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Windows Phone: What Parents MUST Know…

We’ve talked about iPhones and Android phones before, but now it is very important that we visit phones that use Microsoft Window.

There are some very good reasons that parents should be wary of letting their children use smart phones that use the Windows Phone operating system!

Most parents I talk to want to be able to control what their children can access with their electronic devices, and the smart phone is a major concern.  Parents frequently ask me about:

  • Filtering content, and
  • Monitoring what their kids do and say via their apps (not necessarily monitoring voice calls)

For Apple iOS, Android, and BlackBerry powered phones parents have lots of options….lots of products to choose from!

The outlook is grim for the parental control capabilities in the Windows Phone universe, especially for Windows Phone 8.0 and beyond.  This is mainly driven, in my opinion, by the fact that Windows Phones have a very small market share, and it is getting smaller.  Between May 2013 and May 2014 it’s share in the United States dropped from 4.7% down to 3.6%.

So, now we know why there are few parental control packages published or in development for Windows Phone:

It just doesn’t make business sense to spend the money for such a small market!

This explains why the “big players” in Internet Safety do not have WP products in the pipeline.  I’ve been looking for options for some friends for a couple of weeks and have not yet found anything that I’m comfortable recommending!

What about out of the box?  There “some” parental controls in WP 8, but they are mostly for small children and use the “Kid Corner”.  Overall, WP 8 is very limited in terms of parental control capabilities that are native to Windows Phone, and what is there DOES NOT include filtering.  Those parents concerned about filtering their child’s phone should contact the provider to see if they have system-level filters. Some do, some don’t, and things change. Plus, a system level filter (through the phone connection) may not filter the phone when connected to the Internet via WiFi.

This is unfortunate because Microsoft has pretty good system-level controls in Windows 8.1, and had they been put into Windows Phone, plus a few tweaks and added features, then they would have had a real winner, especially if they touted their parental controls!

So, what’s my bottom line?
  • Knights’ Quest does not recommend Windows Phones for children and youth since they cannot be adequately secured and made safer to use.
  • Parents who have Windows Phones should ensure a screen lock is in place to prevent kids from gaining access.
  • If you are considering purchasing a new smart phone for your child or youth, Knights’ Quest recommends that you consider the iPhone.  It provides the best level of security and parental control.  All in all, Android phones are less secure than Apple.  (See this article in FORBES.)
Please leave your comments, below!

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