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Many parents consider it perfectly normal to control their children’s access to the Internet through a computer. It’s surprising that this is not the case with smartphone use: Kids usually have full access to the Internet, usually all day long – with all the benefits and risks. Parental control apps can help in this regard. Tested, evaluated, and partially awarded for 16 security options for Android and Apple iOS devices.
What features does each parental control software need? If you ask parents, they will often shrug their shoulders at this question. Because parents usually do not know the technical possibilities and therefore have no idea what makes the app well equipped. At the very least, parental control software should be reliable and block access to inappropriate content. These key criteria, along with other features, have been reviewed in tests of digital security applications. The test tested 13 apps for Android devices and three apps for Apple iOS, where the internal security features of Apple iOS are also considered an app.
Android Parental Control Apps
The focus of the test was naturally on filtering online content. Parental control software should prevent anything that is not suitable for children. On the other hand, websites suitable for errors should not be blocked. In addition, additional protection measures were evaluated because the application also protects itself from children with very talented technical skills – that is, whether the application can be defeated or simply turned off. However, the test also included features such as device location, Facebook protection, or potential internet time restrictions.
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In the final part of the test, testers rated the performance of the apps reports. This included, for example, whether they stored website browsing history, blocked check-ins, or registered requested and blocked email addresses. Because many parents also want to know if the protection is working well and what their little angels are doing online.
For comparison, each format offered in the apps was chosen for seven-year-olds. Parental control apps usually offer three or four preset formats.
The test included 13 Android apps, two iOS apps and the built-in iOS parental control app. Android Norton Family Premier protectors from Symantec and Zift from Content Watch have undergone comprehensive certification testing. As a result, they were required to complete many more tests and filters than other slots.
In the iOS domain, Safe Kids apps from Kaspersky Lab and Norton Family Premier from Symantec have passed the certification exam. The results of the iOS internal security app provided a comparison.
Parental Control Apps For Android & Apple Ios
In the test, all apps had to filter out more than 7,100 web pages with inappropriate content and then 3,500 web pages with relevant content. In this test, a good app should block as many irrelevant sites as possible, leaving relevant sites alone. This is a difficult task, because if the filtering technology is too aggressive, many normal websites will also be blocked. This causes the child to annoy and confuses the parents with questions about why a particular website is not working. This needs to be prevented.
However, the filter test only works on the Android test platform. Apple iOS is designed so restrictively that testing is not technically feasible. The filter works, but the system does not provide any data for evaluation.
In all apps that did not participate in the certification test, the following three categories were tested for direct comparison, in addition to pornography: fun games, dating and meeting, as well as illegal data exchange and file sharing. These test devices were important for the following reason: toys provide children with an internal possibility to purchase expensive accessories. For dating and meeting sites, kids are at risk of entering into an online romantic relationship with disguised adult pedophiles. In the field of file sharing, parents can take responsibility for their children, which can be costly.
In the porn category alone, each app had to filter 1,400 web pages. In this field, a large number of applications have demonstrated strong filtering capabilities in this category. Applications from Symantec and Trend Micro showed the greatest sensitivity. They filtered out 99.8 and 99.7% of pornographic websites, but still allowed 96.4 and 96.5% of relevant websites.
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Certainly, private baby monitor apps from Kiddoware and Mobicip had a high blocking rate, but only because they blocked so many – more than 20% of suitable websites.
Additional categories of gaming, dating, and meeting, as well as illegal data and file sharing, were evaluated for comparison across all apps. Some test scores are very poor, despite the current filter categories. Apps from ARS Nova Systems, Kiddoware, and Salfeld filter only between 9.9 and up to 44 percent of web pages. Qustodio reviews are pretty low too. Other tools were partially lacking in categories. Therefore, these test numbers are shown in gray in the table.
Website filtering partners include search engines like Google etc. Therefore, the SafeSearch feature can be enabled in many parental control apps as a protection for the browser’s search engine. Therefore, search engines that do not offer secure search features cannot be used. These Android apps offer protection feature: ARS Nova Systems, Content Watch, F-Secure, Infoweise, Kiddoware, Mobicip, Qustodio, and Symantec. All iOS apps tested also include the feature in the bundle.
In addition, the test examined whether it was possible to overcome the openings or even provide shutdown protection. This feature is included in all Android gadgets except for products from Pribno and Trend Micro. All iOS apps also protect themselves.
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Of course, additional security measures were tested on parental control apps in the certification test. For example, bypass blocked websites with a proxy server. Android apps from Content Watch and Symantec prevent this. In iOS apps, only Symantec detects this interrupt.
The next trick is to query the blocked sites from the Google cache or a copy of the page translated by Google (Google Translate). For cached versions, only the Android version of Symantec fell. All other programs have detected and prevented phishing. Only iOS apps from Symantec and Apple prevented the trick with Google Translate – all other apps in this field can be bypassed.
Android apps from Content Watch and Symantec, as well as iOS apps from Kaspersky Lab and Apple, offer the ability to block apps. For many parents, locating the device is an important feature. All applications in the certification test provided this feature.
With the help of notification features, parents can keep track of all the activities of their kids on the mobile phones. Depending on the application, it is also possible to display pre-defined rules where the violation has been or at least attempted the violation. Android apps from Bitdefender, Content Watch, ESET, Mobicip, Qustodio, Salfeld, Symantec, and Trend Micro provide an overview of all violations. In iOS apps, apps from Kaspersky Lab and Symantec publish reports. Internal iOS features don’t record anything.
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Certificates in the certification test also determine whether there are lists of websites visited and blocked along with the search process. All of these features were available with Android apps from Content Watch and Symantec. iOS apps from Kaspersky Lab and Symantec also offer these features. The internal Apple app does not log this type of information.
Content Watch only provides the history of locked apps. However, only Symantec’s Android app determines when to use apps.
Testing indicates that the market offers some good parental control software. Even parents without technical skills can protect and monitor their children’s internet access as well through an app.
Many programs are good at filtering inappropriate web pages and do not block normal web pages. This prevents frustration among children and increases familiarity with the program.
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It is important to remember that Android is not even a basic protection for children, unlike iOS. While the protection that iOS provides isn’t very detailed, at least it’s there. That is why parental control app is essential in Android devices for kids.
The truth is that there are good baby monitor apps for Android and iOS devices. And protecting children costs something, everyone should be able to put this small amount into their children.
Coincidence: Some programs were also released for Windows and Mac computers. The laboratory has also recently tested these products. In addition to the results, the article also described the principle of parental control software testing: “Testing: This is how parental control software actually works.”
For some parents, the smartphone of a seven-year-old is a silly idea, but for others it is taken for granted. This is how children use it
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