A growing issue with smartphones and tablets these days is security. When I say security, though, I'm not referring to the prevention of malware or phishing sites; I'm talking about the security and control of content that users will see when they use such devices. They are both now common household items, which means people of all ages are using them – from toddlers to seniors.
Of course, we're not worried about what adults and seniors are looking at on their tablets and smartphones. But with always-on connections to the Internet, youth and toddlers have access to essentially anything we have access to at any time, and parents have little control over what they see on mobile devices. Curiosity and wandering minds can lead to some not so great things, especially when you bring the Web and children together.
Well, that's where Net Nanny steps in and takes charge. Net Nanny allows parents to filter, block and monitor a user's mobile web experience. It has automatic profanity masking, real time page blocking, Web filter and much more. The administrator can set limitations on connected devices – like blocked sites, pornography, drugs and virtually anything else you don't want your child to read or see – on registered devices and receive notifications when a user visits a questionable site.
We first heard about Net Nanny making their way to mobile platforms (iOS and Android) in November, but they announced that they weren't going to be ready for release until January. They told us they were going to wait until CES until they finally were ready to launch the mobile versions. The idea of on the fly content filtering has always intrigued me, from the first time I read about Net Nanny, and I imagined I could at least get a demo today. Unfortunately, the guys at the booth were dealing with a technical difficulty and could not connect to Wi-Fi, thus they could not give me a demo.
Net Nanny normally runs for $39.99 for a desktop or laptop version, and Net Nanny is now also available for mobile. A one-year subscription for Android will cost you $19.99, but they're currently running a special where you can get a one-year subscription for $13.99 for a limited time. And a one-year subscription for Net Nanny on iOS will cost you $9.99, once it releases.
I will admit, the software does look pretty cool. However, I discovered a major flaw in the iOS version. Unlike on Android where the Net Nanny browser will mostly replace the stock version, you must navigate to Settings app and toggle Safari off. The problem? A quick and easy way to totally disable Net Nanny and circumvent the system entirely is to simply re-enable Safari. So if a child gets smart (and let's be honest, most children learn their way around smart devices nowadays), they can completely get around all Net Nanny stuff. Also, I'm not sure how many will be willing to pay a yearly subscription for a service such as this. Sure, it's worth the money, specifically for parents of toddlers. Nonetheless, it's yet another subscriptions service, and while this is helpful, it may fall short on the priority list of things to have or buy.
Despite a pretty major flaw on the iOS side, Net Nanny is a brilliant idea and brings parental controls to a whole new level. Tell me, readers, do you need something like Net Nanny for your toddlers and kids? Will you try it out?