Android vs. iPhone: Which is Better for Monitoring Your Child?
In an age where your six-year-old can start sexting, or bullies can reach your kid even in the safety of her bedroom and a spontaneous decision by your teen can turn into a viral mistake, there is no doubt about how important monitoring has become to keep our children safe.
Even tech companies have acknowledged the importance of restrictions and monitoring. They have incorporated built-in settings to protect your kids from inappropriate content and from spending unnecessary money on apps, but which of the two biggest names in phone technology is better when it comes to phone monitoring?
What are the built-in options for parental control?
Let’s start with Android’s parental controls. As you will notice, there are no built-in options on Android phones for monitoring so you would have to physically take your kids’ phones or install a monitoring app to stay on top of messages and emails sent, photos taken and other activity.
What Android allows you to do is to run restrictions to keep your kid from certain content. Your options include:
Create a separate user profile
If your kid’s phone is running on Android 5.0+, then you can create a separate user profile for your kid. This way, you can limit what your child can access. With this option, you would be able to keep your kids from sending emails and text messages, you could even restrict them from making calls. This option, however, could backfire, as your kids might need to call you in an emergency and so having a monitoring app that would block every app on their phone except the calls button is always better.
Restrict the Play store with a password
The built-in restriction options in Android will also allow you to block your kids from spending money on apps. You can also apply an age restriction here, so that only age appropriate apps appear on the screen. Moreover, you can customize the age restriction here for each category by having a higher age rating for books and videos, for instance, and having a lower age rate for apps and video games.
Block third party vendors
Nowadays, apps can also be purchased from third parties, not just from the Play Store. Accordingly, Android gives you the option to disable purchases from third party vendors, by clicking on settings within your apps list, tapping on security and turning off the “allow installation of apps from unknown sources” option.
Pin apps to the screen
Another feature in Android phones is that of pinning apps to the screen. What this option does is allow you to select one app your kid can use and block everything else. This option is great if you are giving your kid your phone and you want him to browse videos on YouTube but not use your social media or open your emails. This is, however, a very limiting option and not very practical if your kid has his own phone.
Similar to Android, the iPhone has built-in restriction settings you can apply on your kids’ phones but more than that, it has built-in monitoring options, so you can keep tabs on their activity. The iPhone monitoring and restriction options include,
The iCloud account for monitoring
Using one iCloud account for the entire family has its advantages and its disadvantages. The main advantage is that you will be able to view emails and iMessages sent by your kids, photos taken and incoming FaceTime calls. Having one account, however, also means your kids will view your content, so you can never have your privacy. Accordingly, it is always better to have separate iCloud accounts and then use a monitoring app to keep tabs on their activity.
Turn on the parental control options
In the Settings app, there is an option that will allow you to apply restrictions to certain apps. This is a good option to block inappropriate content from iTunes and Safari. You can restrict the options in Game center such as forbidding other players (and potential cyber bullies) from play with your kids and even disable location detection from apps.
Restrict the Apple ID
Much like Android, the iPhone includes an option in the App store to put an age limit on the apps offered to protect your kids from downloading content that is inappropriate.
Kids have strong opinions about the phone they want. In a recent survey, 69% of 6,500 teens with an average age of 16.5 said they were iPhone users and 75% expected their next phone to be an iPhone. It appears the iPhone is winning with teens at the moment, but regardless of whether they choose Android or Apple, you will have the opportunity to keep them safe through monitoring and restrictions.
The built-in restrictions in these two devices have their use because they keep kids away from certain content but if you want something more tangible — a way to monitor cyber bullies from attacking your kids, the ability to monitor text messages and emails sent, as well as, a way of controlling how much time your kids spend on their phones, then you need a great monitoring app to help you do this.
Our TeenSafe app was built to give parents control. Unlike the built-in restrictions found in Android and iPhone, it only takes one time to set up your kids’ devices on the TeenSafe monitoring app, after that, you can pause apps and view text messages, block activity and limit screen time at the touch of a button from your phone.