Parental Control Apps for your child's smartphone

On the Today show Charlie went through the different options parents have in protecting their children from viewing harmful or unwanted content while using their smartphones.

The three major mobile telecommunications providers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all have options that allow you to control what your children do and don’t see.

Vodafone’s comprehensive app, Guardian, is available for free to all Android users across all telephone networks and not only monitors and restricts internet usage but also offers restrictions for calls and SMS. The parent can set parameters for incoming and outgoing calls, time and content restrictions. It gives parents the ability to set rules on the phone, such as when a call can be made, when the internet can be used, when WIFI can be enabled, videos watched, or when games can be played. It has an inbuilt bullying function that prevents the child from seeing harmful content whilst also allowing the parents to monitor any incoming offensive messages. 


Telstra’s service ‘smart controls’ is not an app, but is accessible through the ‘my account’ section of the Telstra website. For $2.95 a month Telstra customers can restrict SMS, calls, categories of online content and time parameters to their choosing. This service can only be used on the Telstra network.

Optus ‘mobile security app’ is $5 a month (after a 1 month free trial) for Android users and $5 a year for iPhone users. The parental controls section of the app  allows parents to restrict incoming calls or SMS made to a child’s phone via the parental controls function.   The parent can add undesired caller numbers to the blacklist so when the child receives a call or SMS from a blacklisted number, it is silently rejected and logged.  Parents can also choose what categories of content they allow their children to view on their smartphone.

Whatever your carrier; investing in a comprehensive protection option for your children’s smartphone is a responsible option. As our children spend more time online, protecting them from harmful content should be a concern for every parent.

Being online and always connected is a big part of young people’s lives. Here are some simple steps to help you navigate your children’s digital world.

1)      Create conversations and stay involved

2)      Talk to your children about how they use their digital technology and try it out – try playing a game or uploading a video together

3)      Explain the rules of responsible device ownership

4)      Protect your personal information – turn on privacy settings

5)      Encourage children to ‘think before they click’ – think about content and the consequences of posting it

6)      Be an offline supporter – encourage kids to have some screen-free time each day and turn off devices at bedtime

7)      Teach kids to treat others the same way they’d like to be treated online and be zero-tolerant to rude or mean online behaviour

8)      Make the most of parental controls on devices

9)      Let you children know you’re always there for them – assure them that their internet privileges won’t be taken away if they are exposed to content that makes them feel uncomfortable or concerned

10)   Be a role model – don’t just talk about the right thing to do; be a role model with your own digital habits.