Most families are facing similar problems with their children these days: they use their smartphones to play games, chat with friends and download apps – a lot! Gone are the days of running around and playing outside with friends.
According to research in a german 5th grade class, parents have a big need for a parental control solution: mothers don’t want their kids to be using WhatsApp as a social cheat slip in class. They also tell stories of kids sharing their homework with their classmates by photo.Many kids show signs of „smartphone addiction“ – the sheer amount of time they spend with their phones just to keep up to date with what’s going on is alarming.
Providers of gaming apps are heavily targeting our youngsters with their gadgets – that’s why in-app purchases exist. Users are able to start playing a game for free, but soon they will need to unlock new levels, purchase characters or new items to individualize their avatar. Often, the parent’s credit card is on profile – and will be charged. That’s why parents need an easy way to block this functionality on their kids’ devices.
Blocking apps in relevant time zones (like during class) and in specific places is desirable – an australian vendor of pasta sauces recently presented a special pepper mill which cuts off all wi-fi connections to keep family members offline during dinner – like it used to be.
This is where a family-oriented version of a Mobile Device Management solution can help. Having only been used in a business context so far, it is obvious that this type of solution absolutely fits the requirements of today’s families. Kids can be given a limited time contingent for using their phone and apps can be blocked during specific times or in certain places like in a perimeter around school.
Most of the parental control systems also offer an emergency call function. When the child needs help, it is easy to call the parents from anywhere by just pressing one button.
Aside from all restrictions and usage limitations, the main purpose of such a solution is to create a new awareness in our children for using mobility solutions and raising their media competence. Children need to manage their lives in both the digital and the real world – and sometimes they need a little reminder that life happens outside the digital world, too.