So yesterday I was chatting with a friend who told me about how she had handed her iPad to her three-year-old at the airport the other day. It started off innocently enough as he tapped and swiped through apps. And then, next thing she knew, boom!—F-bombs exploding everywhere. He had gotten into YouTube and tapped on a video of a bunch of four-wheelers bragging about their bitchin’ rock-crawlers (note: no one used the word “bitchin’”).
She’s definitely not alone. Parents everywhere have run into this problem. You hand your tablet or phone to your kid to play with while waiting in line or at the doctor’s office, and next thing you know, he just inadvertently sent an email to your boss or called your mother-in-law (which makes you wonder why you have her in your contacts in the first place). To solve that problem, Famigo has launched the Famigo Sandbox app to make your Android phone safer for the young’uns.
The app, which launched Thursday, is pretty remarkable in its simplicity. When you want to keep little Bobby quiet in the dentist’s office, you simply tap the Famigo Sandbox app, which automatically switches your home page over to one that only includes kid-friendly apps. It does this by searching the phone and comparing all apps against a database of 30,000 kid-friendly apps to determine what’s safe and what’s not safe.
Parents can customize the Famigo Sandbox page even more by selecting which apps their kids can access and which are off limits.
Your child can’t access the Internet, make calls, text message, or email anyone—and they can’t unlock the homepage, which is password-protected.
The app is currently only available for Android devices—and it looks like it may stay that way, as the company explains that Apple’s “Walled Garden” approach makes it impossible for Famigo Sandbox to operate on iOS.
But Apple may have to find a solution to this challenge soon, as more and more parents are passing off their phones and tablets to their kids. A 2009 study found that nearly 60% of moms surveyed said they’ve let their young children use their iPhone, while another 41% said they’ve downloaded apps just for their kids.
Another survey published just three months ago found that 25% of moms said they’ve let their child play with their smartphone before the age of two.
So now Android-owning parents have an option for keeping their kids safe on their phone. Clearly, it’s time for Apple to get on the ball.
Image source: thesmartbean.com