, pub-6750398400224078, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

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.

Still learning

This week my youngest child, and only daughter, Karla, had her 5th birthday.  Yesterday we had a party for the kids at the local play centre in the morning, followed by a family get-together in the afternoon.

Like most parents at their kid’s milestones, I had the good camera close by to capture those moments.  The trouble with kids is that they don’t stay still for very long, in fact (fuelled by red cordial and chocolate cake) they are running around in a blur most of the time, which is really hard to capture in a low light indoor environment.  I tried the Nikon’s “Sports” mode, both “Auto” modes, both Shutter and Aperture Priority modes and higher than normal ISO settings, but just couldn’t seem to find the sweet spot of a sharp picture that wasn’t under exposed.  Switching to the wider aperture (F2.8) of the 40mm Micro lens made it a little easier, but being locked into 40mm presented new problems of framing the kids in shot.

It just goes to show, I still have a lot of learning, experimenting, and experience to achieve before I can call myself a reasonable photographer.

Karla at her 5th birthday party

This blog post was originally published on

First day of school – embed slideshow

If you know someone whos kids started school this week, then you’ve probably been overwhelmed with Facebook photos of the young’uns in their crisp new uniforms, and tears at the classroom door.

Well guess what, I’m no different.  I’ve seen lots of friend’s kids off to school on Facebook, and today it was my daughter’s first day at school.  Yes I’ve put pictures on Facebook, but I’ve also got a new photo website I’m building – and this blog about photography.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugLast night I had a quick search of Flickr for “first day of school” to get some ideas, but if you want to show off new uniforms and compare heights of siblings (while not wanting the kids to be late late on their first day) then the standard pic in front of the house does the job.  I did get one idea that breaks a few rules – looking down from above (rather than getting the camera down to eye level) actually seems to work well in this circumstance. 

As I’m still building, and fine-tuning my SmugMug based photo web site, this has also presented me with the opportunity to test out their embedded slide-show option.  So below is a slide-show of Karla’s first day at school.


This post was originally published on