Smartphone monitoring solutions for parents and kids
The MMGuardian Phone, a parental control and monitoring solution for your child’s mobile needs, aims to address the rising concern of how to raise mentally healthy kids in the digital era. To provide parents with tools to manage and monitor their children’s smartphone usage, the new MMguardian Samsung Galaxy A14 Phone has parental control functions pre-loaded, and is a great way to safeguard your kids against the many online dangers in today’s world. In this review, we’ll explore the pros and cons of the MMGuardian Phone to help parents decide whether it’s the right solution for their family.
Digital safety for children in the digital era
In an era where children and teenagers are increasingly connected to the digital world, concerns about their safety and well-being have grown. As a parent of a 12-year-old, I realize that this digital age we live in doesn’t allow me to sit idly by and allow my child unlimited and unmonitored access to his devices and the internet.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhat aware that protection in this manner is necessary — our culture has received a wake-up call with the rising statistics about mental health issues growing amongst young people today associated with screen time — social media indoctrination, suicidal thoughts, cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, drugs, screen addiction, online predators, and more.
Thankfully, families now have many options to monitor their children’s devices to keep them safe. I hope this article will be a helpful aid in your decision as you do your research on what kid’s phone might best serve your family.
As a parenting educator, I’ve written my fair share of reviews about smartphones and monitoring apps for kids. I consider it an important aspect of my content because, let’s face it, what parent isn’t facing challenges regarding this topic? So before I ever recommend anything, my 12-year-old son and I test out the phone to see how things work and can relay our experience to you.
Let’s delve into some features of the MMGuardian Phone, weigh some pros and cons, and get you one step closer to figuring out if this is the right phone for you.
What is the MMguarian Phone for kids?
The MMguardian Phone is designed to safeguard your child in the digital world with screen time management, SMS and message monitoring solutions, and web filtering options. The MMguardian parental control app can monitor both Android and iOS devices. The phone, however, is a Samsung Galaxy A14 Phone (an upgrade from various competitors that offer the Samsung Galaxy A13) with the Android operating system and the MMguardian app already installed.
Parents have full control of features through the MMguardian parent app.
With industry-standard parental control features, this phone is a great option if you’re looking for a phone that safeguards your child against the various digital dangers of today.
What does the MMguardian Phone offer that other kids’ phones don’t?
For starters, I would like to point out some features the MMGuardian Phone has that others don’t. I find this extremely helpful when weighing my options.
- It has the option of web filters on a web browser of your choosing, including incognito/private mode – I know most parents would be hesitant about this, but hear me out. Most kids’ phones and parental control apps can’t do in-app monitoring simply because of the app’s limitations. YouTube, for example, is not an app that allows parental control filtering of a third party. But when your child accesses it through their web browser, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, it doesn’t matter which one; it can be monitored and controlled. Obviously, you could disallow the download of said apps on their phone altogether, but I often found it frustrating that my son couldn’t access the internet on his phone to look up school-related topics or watch an educational YouTube video. Since YouTube has become our go-to website for educational and entertainment purposes, I think this feature benefits kids as they mature and are given more digital freedoms.
- Parents can access all text messages, or chat messages in the most popular social media apps, including deleted messages on their child’s device. This means that you aren’t simply alerted to a possibly dangerous conversation, but you can access ALL messages at all times. This is a great option for kids who aren’t yet mature enough to have private conversations or use code words to skirt around setting off parental alerts. You can access all messages at all times. Should kids have privacy in their conversations? Perhaps some. But I like the idea of knowing I can check in occasionally to ensure my kids have safe conversations throughout all platforms.
- It runs on a Samsung Galaxy A14 – an upgrade from most kids’ phone competitor options.
How much does the MMGuardian Phone Cost?
Another determining factor for parents is cost. What I love about this phone is that it allows you to get a SIM card to use whatever network you wish. Other phones have limitations in this regard or have their own network altogether — a pro for some and a con for others. With a low monthly subscription rate of $9.99/mo or $120/year, the upfront payment for the phone itself, and whatever network costs you incur, you’re looking at a pretty decent price. The phone itself runs at $289 for the Samsung Galaxy A14, but if you purchase the yearly subscription, you get it for $229. You can also use Affirm financing if that is too steep for you and you want to pay over time.
MMGuardian Phone Features
The MMGuardian Phone operates within a Samsung Galaxy A14 and has many features to consider.
- Location Tracking – GPS Tracking that cannot be turned off on child’s device
- The option of having a monitored web browser – parent’s choice
- TimeLimits and Lock Unlock – Screen time management and app controls (App Control can be used to not just block or allow apps, but to block apps at selected times of the day, or to assign “Daily Limits” (eg, only 30 mins a day for “Games”)
- Hack proof controls
- Option to have ANY app installed by parents’ choice
- Monitored SMS text messages and messages within apps, including the most popular social media apps – access to all texts and messages at all times across all apps
- Optional Social Media apps – parent’s choice
- Safety alerts on texts and messages
- Call blocks on spam and strangers and monitoring of contacts
- Find the phone siren and remote lock and wipe
- Easy setup and user-friendly dashboard for parents
My review so far after using the MMGuardian Phone
After getting the MMGuardian Phone for my son, the setup was easy and straightforward. Given I am sometimes technically challenged, I did have some user-issues, but got things sorted with the help of the MMguardian team.
My son is delighted with the phone itself, in particular the fact that it’s a newer Samsung model and has better features, including the camera. He LOVES to take pictures so this was a big plus for him.
Things to consider after testing things out
So far, the MMGuardian Phone does everything it says it does. I tested out texting or calling a number that was not approved yet. That worked and I was notified when I tried to text someone not approved on the contact list. I tested to make sure all the controls I set in place translated over correctly, including the daily schedule, the app restrictions, the web filtering, etc. Everything worked.
What I wish were different
I wish there was a way for my son to request adding a contact through his phone (let’s say he was with friends and wanted to add their contact. It would be nice if he could type it in his phone and send a request to add with a note on who it is, but it seems the only way to add a new contact is for me to do that manually through my parent app.) So he will have to jot down their number and later show me so I can add it in. A preference of mine that could be a minor con for some.
Disabled apps are still visible on phone
I was a little confused initially when I disabled certain apps I didn’t want him to have. I was under the impression that the apps would disappear off his phone, but they remain visible yet unaccessible. Because I didn’t know this, I thought it wasn’t working overall or translating over from the parental control app, but this wasn’t the case and I would have discovered that had I opened each app itself and saw that there was a block.
I had to contact the team and they told me that if I want the apps removed, they could do so on their end. I don’t mind the apps being on there as long as they can’t be accessed, but it was a little unclear that the apps would remain on the phone. You could translate this to a user error, but it would have been nice to know that the apps would remain visible. I could have missed this somewhere, too.
I checked every app that I disabled and everything worked correctly. MMguardian prides itself on hack proof controls and I have tested this to be true. I will update if anything changes.
If they find out the password, this could happen
I found that I am NOT notified (Let’s say my child figured out my admin password and used it to enable an app) when the password is entered within a disabled app and made accessible. I would rather be notified here, especially since all the disabled apps are still present on the phone.
To prevent this, make sure your child does not know your password, and use one that you don’t use anywhere else. I had to change mine, because it’s one I use often and I realized my son probably knows it. I’m not assuming he would do so, but the temptation is there. I could also eliminate this issue if I had the team delete the disabled apps off the phone altogether. But I’m not sure what the process would be to get them back on if I decide to add them later on.
What I liked
I like that the messages are all there for me to see if I need, not just a notification of something that might be harmful. This is something parents might prefer to be different for privacy issues, but I find it helpful given my son is only 12. Parents can also disable the “detailed” reports for privacy reasons, and just rely on the Safety Alerts if desired.
I also like that I can have the option to have a filtered web browser for when he’s older.
The phone is good quality and the case is also nice, given my son is prone to dropping things. I feel confident that with the parental controls I have chosen will do what they say they will do and I can allow my son full access to his phone. I don’t have to worry about taking it away because the daily time limits are there.
Changes translate over immediately
When I change anything from the parent app it translates right away and I don’t need to wait, which is nice.
I’ll keep updating as I go along
If I experience any issues along the way, I will update you here.
So far, I found the MMGuardian phone to be a great option for a kid’s phone that has their safety in mind. As with anything, it’s important to stay alert and aware of how your child is using their phone as there might be loopholes. Also be aware that the in app monitoring is limited given the third party restrictions. This is true of any kid’s phone that has parental control apps on it.
A firm foundation above all else
I recommend having an open and honest relationship with your child that goes beyond rules. Be the person they can open up to and ask questions. This is the best way you can safeguard your child – to be an approachable parent who cares about their hearts over their behavior. But also remember that just because you think your child would never do something, does not mean they won’t. They’re human and imperfect, which is why this accountability is necessary, especially given how easy it is to access all kinds of dangers within social media and the internet. The digital world is continually finding creative ways to reach our children, indoctrinate them, and take advantage of them. We have to stay educated, aware, and do the best we can to protect them.
The setup process of the MMGuardian Phone is designed to be user-friendly and straightforward for parents. Here’s an overview of the steps involved:
1. Purchase the MMGuardian Phone: Start by obtaining the MMGuardian Phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy A14. You can choose to buy it upfront or opt for Affirm financing to pay over time. When you purchase the phone, the email and password you chose will be used later in completing your parental account on your parent app.
2. Download the MMguardian Parent App and create a Parent Account: Download the MMguardian Parent App from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, depending on your mobile device, even before the phone arrives to play around in demo mode. You’ll need to provide some basic information and follow the prompts to create a secure login using the same email address and password used for the purchase of the phone.
3. Setup the MMGuardian Phone: Once you receive your child’s new MMGuardian phone, you will see that the MMGuardian App is already downloaded on the phone for easy setup.
4. Setting up Child’s Device: When the MMGuardian phone is registered, it will be automatically connected to the account, and will show up in the parent phone app.
5. Customize Settings: Once the child’s device is connected, you can customize the settings and preferences according to your needs. This includes options such as web filtering, time limits, app controls, location tracking, and more. The MMguardian Parent App offers a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to easily manage and monitor these settings from your own phone.
6. Test and Confirm: After customizing the settings, it’s essential to test and confirm that they are working correctly. Monitor your child’s device to ensure that the desired restrictions and monitoring features are functioning as intended.
7. Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustment: With the setup complete, you can now actively monitor and manage your child’s smartphone usage through the MMguardian Parent App. Regularly review the app’s reports, alerts, and activity logs to stay informed about your child’s digital activities and make any necessary adjustments to the settings.
What’s nice is that the MMguardian support team is available to provide guidance and assistance if needed.
Potential drawbacks of the MMguardian Phone
While the MMGuardian Phone offers several useful features for parental control and monitoring, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks before making a decision. Here are a few factors to keep in mind, but rest assured these potential drawbacks are true for ANY kid’s phone or parental control app:
1. Device Compatibility: The MMGuardian Phone is currently running through an Android device, specifically the Samsung Galaxy A14. If you or your child prefers a different smartphone brand or operating system, this may not be the ideal choice for you.
2. Monthly Subscription Cost: The MMGuardian Phone requires a monthly subscription fee of $9.99/month or an annual cost of $120. While the price is reasonable for the services provided, it can add to the overall expenses of parenting.
3. Initial Investment: In addition to the subscription cost, there is an upfront payment for the MMGuardian Phone itself, starting at $289 for the Samsung Galaxy A14 ($229 if 12mo parental control service is purchased). This initial investment may be a deciding factor for some parents, especially if they are on a tight budget.
4. App Limitations: While the MMGuardian app offers comprehensive monitoring and control features, there are some limitations when it comes to monitoring specific apps or platforms. For example, whilst text messages exchanged using many social media apps like Snapchat or WhatsApp can be monitored and reported, it can not block those social media messages. This is unlike the case for normal SMS texts, which can be blocked using Contact Block, as well as monitored and reported.
5. Technical Issues: Like any digital solution, there is always a possibility of technical glitches or compatibility issues with different devices or operating system updates. It’s important to keep this in mind and be prepared for any troubleshooting that may be needed.
Each family’s needs and preferences may vary, so it’s crucial to carefully consider these potential drawbacks and weigh them against the benefits provided by the MMGuardian Phone before making a decision.
FAQ about the MMGuardian Phone
1. Is the MMGuardian Phone free to use?
As with any other kid’s phone, there usually comes a monthly cost. So the short answer is, no, MMGuardian is not free to use. It has a monthly subscription cost of $9.99/month or an annual cost of $120. However, there is an upfront payment for the phone itself, which starts at $289 ($229 for 12 mo plan) for the Samsung Galaxy A14.
2. What features does the MMGuardian Phone offer for parental control and monitoring?
The MMGuardian Phone includes features such as web filtering, time limits, app controls, location tracking, SMS and message monitoring, safety alerts, call blocks, and more. It aims to provide comprehensive tools for parents to safeguard their children in the digital world.
3. Can I monitor specific apps on my child’s device with the MMGuardian Phone?
While the MMGuardian app offers extensive monitoring and control features, there may be limitations when it comes to monitoring specific apps or platforms. Some third-party apps may have restrictions on message monitoring or content filtering. If you feel uncomfortable with a certain app, you can block it altogether to eliminate any potential dangers.
4. How user-friendly is the setup process for the MMGuardian Phone?
The setup process for the MMGuardian Phone is designed to be straightforward and user-friendly. It involves purchasing the phone, downloading the MMguardian Parent App, creating a parent account, connecting the child’s device, customizing settings, and testing and confirming the desired restrictions and monitoring features.
5. What if I encounter technical issues or need assistance during the setup or usage of the MMGuardian Phone?
The MMGuardian support team is available to provide guidance and assistance if needed. They can help troubleshoot technical issues and provide support throughout the setup and ongoing usage of the MMGuardian Phone.
Remember to reach out to MMGuardian’s customer support for more detailed and personalized answers to any specific questions you may have about the MMGuardian Phone. They are more than happy to help!