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Vodafone Guardian arrives to protect kids

by Alistair Lowe on 2 December 2011, 10:07

Tags: Vodafone (LON:VOD)

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Yesterday, Vodafone launched a new, free, application for its Android mobile devices named Vodafone 'Guardian', targeted at protecting children and preventing excessive bandwidth usage. The app is available now in the UK, Egypt, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain, with releases in other markets to follow next year.

The application will allow parents to:

  • Block unwanted contacts or mobile numbers to prevent malicious text message or calls, helping to combat the growing fear of cyber-bullying.
  • Redirect blocked text messages to a secure folder for access by a parent as evidence for any police enquiries.
  • Restrict outgoing calls to specific contacts, enabling parents to restrict the usage of the phone for emergencies or to help avoid running up large bills.
  • Limit when calls or certain apps may be used, as a way to enforce homework, bed times or simply limit a child's exposure to excessive gaming or time spent on their device. Call limiting can be made on a per contact basis.
  • Block all access to the internet during certain times, such as during the school day, at night or during all hours.
  • Deactivate the camera at times when parents are not around to restrict uneducated inappropriate sharing of photos online.
Other features activated by default:
  • Application will notify parents by text message if their child calls emergency services.
  • Calls made to child counselling hotlines are not recorded in the phone logs to ensure full confidentiality of the child.

This writer is not a parent, but can certainly recognise that this is one of the more comprehensive and sensible protective apps around and applauds Vodafone for making it available for free to parents. The application does not promote all-round restrictions or monitoring and focuses primarily on bullying, protection and appropriate usage, extending the guidance of parents to what is typically a very open and accessible communications channel to gain direct access to a child, a chink in the armour of typical parental protection.

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