Vodafone Hutchison Australia

New App Helps Aussie Families Agree Boundaries for Mobile Use

Free Android app works on any Australian mobile network to support safe and responsible mobile use for children of any age


North Sydney, New South Wales -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/25/2012 -- Vodafone’s top tips for mobile families:
1. Talk openly: Talk openly about your family's smartphone use to help your children understand the responsibility that comes with using digital technology
2. Set boundaries: Agree clear and measurable boundaries when it comes to your family's mobile phone use
3. Start young: Start conversations about digital technology early so you're introducing ideas about safe and responsible phone use from a young age

Tuesday 20th March, 2012, Sydney: Vodafone has answered the call from parents who?ve asked for a greater say in how and when their children use their mobile phones by launching Vodafone Guardian, a new app for Android-powered smartphones.

Vodafone Guardian is free and allows families to agree parameters on their children's smartphone use, including when children are permitted to make calls, receive texts, access the web browser and play games. The app also features instant override capabilities, so children can use the full functionality of the phone in an emergency. Of course, families can select settings which ensure that parents or guardians can, call or text their children at any time.

Vodafone's brand new Android app, Vodafone Guardian encourages parents and children to discuss and select the best smartphone settings for the child, giving parents reassurance and children flexibility whilst promoting safe and responsible mobile phone use. Vodafone Guardian is also a response to the (usually) „always-on? internet capabilities of the latest smartphones and modern obsession with text-messaging, by giving parents the ability to manage certain activities during school hours or after bed time.

Pre-programmed with three age settings for 7-8 year olds; 9-10 year olds; 11-12 year olds, and the ability to customise settings manually, the new app lets parents support their child's phone use and encourages the all important conversations between parent and child about responsible mobile phone use.

Cormac Hodgkinson, Customer Operations Director adds, “The new Vodafone Guardian app shows Vodafone's commitment to helping parents navigate the challenges of raising children in the digital age. Having already launched a comprehensive Digital Parenting Guide, which includes a range of expert advice and tips on parenting in the digital age, we hope the new app encourages parents and children to talk openly about responsible mobile phone use, creating a sense of mutual respect and understanding when it comes to digital technology.”

Associate Professor Jane Burns, Chief Executive Officer of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (youngandwellcrc.org.au), says apps like Vodafone Guardian will help open the way for important conversations about the use of digital technology between parents and their children, particularly as they transition to adolescence.

"Technology is ubiquitous in the lives of young people. They are exposed to all forms of technology, often from a very early age, and for some parents it can be quite daunting when it comes to navigating the many aspects of their child's experience of digital technologies. By talking openly about the benefits and risks, parents and young people can, together, come up with safe and responsible ways of managing their use of technology. Vodafone's Guardian app will help start an important conversation between parents and their children."

Key features of Vodafone Guardian include: Set times of day your child can use their phone for calling, receiving texts and accessing the web browser (e.g. turn off during school hours, at bed time) Bar calls from numbers that aren?t in the contacts list (i.e. only accept calls from friends and family) Decide times of the day the Internet via browser; Wi-Fi; or specific apps such as games and videos can be used Unsubscribe from any existing subscriptions to Premium Rate Numbers, helping to control costs Give your child the ability to block TXTs from individual contact numbers to help address bullying. Blocked TXTs are locked in a password protected archive

Vodafone Guardian also includes an emergency override function which allows a child to disable all restricted settings, for 15 minutes, in an emergency after which it is automatically enabled again. This function is available just in case the child needs to contact someone urgently and the settings are activated to block outgoing calls. The Parent Contact will be notified by TXT if the Emergency Override function is used and Vodafone Guardian is temporarily disabled.

Vodafone Guardian also has an „always allowed list? – which is a set of numbers that will always be allowed no matter what restrictions have been set. These are emergency service numbers like „000?, child support numbers such as Kids Helpline^ and key Vodafone numbers like customer care and support (for Vodafone customers).

From Monday 19th March the Vodafone Guardian app will be available for FREE* from the Google Play Store (formerly Android Market), just search for „Vodafone Guardian? on your mobile or scan this QR code. Go to www.vodafone.com.au/guardian to find out more.