Guest post from Angela Serednicki
A recent study from Harvard University has found that 78 per cent of all American teenagers now own smartphones, and one in four of them use it as their main Internet browser.
This makes it increasingly challenging for parents to monitor their kids’ activity online. To address this concern, DMZ-based startup Kytephone has just launched their newest app, Kytetime, which aims to assist parents in teaching responsible phone and Internet habits to their children. Using the Kytetime Parent Dashboard on smartphones, tablets, or desktops, the app allows parents to monitor their teen’s smartphone use. The dashboard displays information such as with whom their teenager talks and texts, how much time is spent on each app, and what Web sites they visit. Parents also receive e-mailed reports that show how their teen browses the web, and lets them know about any potentially inappropriate content.
“Our approach is not to control, but to help parents facilitate a conversation about proper smartphone usage with their kids,” said Anooj Shah, one of the three partners of Kytephone. Many Kytephone users have told the small startup company that they would have never gotten a phone for their children if it weren’t for their app.
In the summer of 2012, the company launched its first product, Kytephone, which was aimed at parents of younger children. Kytetime was then created because so many users requested a version for teens who didn’t want to use the cartoonish, kid-friendly interface.
Kytetime allows teenagers full use their Android smartphone’s interface, while still allowing parents to track how time is spent on the phone. A feature called Time Schedule allows parents to regulate when teens can use certain apps and, for example, block apps like Facebook and YouTube during school hours or when they should be asleep. The app also lets users know where their child is in real time or where they have been with the built-in GPS locator. Kytetime also allows teens to call and text any number, unlike Kytephone, which only allows pre-approved phone numbers to be contacted.
“The reality is that so many teens are addicted to their phones, especially when they’re at home,” explains Shah. “The app helps them break the addiction and teaches teens how to responsibly use a smartphone.”
Kytephone can be downloaded for free from Google Play.