MMGuardian Phone vs Bark Phone

MMGuardian vs Bark

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.

Summary

  • Both phones include AI-powered alerts about concerning content detected in messages. However, MMGuardian offers parents the option to view text and social media message conversations if necessary, even if the child deletes them. Bark only allows parents to view messages that generate alerts.

  • The Bark Phone comes with cellular service that you cannot change. The MMGuardian Phone allows you to choose your own service provider.

  • The Bark Phone costs $49/month for a plan that includes all features but does not include data. If you do want data, it costs $59/month for 4GB or $69/month for 8GB.

    After purchasing the MMGuardian Phone (which starts as low as $119), the monthly subscription only costs $10/month and is cheaper if you select the annual option. MMGuardian has cellular service provider partners with affordable plans such as unlimited text/talk and 2GB of data for $10/month. Including that data plan, the MMGuardian Phone effectively costs as little as $28.25/month for the first year, and a little over $18/month the following years.

  • Both phones include image monitoring capabilities. However, Bark uses a 3rd party service, resulting in less privacy for children as the images are stored in a database. MMGuardian’s image monitoring is homemade and on-device for parents to view. This means images never leave the child’s device, resulting in maximum privacy.

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.

FeatureMMGuardian Phone A14Bark Phone
No Social Media Option
GPS Location
Remote Management
Limit Screen Time
Message Safety Alerts
Picture Monitoring
Social Media Message Monitoring
Filtered Internet
Download Any Approved App
View All Messages
Supports Multiple Carriers
Supports 5G
Storage64GB32GB
Memory (RAM)4GB3GB
Cost BreakdownPhones 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 Phones

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.

What Apps Can Be Installed and Used?

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.

 

Child Safety Alerts

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.

 

Message Monitoring

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.

 

Traditional Parental Control Functions

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).