MMGuardian Blog

MMGuardian 3.0 Beta Test

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Please note that the new features described below are now included in the normal release version of the apps

We are currently Beta testing a new version of the MMGuardian Parental Control app for Android. This includes a built-in SMS/MMS Messaging app, to allow for blocking of SMS messages, and auto-fallback to use SMS Commands in the Parent App, if there are data communications issues.

Beta version of the MMGuardian Parental Control child phone app, and the Parent App for a parent’s phone are now available on PlayStore.

If you would like to get early access to these features by joining the Beta test, please refer to the notes below for additional details, and how to obtain the apps via PlayStore.

For the MMGuardian Parental Control (child phone app), this Beta version contains:

– A custom MMGuardian SMS/MMS Messaging app. When you set this to be the app used for SMS messaging on your child’s phone, you will be able to block SMS and MMS messages based on the configuration set for Call Block.

– In addition, this Messaging app can be used to provide robust reporting of messages, in cases where use of the phone’s own messages app was causing messages to be missed in the reports. Please see below for how to enable the messaging app.

– Automatic fallback to use SMS commands should there be data communication related issues when sending commands to the app. Important: To make use of this function, you will also need to put the 3.0.x-beta version of the Parent App on your own phone (see below).

To opt into the Beta channel for the Parental Control app (child’s phone), either:
1. Go to the Parental Control app page in the PlayStore app on your child’s phone, scroll down to the bottom, and you should see a button to tap to join the Beta. Or,

2. Log into Google web, eg. in Chrome browser using the Google account as used on your child’s phone (the one with the Parental Control app on it), and go to: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.mmguardian.childapp

Once you’ve opted in, please wait around 15 minutes then (re) visit the MMGuardian Parental Control app page in the PlayStore app on your child’s phone, and you should see the option to update the app on the phone to the new Beta version.

Using the new Messaging app:
To enable the new SMS/MMS Messaging app, open the MMGuardian child phone beta app on your child’s phone, and go to “Settings”. Towards the bottom of the list, you will see a button for “Messaging”. Tap that button, then select Yes on the pop-up screen, to set MMGuardian as the default SMS app on the phone.

You’ll then see another pop-up screen with two options where you can select to disable either or both of sending and receiving pictures via MMS. The default is that they are enabled. Note that for the Beta release, if you select to disable receiving pictures, you should also use App Control to block other SMS messaging apps (Messages, Hangouts etc).

A new light green colored icon will be placed on the phone’s home screen called “MMG Messaging”, which your child should use to send and view SMS or MMS messages.

To (re)set the phone’s original or other messaging app as the phone’s default messages app, you will need to go into the main MMGuardian app, and turn off “Messaging” in the Settings screen, whereupon you’ll be given the option to select the desired messaging app.

For the MMGuardian Parent App (parent phone app), this Beta version contains:

– Automatic fallback to use SMS commands, should there be data communication issues when sending commands to the child phone app. Important: To make use of this function, you will also need to put the 3.0.x-beta version of the Parental Control app on your child’s phone (see above).

If a command sent from the Parent App via mobile data / WiFi should fail to reach the child phone app, then the Parent App will ask if you want to use an SMS command instead. If so, the app will automatically send a special SMS message to the child phone. Whilst this won’t help if the issues was that the child phone was turned off, there are several other scenarios where this new functionality will prove quite useful.

To opt into the Beta channel for the Parent App (parent phone), either:
1. Go to the Parent App page in the PlayStore app on your phone, scroll down to the bottom, and you should see a button to tap to join the Beta. Or,

2. Log into Google web, eg. in Chrome browser using the Google account as used on your phone (the one with the Parent App on it), and go to: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.mmguardian.parentapp

Once you’ve opted in, please wait around 15 minutes then (re) visit the MMGuardian Parent App page in the PlayStore app on your phone, and you should see the option to update the app on the phone to the new Beta version.

Feedback:
We’d very much like to hear your thoughts, experiences and especially any issues that you encounter when using the Beta apps.


Keeping Track of What Your Kids Do Online – Part 2

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In the first part of this mini series, we shared a link to an clip from Fox31 in Denver that covered some of the more common apps that kids use. Fox31 also have a short clip and write up covering some of the more common codes and acronyms that kids use online and which we’ve […]


Understanding how teens think and act

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An MMGuardian using parent alerted us to this highly informative special report from CNN. If you’ve ever wondered or struggled to understand what it’s like to be 13 in these days of smart phones, selfies and social media, this YouTube video is a must-see.


Keeping Track of What Your Kids Do Online – Part 1

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We’ll be posting articles over the next few weeks about the importance of knowing what apps your child is using, and how that can impact the task of keeping track of what they are doing online. To kick off these articles, we’re starting off with a link to a nice article from Fox 31 Denver: […]


Acronyms kids use online that all parents should know

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Proactively monitoring your kid’s social media and online activities is one thing. Understanding what they and their online friends are saying is sometimes another! Here’s a reminder of some of the “old favorite” expressions that kids use: Fox 31 Denver article on common acronyms used by kids


How to avoid excessive costs of in-app purchases

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In the not so distant past, there were regular press stories about kids that had run up huge bills on in-app purchases. Thankfully, Apple and Google have been improving things over the years, and now the default settings are usually sensible. You may however want to double-check things, to be sure. So, here are some […]


Educating parents to be vigilant in monitoring children’s electronic devices

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We’re hugely grateful to Amanda, an MMGuardian using parent, for sharing this news story with us. Amanda is a vocal proponent of both using technology such as MMGuardian, as well as good parenting, to address the risks posed by a child’s use of smartphones. She has created, and is talking at (hence truly vocal!), a […]


Is easy access to internet via smartphones making children ill?

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Earlier this year, we came across the following news report which presents the findings of child psychotherapist Julie Lynn Evans: Are smartphones making our children mentally ill? The story describes her concern that unfetter access to websites, especially due to the use of smartphones, may be behind a significant growth in mental health issues that […]


Why parents should know what apps their kids are using

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A rather scary reminder of the importance of parent’s knowing about the apps that their children are using on their smartphones. The app in question was actually an app that disguised itself as appearing to be perfectly innocent, but actually was an app to hide sensitive photos stored on the phone. http://wqad.com/2015/11/09/students-sexting-puts-colorado-high-school-at-center-of-felony-investigation/


The most popular Social Media is Texting!

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It seems that teens prefer to send a text message. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/facebook-texting-teens-instagram-snapchat-most-popular-social-network/373043/ That’s right, not Facebook messenger and not Snapchat! More high schoolers use texting more often than other forms of messaging, according to analysis performed by The Atlantic of research performed by Niche.  Of the 7,000 teens who were polled,  87%  use text messaging (SMS) at […]