Turn Any Android Phone Into A Kids Phone

Want to control which apps kids can access on an Android phone – and which numbers they can call, or receive calls from?

Kyte Phone is a new app that turns any Android phone into a kids-friendly phone – with full parental controls and GPS tracking. It is currently available for USA only and requires that the phone has a data plan (so that changes made by parents in the web based user account dashboard can remotely update the phone’s Kyte app).

Updated Feb 2015 – unfortunately this app has closed for the moment. Why not take a look at our Android category for other related stories and news.

Kyte Phone For Android

Averages ratings – 4.4 star ratings but only released last week
Cost – free
Adverts – none in the app
Designed for – Android 2.2 (or higher).

Features

  • Kyte UI (User Interface) – after parents log in to the Kyte Phone app, Kyte takes over the device with a friendly, playful UI from which kids cannot exit
  • Restricted Contacts – kids can only make or receive calls from a list of parent-approved phone numbers
  • Restricted apps – kids can only use apps or games that parents enable for them
  • Web based user account dashboard: – Parents can get a summary of all activity on the phone, including games played and calls made, view their child’s latest location andquickly change who their kids can call and which apps/games they can use – changes are synced automatically with the phone
  • No Adverts – Kyte will not show ads to kids or share your children’s personal information.
  • Cost – Kyte works on the fremium model. Basic current features are free. Charges may be made for premium features which may become available in the future.

Test Video

The video below from the developer provides an overview of the Kyte Phone on Android.

Download

Download and more info at Google Play – removed Feb 2015.

Privacy

There is one negative user review in Google Play citing privacy concerns, namely that Kyte uploads contacts and the phone location to their web service but the criticism seems unfair to me – perhaps it was a disgruntled kid’s review ;-)

Both aspects are part of the core functionality of any app like this. Kyte must be able to update the web dashboard with the phone location to enable parents to view it. Likewise, contacts must be uploaded so that parents can manage them in the user dashboard…

I did note that the app permissions include ‘Directly call phone numbers’ which allows an app to call phone numbers ‘without your intervention’ – whilst that sounds a bit scary, this permission is typically required by apps for ‘linked’ phone numbers i.e. where you press a link or icon to call a number for you – instead of typing it.

This is exactly what the Kyte user interface does – for example, it assigns a picture ‘link’ for ‘Dad’ which calls the relevant number ‘without your intervention’ i.e. you don’t dial the number yourself.

Conclusion

Kyte is an interesting new app with positive user reviews.

It makes an Android phone more suitable and risk free for kids by creating a walled garden of apps and contacts – chosen specifically for them by the parents. It also allows parents to track the phone and view a history of activity.

The privacy aspects are basically the same as with any app of this type and depend whether you trust the developer, Google’s vetting of apps and how risk averse you are.

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