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OurPact Parental Control app

Our Pact App Store screenshot

OurPact Parental Control app

I recently saw in internet advert for a parental control app, that allowed you to control the smart devices of your children.  Like many families, there can be arguments in our house when the kids should be doing their chores, homework, having dinner or going to bed but they don’t want to stop doing whatever they’re doing.  All three of my kids have iPads, plus the two eldest also have an iPhone, so an app that could remotely disable smart devices sounded like a potentially useful parenting tool.

The app is called OurPact, and is available for iOS or Android.  Our family’s smart devices are all Apple iOS, so that’s the version I decided to try out.  Unfortunately the strict control Apple has over their app eco-system made the job harder for the OurPact developers, and leaves a flaw in the process that is a deal breaker for me.  More on that shortly.

OurPact does exactly as it says it will do.  When the parent chooses, all non standard apps are removed, leaving only the devices default functionality such the phone, camera and SMS messaging.  The parent can set a schedule of times that installed apps are removed, or they can choose the “Until I say so” option.  At the end of the restriction time, all of those apps re-appear on the child’s device.

The real beauty of OurPact, is not the control it gives a parent over their child’s device, it’s the conversation it stimulates about responsible screen time.  It’s just as well, because my two eldest son’s only took a few minutes to disable the Remote Managment of their devices.  Yes, the kids can simply go into their iOS settings and turn this off!  The developers address this issue in their response to customer feedback; “Unfortunately, due to iOS restrictions, we are limited in our ability to prevent profile removal. We do notify parents within the app when child profiles are tampered with…”. 

Another concern I have, is that Our Pact is a free app.  There is no advertising shown within the app, so how do the developers make their money?  You have to agree to various permissions to grant remote access to the child’s smart device.  I cant help but wonder if those permissions also allow unscrupulous activities.  Just sayin.

In summary, the OurPact app is only an effective physical tool to control iOS devices of younger children who aren’t familiar with accessing their device’s Settings.  I’ve gone back to having a conversation with my kids about how much phone and iPad time they have, even if we have that conversation over and over again and then threaten to turn off the wifi.

Our Pact screenshot from the parent's device.

OurPact screenshot from the parent’s device.

Removing the Our Pact Remote Management within iOS Settings

Removing OurPact Remote Management within iOS Settings.

Our Pact alerts, Device Not Managed

OurPact alerts when the Remote Management of the child’s device is turned off in Settings.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the OurPact website for your self, or find the app in the Apple App store.

WordPress iPad app

Just for something different, I’m writing this post on my iPad, using the WordPress App.

I’m not sure if I would ever have something so urgent to write that I would need to use a tablet’s touch screen, rather than wait to get home and use a proper desktop computer and keyboard. However, I may need to do a quick edit if I spot a mistake the next day while I’m at work (in a truck), so it will be nice to know I’ve got this app available if I do need it.

Hmm, this is interesting. As soon as I published this post, half of it disappeared, including screenshot pictures inserted.

I knew I shouldn’t have trusted an app to do a PC’s job. My second attempt to publish this post (as an update) and everything after the “Read More” link was lost again, plus all pictures.

Thinking about why half the post is lost when publishing, it may actually be the iOS emoji icons the cause the problem, so I will try again without any cute smiley faces.

IMG_0041-0.PNG

(more…)

Siri sings a song and tells a story

When I accidentally activated Siri (the Apple Personal Assistant found on iOS devices such as the iPhone) this week, I was reminded that you can actually have a bit of fun with this built in app on my phone.  Seeing as I haven’t really used Siri in real life, I thought I’d have a play…
First I asked Siri to “sing me a song”; IMG_2885
I then asked Siri to “tell me a story”, but this time “she” was a bit more reluctant and came up with several excuses such as “you’ve heard it before”, but with a bit of persistence I finally got my story;

Technorati Tags: Apple,Siri,iPhone

This post was originally published on simonsays.smjbk.com