MMGuardian vs Verizon Smart Family – Which Parental Control App Is Best?

In this review, we will provide you with an honest comparison of the features available between MMGuardian and Verizon Smart Family for Android phones and iPhones.

Verizon Smart Family Overview

Verizon Smart Family is available in two tiers, the standard Verizon Smart Family and the more expensive Verizon Smart Family Premium. The latter adds location and driving functionality. Both plans provide a limited set of traditional parental controls,  however the screen time app restricting functions are limited to blocking internet access to the defined app(s), which does not prevent usage of ‘offline’ apps. This article includes functions available from Verizon Smart Family Premium.

MMGuardian Overview

MMGuardian provides a comprehensive range of functions that include both traditional parental controls such as location, screen time limits and web filtering, as well as AI based message monitoring and alerts. Alerts are sent to the parent when message content is indicative of types of risk and dangers to your chid. SMS text and popular social media app messages are monitored.

Feature Comparison

Let’s start with an overview of MMGuardian vs Verizon Smart Family in table format. Comparisons and details on each aspect are then discussed below the table. In some cases the features that are available depend on the type of child’s phone, whether Android or iPhone.

Feature ComparisonMMGuardianSmart Family Premiun
AndroidiPhoneAndroidiPhone
Alerts and Monitoring
Safety Alerts--
Monitor Text Messages--
Monitor Social Media Messages--
Monitor Emails----
Inappropriate Image Alerts--
Reporting
Message Reports--
App Usage Reports--
Phone Call Reports
Web Usage Reports
Device Location
Restrictions
Web Filter
Phone Lock-LimitedLimited
App BlockLimitedLimitedLimited
Contact Block-
Other
Driving Insights--
Anti-Tamper Mechanismn/an/a

Alerts, Message and Picture Monitoring

MMGuardian

Android: MMGuardian monitors and provide alerts for SMS texts and messages in the most popular social media apps including Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Discord. 

The monitoring of popular social media app and text messages by MMGuardian is performed by the app that is installed on your child’s phone. Whilst the number of social media apps that can be monitored is less than for Bark, the monitoring is automatic when the relevant social media app is installed on your child’s phone.

iPhone: MMGuardian monitors SMS text messages, iMessages and chat messages in Kik and WhatsApp, and pictures stored on the phone. Monitoring of messages requires that an app be installed on a home computer, which will collect

and report the messages when the child’s phone is at home and connected to the same WiFi network as the computer.  Picture monitoring is performed by the MMGuardian app installed on the child’s iPhone, or iPad.

MMGuardian Safety Alert Example

Smart Family

Android: Verizon Smart Family does not provide any alerts for message content or inappropriate pictures stored on the device.

iPhone: Verizon Smart Family does not provide any alerts for message content or inappropriate pictures stored on the device.

Message Reports

MMGuardian

Android: MMGuardian will enable you to view all of your child’s SMS text messages, as well as messages from monitored social media and messaging apps, if desired. Or you may prefer to disable that function and rely on the Alerts function as described above, so as to just view messages that are of concern.

iPhone: MMGuardian will enable you to view all of your child’s SMS text messages and iMessages, as well as messages from monitored social media and messaging apps, if desired. Or you may prefer to disable that function and rely on the Alerts function as described above, so as to just view messages that are of concern.  As also mentioned in the Alerts section above, monitoring of messages requires that an app be installed on a home computer.

MMGuardian Message Report Overview Screen

Smart Family

Android: Verizon Smart Family does not offer full message reporting although it will show you who your child is communicating with (SMS text only). Parents can also set up a watch list to be notified specifically about SMS texts with defined contacts.

iPhone: Verizon Smart Family does not offer full message reporting although it will show you who your child is communicating with (SMS text only). Parents can also set up a watch list to be notified specifically about SMS texts with defined contacts.

App Usage Reports

MMGuardian​

Android: MMGuardian enables parents to view their child’s app usage statistics, including which apps are used, when, and for how long. Based on this information, parent’s will know if the child is perhaps spending too much time using various apps or games, and the App Block function (see below) can be used to place limitations on app usage.

iPhone: App usage reports are not available.

Smart Family

Android: Verizon Smart Family provides application usage reports, on a daily or hourly basis. Usage of individual apps can be seen. However complete information on apps that do not use internet services may not be reported. Also, like MMGuardian, apps that run in the background (such as music players) may not show a real indication of ‘usage’.

iPhone: App usage reports are not available.

Phone Call Reports

MMGuardian​

Android: Reports of calls made or received allow parents to monitor the people that their child is talking with, and whether they are known contacts from the phone’s address book or unknown individuals. Phone reports are not however available for devices that use Android 9. 

iPhone: Call reports are available, however similar to message reports, this requires that an app is installed on a household computer.

Smart Family

Android: Call reports are available. Parents can also set up a watch list to be notified specifically about calls with defined contacts.

iPhone: Call reports are available. Parents can also set up a watch list to be notified specifically about calls with defined contacts.

Web History Reports

MMGuardian​

Android: Your child’s web browsing history is available, including whether the attempt to view a site or page was blocked or not (see Web Filter). Web history reports work for all popular browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox.

iPhone: Your child’s web browsing history is available, including whether the attempt to view a site or page was blocked or not (see Web Filter). One point to note is that the reporting works for browsing using the MMGuardian web browser app that must be installed on your child’s iPhone. 

Smart Family

Android: With Verizon Smart Family your child’s web browsing history is available, however attempts to view a site or page that was blocked are not reported. Since web filtering is achieved using a VPN, web reporting will work for any web browser app on the phone.

iPhone: With Verizon Smart Family your child’s web browsing history is available, however attempts to view a site or page that was blocked are not reported. Since web filtering is achieved using a VPN, web reporting will work for any web browser app on the phone.

App Block

MMGuardian​

Android: MMGuardian allows parents selectively block use of any app that is installed on the phone.  In addition to a an always blocked status, it is possible to set daily limits on how long, and at what times of the day, an app can be used. MMGuardian will also alert parents if new apps are installed. Additionally, MMGuardian provides parents with the ability to set any apps that are installed to be blocked automatically so that their child can’t use them until the parent manually unblocks them.

iPhone: MMGuardian allows parents to disable all downloaded apps, either according to a schedule or on demand. It is however not possible to disable apps individually. You can also set restrictions on apps based on age

Smart Family

Android: Verizon Smart Family can block the internet access of various categories of apps, such as games and social media apps. So preventing usage of apps that rely on an internet connection to be functional is possible, however apps where internet service is not essential are not able to be blocked.

iPhone:  Verizon Smart Family can block the internet access of various categories of apps, such as games and social media apps. So preventing usage of apps that rely on an internet connection to be functional is possible, however apps where internet service is not essential are not able to be blocked.

Phone Lock

MMGuardian​

Android: Using MMGuardian allows parents to lock the phone remotely on demand, or based on a pre-set schedule. When the phone is locked, your child will only be able contact the parent ‘admin’ phone numbers or emergency services. The times when the phone is locked can be defined in advance by the parent or as a lock command sent to the phone, e.g. to lock it for 30 minutes whilst chores are being performed.

iPhone: Completely locking the phone is not possible. So the nearest thing that a parent could get to locking the phone would be to use the App Block function to disable downloaded apps, such as games.

Smart Family

Android: Using Verizon Smart Family parents can set up restriction schedules. During these schedules, your child will be prevented from calling or texting unless the contact is on the trusted contacts list. Also, during the schedule internet access from the phone is blocked, so usage of apps that rely on an internet connection to be functional is prevented. However apps where internet service is not essential are not able to be blocked.

iPhone: Using Verizon Smart Family parents can set up restriction schedules. During these schedules, your child will be prevented from calling or texting unless the contact is on the trusted contacts list. Also, during the schedule internet access from the phone is blocked, so usage of apps that rely on an internet connection to be functional is prevented. However apps where internet service is not essential are not able to be blocked.

Contact Block | Call and Text Block

MMGuardian​

Android: MMGuardian allows parents to control who their child is able to communicate with. Parents can create a list of contacts to either allow (and all others will be blocked) or block (and all others will be allowed). Texts and calls to and from blocked contacts will be prevented.

iPhone: Due to Apple’s restrictions, MMGuardian is not able to provide any contact block functions, but it can report your child’s call history.

Smart Family

Android: Verizon Smart Family enables parents to block up to 20 numbers. Calls and SMS texts with these numbers will be blocked. It is also possible to block incoming calls from private  numbers (ie. calls where the number is unavailable or withheld).

iPhone: Verizon Smart Family enables parents to block up to 20 numbers. Calls and SMS texts with these numbers will be blocked. It is also possible to block incoming calls from private  numbers (ie. calls where the number is unavailable or withheld).

Web Filter

MMGuardian​

Android: MMGuardian enables parents to block websites based on easy to set, predefined, age based rules which define what site categories should be allowed or blocked.  The rules can be customised, and specific website addresses (URLs) can also be set to be allowed or blocked.  The web filter function works with all popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, and is also effective if the browser is used in “Incognito” mode.

iPhone: MMGuardian enables parents to block websites based on easy to set, predefined, age based rules which define what site categories should be allowed or blocked.  The rules can be customised, and specific website addresses (URLs) can also be set to be allowed or blocked.  However, the web filter function works only with the MMGuardian browser app that is installed on the child’s iPhone or iPad. Parents will therefore need to ensure that no other browsers are installed and should disable both Safari and App Store or app installation on the child’s device to ensure they do not have access to another browser. 

Comparison of Web Filter Categories

Smart Family

Android: With Verizon Smart Family parents can set up a web filter based on a variety of content categories. Specific website addresses can also be set to be always blocked or allowed. Since web filtering is achieved using a VPN, the filter will should work for any web browser app on the phone.

iPhone: With Verizon Smart Family parents can set up a web filter based on a variety of content categories. Specific website addresses can also be set to be always blocked or allowed. Since web filtering is achieved using a VPN, the filter will should work for any web browser app on the phone.

Location

MMGuardian​

Android: MMGuardian allows parents to find their child’s location on demand (without any need for the child to take action) and to view their current and past locations on a map. Parents can also set up schedules during which their child’s location will be updated automatically.

iPhone: MMGuardian provides an on-demand location function for parents, which does not require any action by the child.

Smart Family

Android: Smart Family allows parents to retrieve their child’s location on demand and view their current and past locations on a map. Parents can also create schedules during which their child’s location will be retrieved automatically. In addition, Smart Family provides geo-fencing which alerts parents when children leave a certain location. Finally Smart Family provides children with options to request their parents to pick them up from their current location as well as a “check in” feature. Note that these location functions are only available in the Verizon Smart Family Premium package, not the lower priced normal one.

iPhone: Smart Family allows parents to retrieve their child’s location on demand and view their current and past locations on a map. Parents can also create schedules during which their child’s location will be retrieved automatically. In addition, Smart Family provides geo-fencing which alerts parents when children leave a certain location. Finally Smart Family provides children with options to request their parents to pick them up from their current location as well as a “check in” feature. Note that these location functions are only available in the Verizon Smart Family Premium package, not the lower priced normal one.

Other Important Considerations

Driving Insights

This is a function that is not available from MMGuardian, only from the Verizon Smart Family Premium plan.  

Driving Insights provides parents valuable information about their children’s driving activity, such as:

  • Top Speed and over speeding
  • Phone usage whilst driving
  • Harsh braking and cornering

A score is worked out which rates the driving performance of the child based on the number of risky events over the past 7 days.

In addition, should the app on the child’s phone detect that a crash may have occurred, parents will be notified by their Verizon Smart Family app.

Tamper Protection

Android: Both MMGuardian and Verizon Smart Family provide quite robust protections against tampering of the app installed on the child’s device.

iPhone: Again the situation with both apps is comparable, and both apps need to be protected using the Screen Time functionality built into devices by Apple.

Pricing and Trial Periods

MMGuardianSmart Family Premium
MonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnual
One Device$4.99$49.99--
Family Plan$9.99$99.99$9.99-

MMGuardian has a 14 day free trial, and Smart Family offers a 30 day free trial period. So you will be able to try out each for free, to see which works best for you.

Final Verdict for MMGuardian vs Verizon Smart Family

  • Both apps offer standard parental controls (app blocking, location, web filtering, etc). For a child using an Android phone, MMGuardian’s options are more robust and customizable; however for an iPhone the Verizon Smart Family provides parents with more flexibility to block internet connected apps and contacts.
  • Only MMGuardian has the capability to alert parents about messages which are likely to be of concern, that are sent to or from their child.
  • MMGuardian allows parents to view all of their child’s messages if they wish, Verizon Smart Family does not currently do so.
  • Only Verizon Smart Family Premium is able to provide Driving Insights and crash alerts.

For families with older teens who drive, the Driving Insights function available with Verizon Smart Family may be the deciding factor for many.

However, there are other apps, many of which are free, which offer similar child driver rating functions for parents.  More importantly, your car insurance provider may also have their own app, which could result in lower insurance costs when used by your child (and even yourself!).

Considering the risks to mental and physical health faced by both younger kids and older teens associated with online predators, cyber bullying, suicide ideation, sexting etc, the availability of message monitoring and Safety Alerts available makes MMGuardian a stronger performer as a Parental Control App.

You can also check our MMGuardian vs T-Mobile FamilyMode article to make the best decision about which parental control app is the most suitable for you and your child.

 

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