You’ve seen the apps drifting across the cityscape in the most recent commercial from Sprint. The one that ends with a cherubic kiddo, maybe 5 years old, playing with what we assume is his parent’s iPhone 4S as the voice over asks, “Why would anyone want to limit the iPhone?”
Did I hear that right?
What next? Disney touting parent-free cruises to Amsterdam?
Everyone that has kids wants to limit the iPhone. The fact that Sprint uses the image of a kid playing on a phone to promote their unlimited data plans tells me that they kind of don’t get it. A feeling that is only enhanced when I look at the parental controls they offer. While they do not charge for their suite of controls (props for that), they offer fewer features than the more robust offerings from ATT and Verizon. No time limits, no text budgeting. Sometimes limits are a good thing, or didn’t your parents teach you that, Sprint?
Some of the biggest challenges parents face when putting limits on kids with iPhones have nothing to do with the carrier. Let’s take the kid in the commercial as an example. He’s obviously playing with mom or dad’s (can’t really tell who has their back turned) iPhone 4S. What’s to stop him from crashing around, altering contacts, making international calls, editing documents and shooting a few videos all in an effort to launch Jetpack Joyride?
For many moms and dads, their phones are repositories, or at least gateways, to our most valuable and mission critical information. Yet, sooner or later, we all hand that thing over to the kid. How to keep your digital info safe and the kid occupied in the waiting room of the doctor’s office?
The good news is that there’s an app for that. When launched, Sandbox (from Austin’s own Famigo) creates a kid-safe environment of apps and content that simultaneously keeps the grown-up’s stuff safe.
The bad news is that it’s only available on Droid devices. Some API issue that is way over my head prevents them from offering an iPhone app. Hey, Apple! Free Famigo! (Watch our video profiling their app.)
And as long as we’re dreaming, why not allow the creation of multiple user accounts for each iPhone — the way you can with an iMac? One account could be unrestricted, the other would not screen YouTube, be allowed to change settings, to download inappropriate content, etc.
In the meanwhile, I’ve put all the games my kids can play in one folder. I ask them not to leave that folder without asking me. That keeps them from accidentally altering some essential setting — which they still somehow manage to do. Every time.
What issues have you encountered when handing back your iPhone?