A mobile phone in the hands of your kid can be a liability. But it can also be guardian angel — it all depends on how it’s used. MobileKids is a free iPhone and Android app that enhances a phone’s guardian angel-like qualities while putting the liabilities on lockdown.
The first half of that equation is a “Child App” that puts three simple safety features with big, easy-to-read buttons on the phone for your kid to use: an SOS alarm that immediately tries to contact predetermined people you’ve programmed for the button. The second and third buttons are a location tracking feature and an “I’m here” button; both of these are avaiable in a variety of other apps, but having the buttons all in one place and easy to access makes a big difference when things get scary. All of this is free.
The Child app also gathers info on usage, and is able to limit access based on instructions from the Parent App, the second half of the equation. There’s a basic report about usage that’s free; beyond that, the premium feature set of detailed control of consumption (minute, data, text) limits, which apps they use, who they can contact and when they can use the phone, along with more detailed reports, is $6 a month — though everything is free through the end of February.