For my book project I searched my moto E test phone (Android 5.1) user guide for “child” and “restriction” and “parental”. I found “products are not toys and may be hazardous to small children”.
Ooookaaay. That’s not too encouraging. My iPhone User Guide has an extensive discussion of restriction options.
Next I tried “restricted profiles” (Android 4.3 and later). Oops. They’re only for tablets, not phones. So it was time to look for 3rd party options .
Google found me some lousy references and two useful ones: Five parental control apps for Android devices - Pocket-lint and 10 Android Parental Control Apps - Yoursphere for Parents .
From these I picked up MMGuardian, Funamo, AppLock, Kids Place, Screen Time, Net Nanny, Norton Family and a few others. Between the set of these Android, for a technically sophisticated user, can have advantages over built-in iOS restrictions (iOS security models limit the value vendors can add).
I’m most interested in products that work for teens and/or adults with atypical minds, so that eliminated a few options. Next I looked for good quality companion web sites with clear pricing — that criterial took out both Norton Family and the (not-really-free) AppLock.
I ended up with four options:
- MMGuardian: app usage, time use, texts including driving. $35/year. iOS solution from same vendor.
- Screen Time: $48/year
- Net Nanny: browser restrictions, remote access. $60/year - primary focus on browser control.
- Funamo: $20 one time purchase.
Funamo is the value option, with a more limited and geekier web site than the competition. For my target users I think more support is needed. Net Nanny has the highest pricing, which may reflect longer tenure. MMGuardian and ScreenTime seem (hey, information is limited!) to have a good balance of price and value.
ScreenTime and MMGuardian both have well done blogs with working RSS feeds. ScreenTime is Android only, MMGuardian has an iOS product too. Both have a 14 day free trial. ScreenTime has 7,600 Play Store reviews, MMGuardian has 1,200. Both have well documented uninstall procedures. They are well balanced competitors.
I’m going to have to test both of them — since MMGuardian also has an iOS product I’ll start there.
- fn -
 Android reminds me so much of Windows; only geeks can truly use it. Why hasn’t Google bundled even minimal functionality into their OS? The sort-of-free AppLock has 3.3 million reviews. There is a need.
 There’s something broken in the info-sphere. Exactly two useful reviews?!
I can't understand why Kidslox is not in the list( I use this app and can say that it is very effective. It perfectly fits my needs as it has daily limits and content blocking features. I activated time limits for every day (1 hour for week days and 2 hours for weekend days). For now works fine for our family. In addition, I 'sleep safely' knowing that he has no access to adult content))) Naturally, we talked to him and explained why we started using the app. Seems like he understood.
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