- SOS emergency alerts
- Unique FunTime and TimeBank system
- Block mobile apps
- Helpful guides
- Only for mobile
- Limited activity monitoring
- Short trial period
Since FamilyTime only works on mobile devices, its functions are focused entirely on monitoring children’s phones. FamilyTime offers an app for parents to install on the child’s phone and then a different monitoring app where they can adjust settings and receive mobile notifications like SOS alerts. It’s also possible to monitor on the web dashboard but some settings are missing, particularly location-based features, which is unfortunate since this is where FamilyTime shines the most. The PickMeUp feature and the aforementioned SOS alert button are also incredibly useful. The latter in particular is an important safety addition: when pressed, the SOS alert sends the child’s location to the parent and then gives helpful advice to the child to stay calm and not panic in a stressful situation. Parents can use the dashboard to see their child’s location and their own, making locating the child much easier. Parents can also use geofencing, which will send you alerts if a child is in a location you haven’t permitted or leaves a particular area.
One unique feature FamilyTime brings to the table is FunTime. This works like a scheduler, where parents set times for kids to use their devices freely and times when they should be focusing on homework instead. However, the twist with FunTime is that children can save time during the week which goes into their TimeBank to spend later. Kids can then ‘cash in’ this extra time for extended weekend hours. Of course, when it’s time for a family meal you’re able to push the pause button to lock your child’s device for a set amount of time.
There are more direct monitoring features available with FamilyTime too. Android users will be able to view text messages, call history, and contacts. We’ll get into why this isn’t an iOS feature later. Unfortunately, there’s no way of monitoring direct messages on WhatsApp or any other social media platform. However, FamilyTime does allow parents to view or block installed apps on a device, as well as to be notified when new apps are installed.
Sadly, FamilyTime doesn’t provide the full range of social media monitoring that you see in other parental control solutions. Regardless, there are still some ways to reduce social media use. FamilyTime allows you to monitor and restrict app usage on Android devices, including social media apps, or the apps can be blocked entirely.
FamilyTime is only designed to monitor mobile devices, although parents can use the dashboard on any desktop web browser alongside a separate parent app. However, which features you get on your mobile device varies wildly depending on whether you’re using Android or iOS. This is a common issue for most parental control software due to the different (and more restrictive) rules that Apple imposes on its approved apps.
This means the Android version of FamilyTime has the majority of features, with a few minor exceptions. The most noticeable of these is the absence of TeenSafe Drive, which as the name suggests monitors driving speeds. Meanwhile, iOS users get the short end of the stick – as is typically the case with parental control software. So, while the speed limit monitoring is there, there’s no place for text, call, or internet history monitoring. It’s also not possible to limit time spent on certain apps or to make use of FunTime and TimeBank. Although there are some extra filtering options available to iOS users, they don’t make up for all the missing features.
One nice aspect of FamilyTime is that the pricing structure is incredibly simple, even down to the unimaginative naming system. The cheapest way to get FamilyTime is with the MyFamily package, which covers one device and costs $27 yearly – the equivalent of paying just $2.25 per month. It’s as simple as that: all of FamilyTime’s features are available regardless of which package you choose. Of course, if you want to cover extra devices then you’ll have to go for one of the other subscriptions, and there are discounts for multiple devices.
Although FamilyTime prices are low, it’s worth frequently checking the website for seasonal discounts that may save you additional money. You may even find that the live chat on the website will offer you discount codes if you browse for long enough. Payments can be made through any of the major credit cards, including Discover, or through PayPal. Although FamilyTime doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, you can test out the product briefly with its free 3-day trial.
To get in touch with FamilyTime’s customer support, live chat and email are the main methods of contact. However, when we contacted customer support to cancel our trial it was over 15 hours before we got a reply. Although a written response within 24 hours is good for most inquiries, it’s less than ideal when you’re contacting to cancel an already short 3-day trial which could lead to customers unwittingly paying for the service. Alternatively, there is a phone number to get in touch with support directly, but it’s difficult to find it on the website. Although you can also find FamilyTime on Facebook and Twitter there’s very little customer interaction there so it’s best to contact customer support through more direct methods.
FamilyTime does have a useful website with a large knowledge base including an FAQ section and some very helpful installation guides. There’s also a regularly updated blog with practical parenting tips and updates about the software.
While we don’t believe FamilyTime's claim of being the “world’s most powerful parental control app”, it certainly has its merits. We were particularly impressed with the location-based features like the geofencing, PickMeUp, and SOS alert button. The ability to measure young drivers’ speeds is a unique concept not often found in other parental control solutions. However, overall the number of features is meager when compared to the competition, especially if you want more extensive monitoring functionality. Limiting the trial period to just three days also means it’s difficult for parents to truly get a feel for the software before they’re forced to commit. Overall, with the functions that FamilyTime provides it works far better as an app for managing screen time and for emergencies than it does for comprehensive child internet activity monitoring. But it’s those emergency situations that should ensure families give FamilyTime a chance.
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