Recently, Larry Polhill was notified of the fact that a father in the Valley was able to rescue his son from inappropriate sexual attentions from his teacher. He was able to achieve this by having a monitoring app installed on his son’s cellphone. While many people feel that monitoring a cellphone is an invasion of privacy, Larry Polhill explains that this example is exactly why parents should consider it. Indeed, according to law, it is perfectly legal to do so with a minor who is under your care.
The father in question had set his monitoring app up to alert him when specific activities were conducted or keywords were used. He received an alert and quickly found sexually explicit text messages between his son and his teacher. The father immediately informed the police and appropriate action was taken, thus preventing the teacher from taking advantage of the student.
What Larry Polhill found particularly interesting in this case was that the police was not aware of the app’s existence. He explains that we now live in a digital age and this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. While it means that people can easily contact each other behind the scenes, it also means that parents can be better empowered to keep their children safe without restricting their development and freedom of movement.
According to Polhill, there are now many different apps and solutions available that can help parents in this. They range from simple tracking apps to those that monitor every incoming and outgoing message on the cellphone itself. It is up to the parents to decide what they feel is most appropriate for their personal situation. Making that decision, however, can be quite complex. That said, Larry Polhill is keen to provide some advice on how parents can choose the one that will work best for them.
The Three Best Apps According to Larry Polhill
Polhill has conducted a significant piece of research that has enabled him to choose the three best apps around. Each of these has its own pros and cons and they are certainly not the only apps out there. Hence, he does not suggest that parents should avoid those he has not listed, just that the following three are his personal favorites.
This is an app that enables parents to limit how much time their children can spend using a screen. It is also set up in such a way that children cannot delete it themselves. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to set it up properly.
This particular app provides a great deal of control and access, more so than other monitoring apps on the market today. Specifically, parents can see which apps their kids used, what they wrote through those, and who they are in communication with.
ESET Parental Control
Out of the three, this one is the easiest to set up. It is also incredibly user friendly. However, its usage is pretty limited as it is merely designed to block certain apps and filter websites according to preset parameters.
Larry Polhill explains that there is no such thing as the perfect app for everybody. Rather, it depends on what the parents’ particular concerns are with their children. Some, for instance, simply want to make sure that they know where their children are at all times, whereas others want to find out whether their kids are being targeted by cyberbullies. Additionally, budget may be a concern because most of these apps operate on a subscription service as they require constant communication between different devices. The fee varies, but is usually between $30 and $100 for a full year.
Polhill also explains that, in order for an app to work, it must be installed on the children’s device first and that must then be connected to the parent’s cellphone. This is why Polhill believes that it is best that both parties have the same operating system, whether it is Android or iOS, as this makes it easier for the apps to sync and provide accurate readings. Additionally, he explains that Android currently has more options available in terms of tracking, simply because Apple has its Family parental control feature as a standard.
Polhill always advises parents that technology should not be their only parenting source, however. He explains that it is equally important that parents have open and honest conversations with their children and that they put rules and guidelines in place in terms of how their electronic devices can be used. The apps should be used simply to check every once in a while to determine whether the children are sticking to those rules.