With smartphone and tablet users getting younger, new apps can help
parents of 2-to-13-year-olds monitor and control their children's use of
A Pew Research Center study shows that more than
one-third of American teenagers own a smartphone, up from more than a
fifth in 2011. For nearly half of these users, the phone is their main
way of getting online, making it difficult for parents to supervise
"When you have a smartphone, you basically have
the Internet in your pocket wherever you are - away from your parents'
eyes," said Anooj Shah, a partner in Toronto-based company Kytephone,
which develops apps.
Kytephone's namesake app allows parents to
control the apps and sites their children use and the people they
receive texts and calls from.
The company on Monday released
Kytetime for 13-to-17-year-olds. The new app has many of the same
features as Kytephone but does not include the ability to block calls.
Earlier this month, Net Nanny, a monitoring software company, released a browser app for Apple Inc's iOS devices to filter Web content and block profanity.
and tablets have added new technology, with new challenges (for
parents) - full Web browsing capability, unlimited texting, access to
hundreds of thousands of good, bad and malicious apps," said Russ
Warner, chief executive officer of the Salt Lake City-based company.
Android version of Net Nanny, which sells for $12.99, can control which
apps a child uses. The app is also available for iOS devices, with
fewer applications, for $4.99.
The company is also introducing Net
Nanny Social, a subscription, Web-based tool to help parents monitor
problems such as cyberbullying, sexual predators and identity theft on
social networks including Facebook and Twitter. The service costs $19.99 per year.
parents of 2-to-8-year-olds, Boston-based Playrific has a free app with
a locked browser that allows only content suitable for children,
including educational videos, interactive games and books.
The app, available for Android, iPad and on the Web, curates content based on a child's interests, which it learns over time.
feel the limitless sense of what's on the Internet," said Playrific CEO
Beth Marcus, "but the parents know that it's not really limitless."
© Thomson Reuters 2013