Those tools included an accelerometer, which tracks how fast a phone is moving, a magnetometer, which works like a digital compass, and a gyroscope, which tracks rotation. These sensors are responsible for things like changing the screen orientation from horizontal to vertical when the phone is moved.
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In order to track the test subjects, the researchers had them download what seemed to be a flash light app — but actually was gathering sensor data. Smartphone sensors do not directly provide user location data, and this research highlights just how difficult it would be to use these sensors for location tracking. Apple declined to comment to CNBC.
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Mobicip has preset filters for blocking webpages and content that fall under specific categories such as pornography, online gaming or violence. It can also block individual apps — for example, it can prevent your child from accessing Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and several other social media platforms.
This lets you know exactly who they interact with and what they talk about. The program has filter categories that let you block your child from visiting websites with inappropriate content, including pornography, online gaming and drugs. Further, you can choose to either shut down internet access or fully lock their cell phone once their time is up.
On both computers and mobile devices, Qustodio monitors conversations your child has through chat apps and via text messages. This lets your child quickly alert you if they are scared, in danger or lost. However, Qustodio is missing several monitoring features. Norton Family is really easy to use, and we were impressed with how well it blocks apps. To block an app, you simply click on its icon on your end.
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After you do, your child will see a notice on their device if they try to use the app letting them know it is restricted. This cell phone monitoring program is also good at blocking content that falls under categories like pornography and drugs, and it alerts you when your child tries to view something inappropriate. In addition, you can use Norton Family to set when and for how long your child can be online. When their time is up, you can choose for the program to either disable the internet or lockdown the entire device.
During testing, we noticed devices with Norton Family installed ran much slower than when other monitoring apps were installed. And you can block content, gaming apps and instant messaging programs. Surfie has a keyword and phrase alert, which is a great tool for stopping cyberbullies and other predators. This monitoring program includes time controls and provides very detailed reports about what your child does online.
Reports include information about which websites your child visits, apps they use and words they search for as well as how long they spend in each application. However, its cell phone monitoring program includes profanity masking.
Not only does it deny your child access to X-rated websites, but it also checks the pictures and ads on safe sites. On top of physically testing these apps, we research news and organizations dedicated to educating children and parents about healthy technology habits. Both have extensive guides for parents that are worth checking out.
We also spoke with advocates and read advice on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC and National Suicide Prevention websites about how to recognize cyberbullying and how to talk to your kids about online dangers. Cell phone parental controls programs are subscription based, meaning you have to pay either a monthly or annual fee to continue using that program. You often must also purchase this subscription for each device you wish to monitor, though there are a few apps that will give you multiple licenses for a decent price.
Our favorite is Mobicip.
There is no age requirement when it comes to owning a smartphone, unlike social media accounts that typically require a person to be 13 or older to sign up. Before giving your child their own smartphone, sit down and talk with your child about internet etiquette, privacy, security, cyberbullying, malicious websites, harmful content and time management. This is a lot of info to bombard a child with, so take your time and spread out these topics over several conversations rather than running through them like a lecture or presentation.
Make sure, when your child is ready for a cell phone, that you set clear rules. Be prepared to set firm rules on the things that matter most to you, but be open to negotiating rules such as how to earn more screen time. The Family Contract for Smartphone Use from ConnectSafely is a good tool to help you set specific rules and responsibilities for both children and parents. For more information and advice on deciding when to get your child a smartphone, check out When Is Your Kid Old Enough for a Smartphone? While setting rules is an important part of helping your child establish healthy smartphone habits before they hit adulthood, they still need to understand why these rules exist.
An excellent way to explain smartphone rules to kids is to talk about how you use your smartphone.
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Although this may cause you to question your own smartphone habits, it can teach your child the potential advantages and hazards of smartphones. By setting an example your child wants to emulate, you become a powerful influence in developing healthy smartphone habits for your child. If your child has an iPhone, you can take advantage of its built-in Screen Time parental controls to place restrictions on apps, purchases, explicit content, Siri, privacy and other settings.