Vodafone has released Guardian, a free Android app that allows parents to choose who can call or txt their child, or which internet sites and services they can access.
Guardian can restrict access during specified times, such as after hours .
Other phone functions such as accessing the camera, the internet, Bluetooth or downloading apps can be ‘timetabled’ or blocked altogether.
Russell Stanners, Vodafone New Zealand CEO, said Guardian gives parents choice.
"Many parents like the security of being able to keep in touch with their kids with a mobile phone, which far outweighs the risks from cyberbullying or unwanted contact. With Vodafone Guardian parents get all the benefits of their kids having a smartphone, without any of the worry.”
Vodafone Guardian can be set up using recommended guidelines for certain age ranges – for example, choosing the “7 to 8 years” age bracket disables the camera, internet and any incoming calls or TXTs from unknown callers. Alternatively, a parent can choose to set tailor each feature individually.
The app includes password protection which the parent can activate when first setting up the device.
Any unauthorised change to the settings triggers a txt message to the parent or caregiver. Older teenagers or even adults wishing to control who contacts them can use Vodafone Guardian to set features on their own phone without the need to use the password facility.
Mr Stanners said Vodafone Guardian is an important addition to the company’s growing suite of products aimed at building customers’ confidence in and control of technology. “We started on this journey last year with Vodafone Blacklist, which gives customers the power to block unwanted TXT and PXT messages. With more than 30,000 customers regularly using Blacklist, we know these kinds of services are meeting a real need in the community.”
Vodafone Guardian has been developed by The Vodafone Foundation and is being rolled out in eight countries around the world.
It is available for free (standard data charges apply*) from Android Market by searching for “Vodafone Guardian”, or by TXTing GUARDIAN to 898. More information is available at www.vodafone.co.nz/guardian.
The app only works with phones that run Google's Android software.