Suren's blog

How to Interact With Your Kids Using Mobicip

One of the most important benefits of parental controls is that it enables open discussion. Mobicip allows your kids to request access to blocked content, right from within the browser when any content is blocked. You can review the requests at any time and approve or deny each one*.

* This is a beta feature that is not available to all users just yet. If enabled for your account, you may use it as shown below.

To review pending access requests, simply login at mobicip.com and select Requests.

Mobicip > Requests menu

You will see a list of requests, along with the associated filter profile. Click each request to review it.

Access Requests feature screenshot

You can choose to allow that particular content, or the entire domain.

Access Request

You can also choose to receive alerts by email for each access request. Simply click on 'Notify me' at the top right, and enter the email address at which you wish to receive the alerts.

Access Requests notification settings

App Monitoring for Android Available Now!

Yes, one of the the most popular Mobicip features on iOS is now available on Android - App Monitoring. You can now keep track of apps installed on your kids' Android OS-based devices, and setting it up is a breeze!

Unlike on iOS devices, there is no extra step required to enable this feature. Simply install the Mobicip Safe Browser for Android and it comes with App Monitoring built-in.

- You may then login at mobicip.com, select Apps and the device you wish to check.

Mobicip App Monitor menu

- Thats it! You should see all the apps installed on that device. You can then sort by Play Store category, maturity rating, etc.

App Monitor for Android

Give it a whirl and let us know what you think. If you're as excited as we are about this awesome feature, please leave a review on the Play Store!

A Story of a Brain Freeze and a Lollipop Crush

Thanksgiving collage

A new version of the Mobicip Safe Browser for iOS was rolled out via the App Store last week. Today, a freshly minted Safe Browser for Android is available on the Google Play Store. While we do update apps once in a while, the latest updates are significant in more ways than one.

Unfreezing the Brain Freeze

When the last update of the Safe Browser for iOS went live in August, it was a fairly routine one that was developed, tested thoroughly and deployed with confidence. Little did we realize the mayhem it would cause over the next several weeks. Apparently, the browser would freeze randomly, crash occasionally, and do it so unpredictably that it confounded users and developers alike. It took several weeks to understand that code that was carried over from older versions of iOS was causing the app to brain-freeze. And so it was back to the drawing board to painstakingly recreate the app using the latest and greatest offered by the iOS SDK (Software Development Kit), followed by several rounds of testing and bug-fixing that drove our QA engineers to the edge of crazyness. After a week of release, judging from the noise that has died down, and the silent applause from anonymous users, it looks like we did it. You see, we rarely hear from users when they're happy. There is an ominious and sweet silence, with only the download numbers acting as proof of said happiness. It appears that the freeze is gone. Phew! What a relief.

Download the latest update from the App Store on each of your kids' devices. Simply unlock / open the App Store on the device and select Updates > Update All.

The Lollipop Crush

The Android L aka Android 5.0 aka Android Lollipop update was announced at the Google I/O conference in June. It was not immediately obvious that a whole lot of APIs had changed. In fact, so much had changed that it took several months of development effort to create the same user experience as on Android KitKat 4.x. And as the official release date approached, Google chose to release another devleloper update of Android L that led to another round of scrambling to reinvent the wheel. Suffice to say that 'Lollipop' has come to represent a moving target that can hardly be reached. Some heroic effort and sleepless nights later, the update was published today. Phew, again! What a relief 2.0.

Download the latest update from the Play Store and you should be all set. If you have auto-update enabled, it should be installed already.

Happy Thanksgiving

After weeks of burning the midnight oil, we are coming up on a well-deserved break. Wish you all (well, if you're in the US) a wonderful weekend and a great time with your family. Oh, and if you wish to thank us, a super-nice review on the App Store or the Play Store would be some sweet icing on the cake... er... gravy on the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: The Coastal Chick / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Foter / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) PDD

iPads in K-12. Short-cut or Detour?

At last count, there were 10 million iPads deployed in US school systems. Overcoming initial resistance, schools are increasingly embracing mobile learning, specifically iPads. Experts like Dr. Elliott Solloway and Dr. Cathy Norris question the frenzy. The goal of such initiatives should be to change the education paradigm from a 'memorization-oriented pedagogy' to an 'inquiry pedagogy'. The question is whether it is making a real difference in the student's journey.

iPads in classroom cart

"To support 24/7 inquiry, a student needs a mobile device that is ready-at-hand," argue Dr. Solloway and Dr. Norris. "A 10 inch-screened device is not truly ready-at-hand; or more likely, it is sitting in the iPad charging cart in the classroom."

It is true that most mobile learning initiatives in schools restrict usage to the classroom. And that is a shame because it undermines the goal of "inquiry pedagogy"! At Mobicip, our founding mission is to support ready-at-hand learning, anytime, anywhere. Here's to unleashing the cart-bound towards true mobile learning.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
 
Photo credit: stevegatoz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Educated Parents & Successful Kids

There is no question that parents are the first role models for kids. But a recent study makes a claim that a father’s level of education is the strongest factor determining a child’s future success at school. The report from the Office for National Statistics in the UK claims that children are seven and a half times less likely to be successful at school if their father had a low level of education, and three times less likely to have a low educational outcome if their mother did so.

Student reading and writing

Previous studies have indicated such a link between parent-child education levels, but the latest study shows a marked impact of a father's attainment level on the child's education. “This report shows just how important education is in breaking that cycle of poverty across generations and ensuring that poor educational achievement is not transmitted from parent to child,” says Conor Ryan, Director of Research at the Sutton Trust, a think tank that addresses educational inequality. Learn more.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

The Screen Time Paradox

One of the many challenges faced by the digital parent today is the question of how much screen time is good, or not good, for our kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the average kid spends 7 hours a day across television, computers, tablets and smartphones.  It also recommends that parents should try to limit screen time to 2 hours a day at most. Critics of such one-size-fits-all studies argue that not all screen time is the same.

Kid with the iPad screen

"The idea of telling my kid he can only have one to two hours of computer time a day makes me laugh. Seriously?" argues Dresden Shumaker, a writer and parent who makes some valid counterpoints. "When it comes to screens, time isn’t what needs to be monitored. What needs monitoring is content and how involved we are."

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Photo credit: aperturismo / Foter / CC BY-SA

Keeping Up With Tech-Savvy Kids

The younger generation has always been a step ahead in adapting to new technologies and platforms. Modern smartphones and tablets have allowed them to evolve into true 'digital natives' as opposed to their parents' generation of 'digital immigrants'. This generation gap has created a challenge for parents today in keeping up with their tech-savvy kids, if not staying one step ahead. 

iPad Parent & Child

A former teacher, now EdTech consultant, Patricia Brown suggests:

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Photo credit: flickingerbrad / Foter / CC BY

There is an App for That? Tips from a Math Teacher

Schools are embracing digital technologies like never before. However, many parents have a mistaken notion that the tablet or laptop replaces the previously used physical medium, like the textbook or notebook. Some others acknowledge that it is a good consumption device, where students can review content posted by the teacher or school. All it takes to flip the switch is one look at a teacher using technology for learning in a simple and intuitive manner. 

Geoboard screenshot

Monica Burns, a former elementary school teacher in a 1:1 classroom, usesGeoboard - a virtual manipulative app - to reinforce math concepts and promote higher order thinking skills.

"Geoboard is an app that is all about the activity you choose to do with it, as opposed to leading students in a particular direction." See full article here.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

How to Protect Your Kids' Privacy at School

As schools are increasingly going digital, parents should be asking some important questions about what apps their kids are using at school, what data is being collected, and how the information collected is being used. If the whole issue of privacy is new and the phrase 'personally identifiable information' doesn't mean anything to you, it is time to get started and educate yourself!

Students using technology in the classroom

Dan Tynan, Yahoo's Tech Columnist, recommends the following checklist for parents:
  • Do your own research
  • Ask teachers about websites used in class
  • Ask administrators about the school's use of data
  • Monitor your school's web and social media sites
  • Read every educational app's privacy policy
  • Minimize your data entry
  • Opt-out early and often
  • Make your voice heard
To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Getting Ready for Back to School!

Most K-12 schools are back in session (in the US) over the next few weeks. It is time to prepare to get back into the routine and get things in order. One thing to check on is your kids' devices to make sure they are setup with age-appropriate restrictions and parental controls. Done already? Ok. Here are some more resources to help you de-stress and stay in control over the next few days.

Back to school

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe

Photo credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives / Foter / CC BY 2.0

Expired Subscription? Here's How to Renew it!

If your subscription is about to expire or has expired already, you must have received an email notification. To renew your subscription, follow the steps below.

  • Login at mobicip.com.
  • If your subscription has expired already, you will see a notification like this.

Upgrade Notice

  • Click the 'Upgrade Now' link to purchase a new subscription.
  • If you do not see any notification, select Devices from the menu.

Devices menu

  • You will see a list of devices with associated subscription expiry or renewal dates.
  • Click Upgrade Now or Renew Now and follow the prompts to re-activate your subscription.

Renew Button

Note: Subscriptions purchased will be applied to devices using your account. If you need any devices to be removed, or subscriptions moved around, please contact support with your request.

Internet Safety Among Top 10 Kids' Health Concerns

Every parent has concerns about their children's health and safety, but sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone. The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital publishes a national (US-wide) poll based on an annual survey, and this year's results are as revealing as they come. Read the full report here.

Top 10 Children's Health Concerns Infographic

Highlights

  • Internet Safety is one of the top concerns in the local community and nationwide
  • Bullying nearly tops the list nationwide, second only to childhood obesity

Are we worrying too much? Stephen Balkan, CEO of Family Online Safety Institute, offers the sage advice, "let’s help kids to become resilient, by helping themselves and then helping others." Enough said.

Best of the Mobicip Blog

Have you visited the Mobicip Blog lately? Check out some of our most recent popular posts:

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Browser Updates Available Now!

It has been a productive summer at Mobicip and the updates keep coming! In case you haven't noticed already, the latest update of the Safe Browser is now available on the App Store and Play Store. On iOS, the update offers a fresh user experience and fixes several bugs, especially the deployment server issue for schools. On Android, the update fixes the workaround issue on Samsung tabs, among several other bug fixes.

Download Mobicip Safe Browser with Parental Control Update from the App Store

Download the update now

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

All New Parent / Admin Interface Available Now

If you're a Mobicip Premium user, you may have noticed the revamped Web & App Monitor already. This redesign brings some key changes to the parent / admin interface that you see when you login at mobicip.com to review your reports and settings.

You will notice that

among other improvements and enhancements. The goal of this revamp is to make the interface more intuitive for novice to advanced users, regardless of the type of device or browser used. Please take a look and let us know what you think and what can be improved further.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

The Mobicip crew
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

4 Ways to Put the Family iPad to Good Use

Educators around the world are embracing mobile learning in what is considered a relentless and inevitable march towards the 'flipped' classroom. The average family today owns at least a handful of mobile devices, which invariably end up serving as modern-day babysitters, among other duties. Is there something we can learn from teachers to turn such free-form playtime into opportunities for learning?
  1. Consumption: Playing with apps is one thing, but it is increasingly clear to educators that making the incredible wealth of information on the web accessible (while making it age-appropriate, of course) is a vital cog in the mobile learning experience.
  2. Curation: An app like Notability allows kids to save their own articles, annotate them, highlight passages, add a picture, drawing, chart or sticky note, integrate a website or media, and add their own voice, effectively transcending what can be done on pen and paper.
  3. Creativity: Check out apps like Explain EverythingBook CreatorAnimotoiMovieGarage BandVoiceThreadDoodlecast, etc. Such apps put your kids at the center of the content creation process, which makes for a far more powerful learning experience than just consuming content.
  4. Connection: One of the primary motivations for kids to engage in creative activities is to share the product of their efforts. With family, friends, and peers. Create an environment that is conducive for creative collaboration, a virtual play network perhaps, and you'll see how it enriches the creator and the consumer.

Next time you consign the family tablet to its babysitting duties, think like a teacher. Have an underlying plan in place. As HarvardX Research Fellow Justin Reich puts it, don't “think of iPads as repositories of apps, but rather as portable media creation devices.”

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

The Mobicip crew

Photo credit: davitydave / Foter / CC BY-NC 2.0

This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Pages