SmyleSafe: Kids Safe Browser – web & app filter controls for Android (Apps for Parents)
Jul 31, 2012 8:28 AM –
SmyleSafe is a useful tool if you want to govern your child’s Internet access via their smartphone. While there are various controls you can install on your kids laptop or personal computer to safeguard against them stumbling upon something they shouldn’t while surfing, there are few solutions for smartphones. Not only this, SmyleSafe provides a range of handy additional features including location tracking and an online dashboard.
Price: Free 14 day trial, then $4.99 for the full version and $4.99 for the tablet version
Tested on: HTC Desire HD
Pros & Cons:
- Easy to use interface!
- Web dashboard!
- Different age range options!
- There seems to be a small delay on the blocking action, meaning I was successfully able to update and download apps via the Google Play Store despite SmyleSafe being installed.
- Might be viewed as a little intrusive and draconian, especially for older teens.
- Didn’t work at all on my HTC One X.
There are a variety of browser tools which can be implemented to monitor and secure the browsing experience of your child while on a laptop or PC. However, with more and more of our children having their own smartphones, a solution is required to cover this base too. SmyleSafe is such a solution for Android.
The app features a slew of really functional features. These include age-based filtering, so you can select your child’s age to ensure content they can view is appropriate for them. You can select Preschooler (3-6), Young kids and Pre-teens (7-13), Teens (14-17) or Older teens (18+). Location tracking: this tracks the location of your child and uploads it to the web interface. Geofencing: this will send you an email alert if your child wanders outside a designated area. Application blocking: this stops the child using certain apps- such as the native launcher and Google Play Store. The online dashboard is a simple and easy to use interface which lets you monitor your child’s activities from your own browser. It presents things like the top visited websites, blocked websites and the locations tracked. There are also content filtering, custom filters, time control and access to email alerts.
All this is incredibly comprehensive and a big leap from the likes of Play Safe, which I reviewed recently. I did find however, that there was a delay between opening up an app like Google Play Store (which is meant to be banned) and it actually being blocked. This 2-3 second window lets you use the app without issue. Essentially this meant I was able to download and update apps, even though Google Play Store was ‘blocked’.
I guess the other thing that bothered me was that, especially relating to usage on the devices of older teens, the measures seemed a little draconian. Surely it’s better to teach and advise children so they can make their own choice rather than simply locking a door? Personally, I trust my own kids and don’t need to track their movements and Internet usage. I appreciate some kids might need to be prevented from accessing stuff online, but if they hit their late teens surely they should be able to make their own decisions about such things. Just my opinion anyway.
That said, the settings that determine access to apps by time and date could be very useful for kids attending school. The app could essentially dictate that they cannot use apps like Facebook, Twitter or Messaging apps either until a certain time or when you give remote permission- perhaps when you know they’ve finished their homework?
SmyleSafe – Menu
SmyleSafe – Black and White listing
SmyleSafe – Restrict access times
SmyleSafe – Select days and times
SmyleSafe – Location settings
SmyleSafe – Set time
SmyleSafe – Select filtering level
SmyleSafe – App list
SmyleSafe – Application blocked
SmyleSafe – Blocked apps list
SmyleSafe – App blocked, but note I was still able to download something
SmyleSafe – Admin settings
The app is extremely functional and useful for monitoring your children’s web access and location. Content is permitted based on age, and there are a few options available. The web interface is a great way to control the app and monitor remotely.
Ease of Use:
The app is very easy to use, both when setting up in the app itself and using the web interface.
I guess if you install this on your kids device, it’s something that works all the time in the background and/or when your child is using the web, or trying to use blocked apps!
The interface is well designed and simple to use and navigate. I tend to find different types of apps have different priorities when it comes to design and UI and this is definitely a security style app. The UI is nice and serves a purpose but it’s not going to blow you away with slick animations and cutting-edge design principals.
Tags: Android App
, Android Apps
, AndroidTapp.com App Review
, How to Block Porn on Android
, SmyleSafe for Tablets
, SmyleSafe Kids Safe Browser
, SmyleSafe Parental Controls
Categorised in: Education