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Vodafone Android app babysits lazy parents' kids

Won't someone think of the children ... oh, they did

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Vodafone has launched an app to help middle-class parents who've equipped their offspring with Android handsets to control what their ankle-biters see and hear.

Using the free-to-all Vodafone Guardian app a parent can limit specific applications to specific times, as well as restricting outgoing calls/texts and ignoring incoming ones from blacklisted numbers. With an additional patch, which is equally free, parents can even get a text alert should the child decide to uninstall the operator-provided guardian.

Text messages from specific numbers can be logged in a secure store, if bullying is suspected, and outgoing calls can be controlled by number and time – so calls to friends can be limited to evenings, while calls to parents at any time can be allowed.

What's perhaps most interesting of all is that the software also removes entries in the call log relating to Childline – the confidential child-support charity – so the child is free to complain about parental censorship without mum or dad ever finding out.

Today's parents are struggling to control children's access to the internet; software installed on the home computer is clearly ineffective in the age of iPhones and tablets. Despite that, a surprising number of parents still rely on desktop software without realising the rest of the household hardware remains unprotected.

Liberals might argue that children should be taught to deal with the real world, but anyone who's used the internet for a while has seen things that made them want to wash behind the eyeballs, and the desire to prevent children bumping into such content needn't be unreasonable.

Using technology to prevent children playing games at specific times is, undeniably, lazy parenting, but then smartphones have made so many other aspects of our lives easier, why not make parenting easier too? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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