Tag Archives: mobile

Apps to spy on your childrens mobile phones

Social Identity in the world

We look at the growing number of apps that spy on the mobile phone activity of your children.  An increasing number of parents feel the need to spy on their children’s cell phones to keep up with who they talk to and what they share. One thing to remember is that all of the data you are tracking is being sent from your child’s phone to the Internet and then stored there. While all of these services use encryption to store the data, the fear it is out there is always on our mind.

While we feel there are better ways, we look at the growing market of applications. A step you can take on a schedule, or even better randomly, is to sit with your child and ask to see their phone. Browse through the pictures, apps and contacts.  Learn the slang they use in texts. Check for history in the Direct Messages of Instagram, Facetime talks and more.  Compare it to how  your job owns your work email content, computer and provided phone if you are paying the bill you own theirs.

Remember that cyber bullying is a real issue and we are proud to be on the Board of Directors for the Megan Meier Foundation. You should be involved with your kid online activity and have open communication. Do not rely only on these applications.

Watch me in the following video that aired Jul 2016 on KSDK (NBC) News Channel 5 about this very topic before we look at apps.  Follow me on every network as @IdoNotes (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and everything else)

Below is some of the top apps for monitoring your child’s mobile phone activity.

Ferris – a video app for living stories from SxSW 2014

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Ferris was at the SxSW 2014 Accelerator showing off their living story video app. We look at use cases and how it works. It is just in beta now.

The Ferris idea is based around multiple people recording at the same time and geographic location.

Ferris is a stunning mobile video app for creating and contributing to living stories. Ferris joins together relevant mobile video clips based on location, time, topic and category to create a fluid, evolving and interactive stream of relevant content.

Once a video is posted to Ferris, it self-updates, joining any number of streams based on user, location, date and time, hashtag and category. Each person’s video is automatically woven into a single, united narrative for the most unique view of the world around them.

VivaStream – connect to attendees and information or not

vivastream logo

VivaStream is an app for iOS, Android and BlackBerry that is supposed to help connect you to people before, during and after events and conferences. I have seen attempts like this before with Lanyrd, Plancast and some smaller launches. I also predict that VivaStream will fall to the same fate after testing it.

Vivastream tells you Who to Know based on your interests, profile, and skills, and helps you connect and interact with other like- minded individuals before, during and after the event.

I walked through the setup of VivaStream in this picture slideshow and was not impressed with this application even with the decent mobile look. After looking at the limited amount of downloads on Android and iOS and the low reviews it received, I am not surprised.

VivaStream launch screen on Android

The first image above shows the initial registration screen using Android.  You can create an account directly with VivaStream or authenticate with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I chose to create my own account as shown in the second image and then link social accounts later if I found value.

I did receive a verification email as expected. Once inside the application you are able to edit your profile. This was very basic. I could add my first name, last name, position and company. However adding a picture via the mobile interface was not possible on Android. I did find it via the web interface (more on that later).

I’ve stopped automatically updating my mobile Android apps

Google Play Logo

I have had enough and stopped allowing automatic updates to my Android apps from Google Play. Done. Finished. Period.

With each new release flying out the door from the majority of the developers I have seen slowness, features stop working, loss of account data and constant crashing. Reviews from other users pour in with the same complaints. I have reloaded my OS cleanly.  The phone is brand new. It is the apps.

Let’s talk about some examples that I reverted back at least one or two versions:

  • Foursquare – crashes, location issues being too far away with GPS and wifi on, force closes
  • Waze social GPS – resetting of privacy, crashes, forced Facebook hooks
  • Fring – loss of friends, requirement of Fring Out, loss of deposited funds
  • Square Register – forced wifi (even if none available) for some transactions
  • Shazam – numerous “connection cannot be made” complaints scared me off
  • Facebook – An introduced slowness on refreshes, crashes, loss of picture uploading abilities

That is a starter list of applications I am refusing to update from Google Play.  I keep checking back in on them and look for more recent updates that may have fixed issues.

I know there are so many different Android devices and flavors to account for.  I know that it is hard to cover them all.  But when users across all types of newer devices have the same complaint, something in the code went wrong and leads me to think testing was not done enough.

I appreciate Flipboard for example.  I have been on four of their latest beta builds. We can report bugs, UI issues and more.  When I load the new gold update I never have an issue. They are testing it right.  While they are larger, no matter what you size you need better testing.

So what about you? Are you allowing Android to update all your mobile apps automatically? Have you switched to manual and started reading reviews first? Give me some feedback here, Google Plus or Twitter.