Familytime.io Review 2020 – How Useful Is The Parental Control App?
- Many Features
- TimeBank Feature to learn saving
- Reasonable pricing
- Plans according to number of children
- Easy setup
- Panic & PickMeUp Button
- Prevention from uninstalling through kids
- No social media monitoring
- Very limited Trial version
- After Trial subscription starts automatically
Familytime.io offers a tool for Android, iOS and Kindle mobile devices that allows parents to keep track of their children’s location, as well as manage device usage time, block applications they don’t like, know who their contacts are and what numbers they exchange calls with, among many other features. The app even allows children to contact parents instantly with the functionality of panic alerts in case they are in a dangerous situation.
About the Software Company
The company Familytime was founded in December 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, where it is still based today.
It is a so-called Software-as-a-Service provider (SaaS), which specializes in monitoring computer applications.
The target group is parents who want their children to use the Internet responsibly and safely. As children today are allowed to use smartphones and tablets at a younger and younger age and use a lot of applications there on their own, it is important that the devices themselves allow maximum protection and a child-friendly use without parents having to intervene permanently to check content. Familytime enables parents to leave their children the digital devices with a clear conscience, knowing that their children will not be exposed to any danger.
For younger children, it is generally more about non-child friendly pictures, videos and app games. For older children, it’s more about monitoring the contacts they’re connected to through chat apps, and the potentially negative influences that adolescents may be exposed to through social media, forums, and shady strangers. But also about harmful contents of websites and videos etc.
For all age groups, whether primary school age or teenagers, it is also a matter of limiting the time during which children can use the devices at all. Smartphones & co have a high potential for addiction, which even most adults succumb to. Children should therefore not grow up with this addiction uncontrollably.
It would certainly be a big mistake to forbid children today to use the devices as a matter of principle, because if children are denied the use of the new technologies from an early age, they could later have disadvantages compared to their peers who learned to use the devices intuitively at an early age. This is only a supposition on our part, but it is obvious. And we know that many parents also have this assumption. Living with the internet and new technologies is standard today and the current youngsters are growing up with it, which was not the case in the past. So it is better to teach children to use it responsibly from the beginning, rather than strictly forbid it.
Familytime.io Parental Control App Features
The main Features offered by FamilyTime at a Glance:
- Digital activity monitor (installed apps, contacts, messages, navigation)
- SMS Tracking
- Mobile device control (sets maximum daily time per app, game and internet)
- Content filters
- Family online GEO-Locator
- Automatic alerts for dangerous situations
- Application blocking
- Set and remove permissions instantly
- Access for other carers (partner, grandparents)
- Uninstall protection
Let’s have a look at the complete List of Features in Detail:
The app keeps a call log. Parents can use it to track when their children have spoken to whom for how long.
However, the calls themselves are not stored, so that the conversations cannot be listened to by the parents afterwards.
With contact monitoring, parents don’t miss out when a new contact is added or who the child is already in contact with. This function can also be used to block unwanted contact.
With GPS monitoring, parents know where their children are at all times. Also the visited places are documented afterwards. If you ask your child in the evening where he or she spent the day, the accuracy of the answer can be easily verified with GPS tracking.
Geo tracking also includes the Ch-in/Check-out alarm, so parents can see in real time when their children arrive at or leave certain locations.
The GEO Fencing is helpful to make sure that the children stay in defined geographical areas and do not leave them. Otherwise the parents are informed or alerted via the app.
Installed Apps List
A particularly important function is the monitoring of the installed apps. There are so many non-child apps that children could install today. It is helpful to know which apps the children are using to block them if necessary.
This function documents the use of all apps. Parents can keep track of which apps are used by their children, at what time and for how long.
We have already mentioned blocking of apps before. Parents have the possibility to deny their children access to certain apps. It is also important that you can block in-app purchases.
Device Lock (Family Pause)
At the touch of a button, parents can pause their children’s smartphones so that the children cannot use the devices during this break. The advantage of such features is that you don’t have to discuss and ask, you just press the button and the job is done.
Familytime uses Internet filters that hide content and make it inaccessible if it is classified as not suitable for children.
Internet Usage (browser history, bookmarks)
Familytime documents the browsing history and the set bookmarks, so parents always have an overview of the topics their children are using.
Screen Time Limitation
This function is sometimes one of the most important. Because children and young people must be prevented from excessive use of smartphones by controlling the time they can use them. Eating time, homework time, bedtime, all of these can be specifically set. During these hours the devices are not usable by the children. A general time limit can also be set, such as 2 hours of use per day or similar.
Extra Feature: TimeBank
With this feature, children learn the concept of saving at an early age. In this case they can save time, which is credited to them for the next day. So if they deliberately put their mobile phone away, they know that they can use it for a longer period tomorrow if they have free time.
Teen Safe Drive
Not every Parental Control App has this feature, which makes it a special feature of Familytime. With this feature, parents can check if their teenage children are driving safely and respecting certain speed limits. Whereby this feature is currently in the beta version, so not yet fully developed.
SMS messages are monitored with all details. This includes the contacts as well as when the messages were sent and the content itself is readable.
Limitations of the Parental Control App – Functions Familytime doesn’t support:
Social Media Monitoring?
While normal text messages, i.e. SMS, are tracked without any problems (including the content of the sent messages, not only meta data like when to whom etc.) Familytime has no support for Social Media Apps. The apps themselves can be blocked, and their usage is also documented with a timestamp, but the content of the social media messenger apps is not documented. We see the lack of this feature as a big shortcoming, because apps like Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and many others are used especially by teenagers.
Familytime does not offer a keylogger within its features.
Are pictures monitored?
Familytime does not offer an explicit function to monitor sent, received and saved images.
Are videos monitored?
The app has no function that tracks videos. This area is probably hidden by the software provider
The Partental Control App does not support camera tracking. The use of the built-in cameras in economy phones is therefore not monitored.
Track To Do List?
No, the contents of note apps are not monitored.
Usability of the App
Familytime has a modern user interface that offers simple, clear overviews. The program is easy and intuitive to use. A good thing is that parents can also operate the dashboard with the evaluations on the computer in the browser and not only on the smartphone.
What we noticed is that there is no search function for specific apps within the apps list. If you want to block an app, you have to scroll through the existing apps.
To start using the application, follow these steps:
Obtain the license to use the tool from the Gaptain website. During this process the access data (user/password) will be provided to the control panel for parents.
Download and install the FamilyTime management app on the parents’ devices to facilitate the administration of parental controls. It works for Android phones with version 4.0.3 or higher.
Install FamilyKids on the child’s device. Instructions on how to do this are detailed in a video tutorial that is available on the Gaptain website, once you have logged in with your user account.
Can the monitoring app be kept secret from the kid
Familytime.io is a Parental Control app that cannot be used in a hidden way. The use cannot be kept secret from the child. On the contrary, the app becomes an obvious communication and education tool between parents and children, clearly showing children their limits and rules. Especially the panic button or the catch-me-up button must be actively used by the children.
So how much does the app cost?
The Familytime Parental Control App is available as a very limited free version. The free version really has very few functions, all interesting ones are available in the paid packages (Premium).
The paid Familytime.io Parental Control App with all features is available in different packages, which differ in the number of supported devices. The app can be used for up to 5 children, the cheapest package can only be used for 1 child. According to Familytime.io, your package for 3 children is the most purchased. We can certainly imagine that. Especially with several children it is difficult to keep an eye on the activities of each one.
The prices amount to only a few dollars per month, but the subscriptions have to be paid annually. The plans look as follows:
- MyFamily (1 child device): $27 yearly (~$2.25/mo)
- MyFamily2 (2 children): $35 yearly (~$1.46/mo per child device)
- MyFamily3 (3 children): $45 yearly (~$1.25/mo per child device)
- MyFamily5 (5 children): $69 yearly (~$1.15/mo per child device)
3 Days Free Trial
There is a 3-day trial version of Familytime that runs automatically before a premium subscription. However, the test version does not yet contain all functions. And, the 3 test days do not apply if customers have used a discount campaign when registering. Only those who pay the regular price of the subscription are granted the 3 days for testing. This is clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the company.
If you decide against the app during the 3 days, you have to contact the customer service and ask for a cancellation. According to some customer comments there were some disagreements where Familytime did not want to cancel the subscription. It is difficult to judge whether this is the norm. There are also many positive customer comments in various Familytime Reviews. At this point, it is important to note that it is generally those with negative experiences who have to dump their frustration in reviews. People with positive experiences often do not write reviews.
At this point it is again important to emphasize that the Premium Subscription starts automatically after the 3 test days. So you really have to cancel actively before, otherwise you will be charged for the year without option for refund.
Compatibility – Available App Versions
The app is specifically designed for smartphones, so there is no desktop computer monitoring for Windows or MAC computers or notebooks with Familytime.io. The app is available for Android phones, iPhones, tablets and Amazon devices.
Is there an Business Version?
The app is aimed at families and is not really suitable for companies. There are more suitable programs for business use.
Is the use of the app legal?
Parents’ use of the App with respect to underage children is absolutely legal. Parents have the right and duty to educate and protect their children. In view of the particularities of the use of the Internet, a parental control app is particularly useful.
Familytime Review Conclusion
Our impression is that Familytime is best suited for younger children who are not yet active messenger chat users due to their age. Teenagers use apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Snapchat and other messenger apps quite a lot and potential monitoring and control of these apps in detail is a concern for parents of teenagers. Of course this is not true for all parents. In principle, these apps can be blocked, for example, to temporarily forbid a teenager to use them. However, the app offers all the functions that are interesting for the typical mobile phone usage of kindergarten and primary school children.