Tampa developer's app monitors kids' cell phone use - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa developer's app monitors kids' cell phone use

Posted: Updated:
A Tampa-based app developer has created a free application that allows parents to monitor their child's cell phone activity. A Tampa-based app developer has created a free application that allows parents to monitor their child's cell phone activity.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - There's no right age for a kid to get a cell phone. According to Pew Research, though, most kids are getting their first cell phones between the ages of 12 and 14.

Many younger teens will be opening the gadgets on Christmas Day. A local app developer, Robyn Spoto, says her MamaBear app puts parents at ease. The app monitors kids' cell phone use.

"It's almost like training wheels," Spoto said. "We have to prepare them and make them safe when they're getting new things."

The free app has been around for about one year now. So far, more than 100,000 people have installed it.

On the app you can set a "word bucket." If your child uses certain words on social media, you'll get an alert. That helps prevent bullying and inappropriate activity.

You can also locate your kid on a map, and see who's tagged him or her on certain sites. The app also allows you to see how fast your child is driving.

So far, the app only monitors Facebook and Instagram but Spoto says they're working on an update for Twitter, texting, and other social media outlets.

Related: Cell phone policy has students talking

"Being aware is the first step," Spoto said. "Setting boundaries is another."

Susan Williamson's granddaughter just got her first cell phone at age 11.

"It's for safety purposes," Williamson said. "It's easy to monitor it these days. There are so many tools to help you monitor a cell phone. You can know where they are at any moment."

If you're giving your child a phone for Christmas, Spoto recommends the following
  • Create a contract with your child: Lay out a detailed description of exactly how much your child can use the phone and for what.
  • Set up parental restrictions: Do this by going to the settings section on your child's phone. From there you can set password protected restrictions. You can prevent them from using the internet or certain apps.     
  • Monitor social media: Use apps like MamaBear to check in on your child's habits.
  • More information about the MamaBear app
Don’t miss out on the day’s top Facebook conversations http://on.fb.me/18y81Cl

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.