Vodafone launched an Android app to help protect children from inappropriate phone calls, messages and online content.
Called Vodafone Guardian, it provides parents and carers with more sophisticated controls than are available on smartphones, such as the ability to block specific contacts or phone numbers. The free app has been launched in Egypt, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the UK with other markets following next year.
Other tools include transferring inappropriate or unwanted text messages to a secure folder contained on the smartphone’s memory, which can then be accessed by parents. The content could be used as evidence by schools or police if cyber bullying is suspected.
The app can also restrict outgoing calls to individual contacts (parents, for example), specify times during which calls can or cannot be made or received, limit the time allowed on particular apps, and block internet access during specified times, whether it be 3G, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Likewise, the phone’s camera can be disabled at specific times, such as when parents aren’t around to advise children what content is appropriate to share online.
The app can also send a text message to a parent or carer if the child calls the emergency services. However, calls to counselling services such as Childline are not recorded in the call log, protecting the confidentiality of children.
Vodafone has also launched the Digital Parenting app which provides information and advice to parents and carers to help children benefit from using smartphones while addressing safety concerns.