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First phone for son - Questions? Parental control?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by CZSteve, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. CZSteve

    CZSteve Newbie
    Thread Starter

    We're about to purchase a first phone for our 11 yr old son; currently looking at the Samsung Admire from Metro PCS running Android 2.3

    Both my wife and I have corp phones, thus reason looking at Metro PCS; she has an i-phone and I have an Evo 4G via Sprint.

    Overall he's a great kid and was also just moved into the Gifted & Talented program @ school - figured we'd reward him w/ a phone a few months ahead of his b-day.

    - What's the general consensus around here from others with 11-12 yr old kids and having a phone w/ a data plan and internet access?
    - After a brief glance on my Evo I did not see anywhere to set parental controls to limit internet access / content.

    Am I missing a standard option with Android to set parental controls or is there a recommended App available?



  2. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    This is a really touchy subject, and every situation is different. There is a lot of trust that has to be given here to your son if you're going to be giving him a smart phone. Personally, even though I'm in love with technology if my son was that age for his first phone he wouldn't be getting a smartphone.

    I personally would want to see how he handles a regular phone first. That being said, if you want to give him the go ahead, there are in fact several parental control applications that can assist you, but I wouldn't count on them.

    Pulling from personal experience, I was able to easily defeat any type of restrictions my parents always tried to put on our computers, and all it took was a bit of trial and error.

    With the proliferation of internet access everywhere, all it would take is a few simple searches on Google to figure out how to bypass your parental control applications at will, and put them back and you'd never know wiser.

    With that being said, here are a couple applications that might help you with your endeavors.

    Mobile Security Personal Edition - Trend Micro USA


    I would also suggest rooting the device yourself, install SuperUser Elite, and set a PIN. This should make it much harder to work around, but not anywhere near impossible.

    Good luck, and if you need help implementing anything I said here feel free to ask. :)
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    My sister got her first smartphone at 14. Considering that she isn't really a techie, she just lets me maintain the phone for her. She asks me to set it up, put new games every now and then, and that's that. She isn't interested in other functions apart from gaming in smartphones (she has a Galaxy Fit), so we're considering just giving her an iPod.

    It would be entirely based on how much you trust your child with such a device and his own interests. If he is a responsible kid, I don't see much reason why not to give him something as a reward, although I'll probably keep to lower end smartphones, or iPods or Android players. Kids are more likely to lose the stuff so keeping things on the less expensive side is something to note.
  4. Omar Days

    Omar Days Android Expert

    Nokia 3310 is what my kid would get. Best parental control there is.

    Thinking back to when I was a kid, all we had was pics made up commas, full stops and hyphens that we'd send to our mates in text messages.

    My mind would've literally exploded being able to log on to YouPorn on my phone as a youngster lol
  5. ouch1976

    ouch1976 Android Enthusiast

    Get him a dumb phone...no need for all the bells and whistles...he should only be using it to call you in an emergency...you have two years before he's a teenager, and that's when he's gonna want to text, surf, etc...save yourself the aggravation and get him a dumb phone...
  6. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    And despite that limitation, it was still possible to send lewd messages.

    Besides, do parental controls really work? Particularly if the kid is smart? My parents have never bothered and given I'm more technically inclined than them and I do all the PC troubleshooting and everything, I think I could've worked around parental control software had they installed one.

    If you give your child an internet connected device that he/she will be able to use without your supervision, the best thing you can do is trust your child and hope that you've raised him/her well to make the right decisions.

    That said, if you do get him an Android, it might be a good idea to install GPS tracking software on the phone in case of emergencies or if the phone is lost/stolen. I lived in a dorm during high school so a cellphone was a must and I've had a couple of phones stolen (I always lock the door, one of my roommates didn't). Just be sure to let your kid know a tracking software is installed.
  7. Omar Days

    Omar Days Android Expert

    A pair of boobies made up of commas etc, or dvda action on xvids?
  8. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    This pretty much. Still, it was very easy to get the other kind via sneakernet (at that time copying to blank CDs), not that I participated in those trades of course. ;)
  9. CZSteve

    CZSteve Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the feedback.
    I'm usually very conservative especially with the kids...he's fine swinging an aluminum bat instead of the latest / greatest composite...even though greatest is still our for debate...otherwise he'd prob have a composite now... :cool:

    To keep w/ my normal routine I'm down to over thinking all of this with four-five options.
    - Flip phone from Metro PCS: ~ $20-30 for the phone & $40 per month.
    - Samsung Freeform 3 @ MPCS (B-Berry style): $50 phone & $40 / month.
    - Samsung Admire @ MPCS (Android 2.3): $80 phone & $50 / month.
    - Go Phone: Haven't looked into them yet.
    - Old i-phone 3GS: Unlock and pre-paid?

    Last consideration is that he has an old i-phone 3GS that he currently uses as an i-pod, games, & wifi where he can (yes, I know - he has access now but always when we're around and sure he's not doing porn - yet...concern is when he's away and especially around other kids).

    Can an older i-phone be used with a pre-paid card? If so, what's involved? Require jailbreaking?

    Assuming we go with a new phone from Metro PCS the bang-for-buck is between the Freeform & Admire.
    - Both are technically smart phones.
    - Freeform plan available @ $40 / mo; Admire @ $50.
    - More features / bang-buck w/ the Admire.
    - More games that he's accustomed to with the Admire.
    - Yes, correct he does not NEED the Admire pro's.

    I like the idea of installing a snooping program as a safety measure.

    Enough already and just get him a couple Dixie cups and wax string?? :p
  10. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    With the iPhone 3GS, you don't have to unlock or jailbreak. You could just get an AT&T GoPhone Prepaid SIM card and use that. If you're expecting low usage, it's a pretty good option as you can load a $25 refill card which is good for 3 months (90 days to be exact). Cost for calls is $0.10/min which gets deducted from the balance. I suggest adding a messaging package since text is pretty expensive ($0.20/msg).

    Just a thought, instead of you paying the monthly fee for service, have your kid pay for the refills himself from his allowance. $25 every 3 months isn't that much. It also would teach him fiscal responsibility. I got my first cellphone when I was around your son's age (12). Since I was the one who had to pay for service, I was really careful with my usage. I always had credit left to roll over when it was time to reload.

    This might actually be a better idea if you don't want your kid having easy internet access wherever he may be as by default, AT&T blocks smartphones internet access unless you buy a data feature package (which are pretty pricey). The iPhone also requires extra fiddling since you don't get easy access to change APN settings.
  11. CZSteve

    CZSteve Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks rui - didn't realize it was as simple as getting a pre-paid SIM and plugging into the 3GS; we'll probably do that for awhile.
    I'm guilty just as the kids by making things harder than it is some times...

  12. andyk85

    andyk85 Newbie

    Can't bear the thought of losing one Android fan to Apple. :) As a father myself, I have tried almost every parental control tools on Android market. Last week, I found a new app called Funamo. I was quite impressed. The web filtering is definitely the best. You can also set password, set time limit on apps. Pretty cool. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=funamo.funamo
  13. candroid11

    candroid11 Well-Known Member

    I don't think an 11 year old needs a phone with data and internet capabilities. And I am not some old fart saying this. I am only 22. I didn't even get a cell phone until I was 18, and that didn't have any fancy features at the time. I understand the desire to have a phone, especially for safety and things like that, but I would keep it fairly simple. Data and internet is only going to lead to trouble. Just my opinion.
  14. itsallgood

    itsallgood Android Expert

    We have two teenagers with cell phones. One is 18 now, got his first dumb phone at 14 to text/call me and my wife when he got out of school. (He now has a smart phone, that he will decide if he's going to pay for the data package.) Our 14 yrs old, got his first dumb phone at 13, for the same reason as his older brother.

    We use AT&T parental controls to monitor phone calls, who they are texting, data usage, spending limits and when they can make phone calls and send text. (But they can text/call us anytime.) Just from experience, you might trust your child, but those they hand around can't be trusted. I believe you give a child to much freedom, they will get into things that you would never know. (I'm speaking from experience of myself, when I was a child/teenager.)

    As far as parental apps, I don't know of any, but believe that they can get around them in one way or another. The best parental controls you have is to not get a smartphone and just get a featured phone. (You can text with them too.)
  15. Adauth

    Adauth Android Expert

    IMO an 11-12 year old doesn't need a phone with internet and data.
    Just my $.02
  16. andyk85

    andyk85 Newbie

    I have to disagree with the last three posts. Smartphone and tablets are amazing educational tools. There have been many studies on this. They enhance kids learning. I think even for games, particularly mobile games, as long as it is controlled, it is good for kids development.

    Smartphones are replacing dumb phones, that's the trend that no one can stop. So why not embrace it and make it safe. I put Funamo on my kids' phone and tablet, and I feel pretty comfortable giving them to my kids. It filters out porn sites/bad youtube videos, it makes search safe. I only allow them to play games, watch youtube half hour in the evening. It has password protection so kids cannot disable it or uninstall it. I have a 12 years old myself. I think at that age, they are not actively looking for bad stuff on the web. I am more concerned about they accidentally run into those stuff. Before I had parental control setup, whenever I saw they watch Tom and Jerry on Youtube, it might be one click away from something horrible.

    I know no parental control is perfect. Each kid is also different. But I disagree that we should not adopt new technology for our kids because there are good parental control solutions out there. You can try it out and here is the link to the market

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