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Many children around the country, and indeed, the world, receive a shiny new smartphone as a present from their parents. It’s not hard to see why; they have become, in a relatively short span of time, one of the most popular, ubiquitous devices on earth. In fact, the number of smartphones in service today outnumbers the total number of humans.

The question then, becomes one of security and protection. Nobody likes to talk much about parental control, but the internet is a wild and woolly place, and it’s all too easy for children (especially younger children) to get themselves in trouble, in compromising positions, or to inadvertently run up exorbitant bills that their parents are on the hook for.

Cheap, but at a Cost of Losing Parental Control

From a pure cost perspective, an Android-based smartphone is the clear winner, but has no built in parental controls (Google Android only has parental controls built in on tablets, nothing for smartphones). You can get a smartphone with a set of features for less money than a comparable Apple device, but at what cost to your children? Also, be sure the battery doesn’t explode. And you can google some parental control apps and venture through which one you think might do the trick, since the list is massive. There are a number of reviews on this subject, but just about all of the reviews do not include iOS devices. Top Ten Reviews has a list (this list doesn’t include iOS). S0, be sure to figure in the price of the parental control app for your Android (usually a subscription service).  The NY Times concludes, “While it may be tempting to save money by buying cheaper Android devices for children, parents who want tight control over their children’s activities on smartphones will be better off buying iPhones for the family. Apple’s parental controls were detailed and took a while to set up, but they accomplished all of the restrictions that I wanted. The Android system was sorely lacking in features for regulating minors and offered only incomplete solutions for a small number of restrictions.” For an example of this read below:

PC Magazine reviewed some of the Android Apps and here is the low down: “Net Nanny, Mobicip, Qustodio Parental Control, and our Editors’ Choice Norton Family Parental Control. Net Nanny offers a standalone Android app subscription for $13 per year. The others require users to purchase subscriptions to the complete Web versions, with prices ranging from $40 to $50 per year, before they can activate the Android app.  At least with those full subscriptions you’ll be able to protect additional devices and children. Every service reviewed offers a free trial, which includes access to the Android app, so you can try before you buy. We also recommend reading our full reviews of those products to learn what other features you get, aside from the Android-specific features mentioned in the reviews listed here. If you have to buy the whole software suite, you might as well take complete advantage of it. Many of these apps also require you to use the Web interface to unlock their full potential. The apps correctly assume that the device under protection is primarily used by the child, and not the parent. This means most apps don’t allow parents to do much overseeing using the mobile app itself. (italics ours) Each app offers at least a baseline level of protection, but when it comes to keeping your kids secure online, it’s best not to cut corners.”

Is this the solution you want for your kids? PC Magazine wrote in one subheading, “Your Child’s Security? Priceless” and in another, “Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?” Has Android done any of this for your child?

 Apple Parental Controls Built in to iOS

Daniel Wroclawski, explains, “Apple’s iOS has far better parental controls. It includes granular controls for pretty much everything, even the ability to delete an installed app.” This same reviewer in discussing Restrictions, reports, “This feature is buried within the iOS Settings, but the amount of control it gives you is incredible. You can do everything from shut off cellular data to block use of the built-in camera.” Also this same reviewer says about Family Sharing, “While this feature has a number of different functions, the best is the way it handles purchases for your family.”

In the Apple ecosystem, the primary parental control tool is their Family Sharing plan. In other words, a parent can set up an account on iTunes or other services, be named as the designated owner, or ultimately responsible party, and then invite other members of their family into their account.

What this accomplishes is that children invited into the main account can’t just buy apps on their own. Instead, they’re prompted to “ask to buy,” and the owner of the account (the parent) gets the opportunity to review the request and approve or deny the purchase. Nothing of that sort exists in the Android ecosystem, which leaves it lagging far behind in terms of family security and control.

This control feature is, of course, only as good and robust as the amount of investigation the parents using it are willing to put into vetting the requests from their children, but if parental controls matter, then Apple devices are the clear winner, despite the added cost.

Connectech can assist you in setting up Apple Family Sharing and how to set this up for your family. Call 916 972 9000 or contact us.