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Smartphone parental guidance

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Parents and guardians can ensure children stay safe when using mobile phones with the launch of Mobiflock, a child safety service for smartphones. By using unprotected mobile phones children have unfettered access to the internet and other digital communication channels. Although child safety and parental control services are fairly established in the computer world, they are still evolving in the mobile space.

Mobiflock has been specifically designed for the mobile environment and its particular challenges. The service gives parents visibility over how their children are using their phones, who is contacting them and the content they are being exposed to, and which applications they are installing. Parents can then use Mobiflock to set personalised and appropriate limits in place for each of their children in order to protect them from harm. Alerts via email or text message warn parents about particularly dangerous activity.

‚The digital generation gap that exists between children and parents today is unprecedented. This is impacting moms’ and dads’ ability to be effective, proactive parents,‚ said Patrick Lawson, Mobiflock’s founder. ‚Some of the dangers children face today are familiar ones taking place in a new, online environment. Others, however, such as sexting and spending too much time online late into the night, are new ones.

‚We’ve built Mobiflock to equip parents with both the knowledge and the tools to keep their children safe.‚

Mobiflock undertook an informal survey of parents that showed that 95% of the parents spoken to wanted greater visibility on their child’s mobile phone usage, and 67% were concerned about how much money their child spent on their mobile phone.

The Mobiflock service allows parents to:

* Receive alerts about inappropriate content: cyber-bullying: sexting: predatory activity: spending too much time or money online.

* Find out who their children are contacting and who is contacting them. And what they are saying to each other.

* Control who their child contacts, who contacts them, time and money spent, information sent and received, and applications used.

* Locate where the child or a missing or stolen phone is.

* Set VIP contacts that their child can always contact in an emergency.

* Parents can also safeguard their own phone, especially if their child has access to it.

Mobiflock has been carefully designed to be as easy to use as possible, even for the most non-tech savvy people. The product consists of a small client that is downloaded onto the child’s handset, with monitoring, filtering and alerting happening server-side. Parents access security settings and reports via an easy to use online dashboard. Mobiflock encourages parents to discuss the use of the service with their children, and a small icon appears on the handset when Mobiflock is active so the child knows they are protected.

Mobiflock is currently available for newer Nokia Symbian handsets with additional operating systems coming soon. The beta version of the service is available for free download at www.mobiflock.com.

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