fast and where.
  • Optional location sharing. Find My Friends allows all user to turn off location sharing. Families using MamaBear can’t turn of child logged in location sharing from the app, though the parent’s location sharing is optional.
  • Temporary sharing.  Find my friends offers a group of invited friends to share location for a pre-set timeframe.

There are many great apps that offer a variety of fun and useful features! MamaBear strives to offer parents concerned about their children’s safety peace of mind and comfort.

Parental Control iPhone – Using iPhone’s Parental Restrictions

  iphone restrictions

One of the hottest mobile devices on the market – especially with tweens and teens — is the iPhone. Kids everywhere are clamoring for it. If your child has an iPhone or you plan to give them one soon, you’ll be reassured to know the popular mobile device offers a number of parental control features limiting access to potential dangers when the world is at their fingertips.

The release of  iOS 7 comes with improved parental control features that will be of interest to responsible parents taking action to appropriately monitor their child’s iPhone. Let’s explore some of the new parental control options and how to complement suggested restrictions with a family safety app like MamaBear.

Related: Using MamaBear with Apple’s new iOS 7

What Parental Controls are Available on iPhone?

Apple’s support page shows details on how to access the parental control features enabling parents to set restrictions to:

  •  Prevent access to selected device standard apps such as Safari, FaceTime, the iTunes Store and Siri.
  • Prevent access to content including music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, books, apps and more that aren’t age appropriate.
  •  Adjust the time before a password is required to purchase content or always ask for a password.
  •  Prevent changes to privacy settings, including location services, contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, and outside app access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, etc.
  •  Prevent changes to settings and accounts including Find My Friends, cellular data use, background app refresh and volume limit.
  •  Restrict features within Game Center, including use of multiplayer games, adding new friends and more.

Using iPhone Parental Restrictions to Complement Family Safety Apps

Parental restrictions on Apple devices are extremely helpful to responsible  parents providing their children with arguably today’s most powerful and accessible device to content and people. But don’t rely just on these restrictions.  Monitoring is still very important.

An added worry-free layer is a family safety app like MamaBear to proactively receive news about your child’s daily activities. Mamabear uses alerts to notify you about location, social media activity and driving speed. Parents use their MamaBear news to start relevant, daily conversations with their family about safety.

Apple’s mobile devices come with some very useful parental control features that should be used to their greatest potential. When put in use they offer the perfect complement to the safety features offered by family safety apps like MamaBear.

 Image Credit: Apple

 

Six Best Parental Control Apps for Android

Parental Control Apps for AndroidWhen you give your child a smartphone, you give them the world –  access to a wide world of information, people and possibilities, anyway. That world can come with a lot of fun and education. But it also comes with a lot of risk. The possibilities are endless, but so are the dangers to your children when they immerse themselves.

At the same time, when you send your child out into the world today you no longer have to worry about not knowing where they are. Technology allows parents to monitor their children’s locations with smartphone apps and GPS technology.

Today, there are many free and premium apps on the market designed to help parents monitor their children’s online behavior and physical locations. How do you choose the right app for your child’s android phone? How do you prevent them from downloading the wrong apps or media? Which apps will let you know where your child is at any given moment of the day? Which apps help you know when your child is being cyberbullied on social media? In this blog post we’ll break down six of the more popular parental control apps for Android so you can choose the one that is right for your family.

Related: Cyber Safety Tips for Kids – Preventing Cyberbullying and Inappropriate “Friends”

Top Six Apps for Android Parental Control

MamaBear App: MamaBear is your all-in-one family safety app providing parents information to worry less and encourage larger boundaries for kids to explore more. This app is especially good for kids that are first time smartphone users and new to social media. The app allows kids to keep parents updated with simple check in buttons with added emoticons, “Come Get Me” or “Emergency” notifications. MamaBear allows parents to know their child’s current and recent locations, setup arrival and departure alerts for places like school, home and practice or know when they exceed a preset driving speed. Our favorite feature is a time saver from trolling our kid’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Parents can set up alerts to monitor only the important stuff like new friends/follows, words on your programmed restricted words list, uploaded photos and tags.

The Kids Place: Kids Place is an app launcher with parental controls and child lock especially nice for shared devices. It protects your personal data and restricts kids to apps you have approved for them. Kids Place also prevents children from downloading new apps, making phone calls, texting or performing other actions that can cost you money. It includes convenient features for parents such as auto app restart and is useful for small kids who accidentally exit launched apps.

Kid Mode: Kid Mode puts all your child’s favorite Android apps in one place also good for shared devices. With the app’s child lock feature, kids stay safely in Kid Mode – the app prevents accidental in-app purchases, deleted texts, or confusing ad clicks. Kid Mode comes with fun games and videos customized for every child’s age, an art studio where kids can paint, color and draw, illustrated storybooks that family members can read and record, a video mail feature that lets kids exchange short messages with family, weekly activity emails on what your kids have been playing and learning and more.

Norton Family: Norton Family with parental controls helps you protect your child from online threats while you’re on the go. Protect your kids from inappropriate web content, unsafe texting and unsuitable mobile apps. The app allows users to track the websites kids visit or attempt to visit, block access to inappropriate websites, setup custom email alerts to notify you when your kids attempt to do something they shouldn’t. A premium version of the app with additional features is available for a fee.

MMGuardian Parental Control: MMGuardian Parental Control enables parents to lock your child’s phone via a simple text message, set time restrictions to limit use, eg: during school hours, prevent your child texting and driving, block incoming calls and texts, monitor alarming text messages, control which applications can be used and when, then receive a daily report on your child’s phone usage.

Screen Time: Screen Time is a parental control app that allows you to monitor and manage the time spent on your family’s tablets and phones. Screen Time is not as invasive as many of the parental control apps available, so it is well suited to families with older children and teenagers, as well as younger children. The app’s features include daily time limits on selected apps, bedtime curfew on selected apps, lights out curfew on all apps, school time curfew on selected apps and more.

There are many great tools on the Google Play app market that can help parents make the most of smartphones and keep their families safe at the same time. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can make the most educated app choices for your Android devices.

 Image Credit: Techradar 

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

national-cyber-security-awareness-monthDid you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? The month is a time for educating the community – especially families – about cyber security and internet safety.

According to StaySafeOnline.org, National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created ten years ago as a way for government and industry “to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online … Cybersecurity is the mechanism that maximizes our ability to grow commerce, communications, community and content in a connected world.”

If you have a child with a smartphone, you know how easy it is for him or her to become lost in a world of apps like Kik, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and a growing list of other social media geared toward young people. As we spend more time on the internet, online predators are sharpening their skills and internet know-how so to better take advantage of innocent victims. Not to mention, cyber bullying cases  that we hear about in the news on what seems like a weekly basis.

Related: iPhone vs. Android: MamaBear Weighs in on Smartphone Shopping for Your Kids

According to the Stop. Think. Connect. initiative of the Department of Homeland Security, “As technology advances, so do the techniques cybercriminals use to gain access to our computer networks. If each of us becomes more aware of cyber security risks and implements a few simple steps, we can all make a big difference.”

The Stop. Think. Connect. site includes resources to help you and your children learn how to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Spread the Word

The best way for families to lead safer lives online is to educate themselves and then spread the word. “The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility,” write the folks at StaySafeOnline.org. “Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone.”

It is especially important to reach our children with guidance on how to keep their information safe. Parents can help their children become smarter, savvier internet citizens by teaching them about cyber security during the month of October and year round. While teaching them about cyber security is crucial in this day and age, it is also important to use a family safety app like MamaBear to monitor their online and social media behavior to ensure that they are safe from online predators and bullies, until they are mature enough to protect themselves.

Want to help promote cyber security? Tell your workplace, your schools, your churches and your local government to promote NCSAM so all can share the responsibility of increasing awareness of cyber safety and making the internet a safer place for all. “Everyone can do something—even if you have less than one hour to devote to this effort!

Image Credit: The Tech Herald