The Crazy Kitchen: Vodafone Guardian App - Review

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Vodafone Guardian App - Review

Last week I wrote how Vodafone had sent us one of their mobile phones in order for us to review their new Vodafone Guardian app, which aims to help keep children safer when using Smartphones.

The app is downloadable from the Android Market, along with an add on app that protects the Guardian app from being uninstalled and sends a text message to the parent contact if settings are removed or changed.

Once we'd installed Guardian on the phone we were presented with pre-set settings to choose, depending on the age of the child.

7-8 years old
Blocks Web and camera, incoming and outgoing calls and SMS and MMS from people who are not in your child's address book.

9-10 years old
Blocks incoming calls from witheld numbers

11-12 years old
There are no restrictions in place until you set the controls.

You are then asked to enter a password enabling you to control the settings of the app.

Once you select the settings that you want you can easily change any of them.

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Main features of the app:

Set active hours for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Camera and Browser - for example, if you want your child to take their phone with them when they go out to play but you don't want them accessing the Internet you can set the access times or disable access completely.

Set active hours for incoming /outgoing calls or texts - for example if you want to make sure that your child isn't sending or receiving calls in the middle of the night you can choose the time that you will allow these. Each feature can have different settings.

Set active hours for phone apps - or disable them completely, this can include the adding and removing of apps. This can give you complete control over whether your child can gain access to Twitter and Facebook for example.

You can also restrict who they receive calls and messages from - you might want to give your child the security of having their phone for walking to and from school but if you want to make sure that they don't get distracted by calls or messages from friends you can set the app to make sure the phone can only receive calls and messages from set numbers, for example a home number and parents mobile numbers at this particular time.

In the week a friend of mine was telling me that her 9 year old daughter had been very upset when she received a text from a 'friend' saying some mean things. Unfortunately she wasn't on Vodafone so was unable to download the Guardian app but if she was she could've stopped her daughter from receiving any more of these nasty messages. It's definitely something that I would like to have installed on my childrens's phones to stop any unwanted calls and bullying from 'friends'.

There is also an Emergency Override function which deactivates Guardian for 15 minutes and an email is sent to the Parent Contact to advise them of the override. It's a useful function if restrictions are in place that only enable your child to phone certain numbers and they are in difficulty and unable to get a response from those numbers - the Emergency Override would allow them to call other contacts for a period of 15 minutes, but it would also be possible to access all of their restricted apps too. If you feel that this would be open to abuse it is possible to deactivate the Emergency Override.

In my opinion  it is a very useful app which gives me piece of mind knowing that I know what my children can have access to via their phones. It is a bit tedious having to enter the password each time a setting needs to be changed, especially as there are no days of the week settings, just times so if you want your child to have different restrictions at the weekend you would need to keep changing them.

It's well worth installing this app if your child is on the Vodafone network and you have any concerns about what they can gain access to via their smartphone.

You can find out more about Guardian in the Vodafone Parents Guide.

I was sent a mobile phone for the purpose of reviewing this app.


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