Parents have a few options when it comes to buying their child a safe phone. In this article, we will compare the key functions and main differences between the MMGuardian Phone and the Bark Phone. To learn about the differences between the MMGuardian Phone and other child safe phones, see our comparisons with Gabb and Pinwheel.
Overview of Bark Phone versus MMGuardian Phone
The following table lists and compares the aspects of each phone that are probably of most interest to parents.
|Feature||MMGuardian Phone A14||Bark Phone|
|No Social Media Option|
|Limit Screen Time|
|Message Safety Alerts|
|Social Media Message Monitoring|
|Download Any Approved App|
|View All Messages|
|Supports Multiple Carriers|
|Cost Breakdown||Phones from $99.|
Parental controls $10 per month.
Cellular service $8-$15 per month.
|$49-$69 per month.
Includes phone, parental controls and cellular service.
|First Year Cost (typical)||$399||$588 - $828|
The Bark Phone does not have an upfront cost (besides the first month’s subscription) starts at $49 per month for the minimum cellular plan that does not include mobile data. Including mobile data leads to a monthly cost of $59 for 4GB, or $69 for 8GB. As the Bark Phone comes with its own cellular plan, parents are not able to pick a different plan or carrier.
The MMGuardian Phone is bought and owned outright. Phones are priced from $119 depending on the model of phone and whether a year’s parental control service is paid for up front, or as month to month subscription. In either case, the MMGuardian Phone parental control service cost $10 per month. The other monthly outgoing that parents need to account for will be the price of the cellular airtime plan. Unlimited Talk & Text plans from carriers such as US Mobile and Ultra are in the $8-$15 per month range, depending on how much mobile data is desired on the airtime plan.
As mentioned, the MMGuardian Phone does not come with a cellular plan but is compatible with all major US carriers. Parents therefore have a choice of whether to include their child’s cellular service in a family plan from their own carrier, or to use a carrier such as US Mobile, Ultra Mobile or Mint Mobile. Between them, these budget friendly carriers have unlimited Talk & Text plans as low as $8 per month, rising to around $15 if a decent amount of mobile data is also required.
Summary of Costs:
Bark Phone: parents pay between $49 and $69 per month, which covers use of the phone, the parental control functions, and cellular service.
MMGuardian Phone: The phone is purchased outright. The combined monthly cost of parental control functions and cellular service will depend on the desired airtime plan, but will be typically in the range $18 to $25. When parents no longer wish to use the parental control functions, these can be remotely removed from the phone by the MMGuardian team, turning it back into a normal Samsung smartphone. For parents wishing to spread out upfront costs, phone bundles including a one year parental control service ‘paid upfront’ are available. The cost of the bundle can be paid over several months via finance providers such as Affirm.
The MMGuardian Phone and the Bark Phone are the only phones with built-in parental controls that give parents total control over what apps can be used on their child’s phone. Both Pinwheel and Gabb limit which apps can be downloaded onto the child’s phone from a predefined list of apps. This can be frustrating for parents who wish to let their child use a game, or need a specific app for a school or for homework, that is not available in the pre-defined list. In contrast both Bark and MMGuardian enable parents, should they wish, to install any app from Google Play.
Both the MMGuardian Phone and Bark Phone provide AI-powered alerts for messages detected on the child’s phone that indicate a possible risk to the child. Alert categories include cyberbullying, sexting and online predators. Both apps also can alert parents to the presence of ‘adult’ type inappropriate pictures saved on the child’s phone.
An important difference between the message monitoring capabilities of the the MMGuardian Phone and Bark Phone is that of viewing the content of messages. Bark only allows parents to view messages that generate alerts. If parents wish to see other messages they will be unable to do unless checking on the child phone itself. With MMGuardian, parents have the option to view all message history if necessary, even deleted SMS text messages. However parents can just rely on the AI powered child safety alerts, if for privacy or other reasons, the parent does not want to read through the perhaps hundreds of messages that their child might exchange each day.
Both phones include standard parental control functions such as blocking apps, screen time limits, retrieving location and web filtering (assuming of course that web browsing is configured by the parent to even be allowed).