Do you trust your kids to responsibly use a phone, tablet, or computer at all times, without supervision? Do you trust them to responsibly use the Internet with no restrictions? If you’re like most parents I talk to, you answered “No” to one or both of these questions. Did you? That means you’re interested in parental controls and Internet filtering.
Mobicip is parental control and Internet filtering software for mobile devices and computers. In this review, I’ll tell you how Mobicip can help you protect your kids online.
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In a hurry? In summary, Mobicip is parental control and Internet filtering software for Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire, Windows, Mac, and Chromebook. Read on for more details.
When kids have their own devices, especially those with Internet access, there’s a good chance they’ll try to use them in ways that are against your wishes, or are outright dangerous. Here are just a few of the challenges you face:
- Your kids may visit websites that contain malware that could harm their device, and even other connected devices.
- Your kids may access illegal content, such as pirated music and movies, and illegal forms of porn.
- Your kids may communicate with people who mean them harm, such as cyberbullies and Internet predators.
- Your kids may use apps you don’t approve of.
- Your kids may view websites, images, videos, and other content you don’t approve of, such as porn.
- Your kids may send and receive messages you don’t approve of, such as sexual or hateful messages.
- Your kids may spend more time using their devices than you want them to.
- Your kids may use their devices without your supervision, whether at home or outside it.
- The parental controls built into devices and apps may not limit your kids as much as you’d like.
For these reasons, you should consider parental control software such as Mobicip.
How to Protect Your Kids
Video Tour of Mobicip Parental Portal
I have a set of questions I usually ask about parental control and Internet filtering software. I researched to find answers. Let’s go through them.
1. What devices does Mobicip work with?
It works on Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire, Windows, Mac, and Chromebook.
2. What apps can Mobicip monitor or control?
On Android, iPhone, iPad, and Amazon Fire, it can monitor and block apps. It can manage apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can block apps that are already installed on an Android device, iPhone, or iPad, as well as apps that aren’t installed (to prevent them from being installed).
There’s an Allowed Apps Only setting which blocks all apps except those you specifically allow.
Pay special attention to social media, messaging, and dating apps.
It’s important to note that when your kid installs an app, it will be allowed until you block it (unless you enabled the Allowed Apps Only setting). So I recommend that you use the parental controls built into mobile devices to prevent your child from installing apps, or have them use non-administrator accounts which can’t install apps. If you choose to allow your kid to install apps, you’ll want to keep an eye on new app installations so you can block any that you don’t approve of.
3. Will Mobicip work outside my home network?
Yes, the software runs locally on the device, monitoring regardless of the network that’s used (whether your kids are on your home Wi-Fi, someone else’s Wi-Fi, or cellular data).
On Android and iOS, Mobicip routes Internet traffic through their servers using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), allowing any browser on those devices to be filtered.
4. How granularly can Mobicip filter content?
It filters based on how Mobicip has categorized the website, but also actively scans content, so it can recognize inappropriate content even on websites that are otherwise appropriate. For example, when I tested, it blocked embedded YouTube videos and other embedded content from disallowed websites.
Not all Internet filtering software actively scans content; many filters simply judge websites based on how they’ve been categorized.
You can manually block (blacklist) and allow (whitelist) websites, regardless of how Mobicip has categorized them.
There’s a Whitelist Only mode that will block all websites that you haven’t specifically allowed (whitelisted).
You can set Mobicip to block words and phrases that you specify from search engines, websites, and videos.
5. What website categories can Mobicip filter?
There are 29 categories, plus an Uncategorized category for websites that aren’t in the other 29 categories.
You choose whether the Uncategorized category is blocked or allowed. If your kids are young, I recommend blocking uncategorized websites to prevent your kids from visiting websites that haven’t yet been categorized, or don’t fit into one of the other categories. If there are uncategorized websites they legitimately need to visit, you can always manually add them to the Allowed Websites list.
Mobicip will automatically filter websites according to their age-based presets, but you can change any of the presets.
Some of the presets:
- Block only adult-oriented and mature sites/content on the internet
- Block additional browsing categories like weapons, violence, proxy, virus, hacking sites/content for middle school and high school children
- Block Google images, online shopping, gambling, dating, liquor, and chat sites/content in addition to set strict controls on the browser
6. How will I monitor my kids’ activity with Mobicip?
There are 3 ways to monitor activity:
- Mobicip app (for Android, iPhone, iPad)
- Mobicip web portal (from any device)
- Email reports (weekly or monthly)
Mobicip keeps 4 weeks of Internet browsing history.
You can set Mobicip to Accountability mode which doesn’t block anything, it only monitors and allows you to view activity.
7. Does Mobicip use a whitelist or a blacklist?
First, a couple definitions (which you can also find in the Glossary):
- Whitelist: A list of approved items. A system that uses a whitelist blocks all items that are not on the whitelist.
- Blacklist: A list of disapproved items. A system that uses a blacklist allows all items that are not on the blacklist.
Mobicip uses a blacklist approach for apps and websites. However, you can use the Allowed Apps Only feature to use a whitelist approach for apps. You can also use the Whitelist Only feature to use a whitelist approach for websites.
8. Does Mobicip control screen time? How granularly?
Yes, you can set the days and times of day that a device may be used each day. You can also disable a device, or all family devices, at any time.
However, you can’t set the total amount of time a device may be used each day. This is an odd omission, since this is a common feature of parental control software.
9. What browsers does Mobicip work with?
Mobicip can filter any browser, unlike other software which can filter only particular browsers, or even require your kids to use a special browser. On mobile devices (Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire), Mobicip routes Internet traffic to its servers through its VPN (Virtual Private Network).
10. Can Mobicip filter HTTPS traffic?
Yes, it can.
HTTPS creates a secure, encrypted connection between a web browser and a website, to protect transmitted data from eavesdroppers. You’ve seen browsers show web addresses (URLs) starting with https://, and maybe also show a padlock symbol.
Many sites encrypt their traffic with HTTPS, so it’s important that you be able to monitor and filter your child’s HTTPS traffic.
11. Can Mobicip track my kid’s location?
Yes, on mobile devices (Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire), Mobicip tracks location using GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular towers. It displays the location on a map in the app or parental web portal.
12. How can I manage the settings of Mobicip?
There are 2 ways to manage the software:
- Mobicip app (for Android, iPhone, iPad)
- Mobicip web portal (from any device)
If your child is blocked from accessing an app or website, they can send you an access request, which you can allow or deny.
13. How frequently is Mobicip updated?
Looking at the update dates for the Mobicip software for the various platforms, I see that it’s being frequently updated.
I don’t know how often the database used for web filtering is updated. That’s another reason to block the Uncategorized category, to prevent your kids from visiting websites that haven’t yet been categorized.
14. How easily can my kid get around Mobicip?
On Android, Amazon Fire, Windows, and Mac, Mobicip can only be uninstalled by an administrator. As long as your child doesn’t have administrative access, they can’t remove it.
On iPhone and iPad, your child may be able to disable or remove Mobicip, but you’ll be notified, and your child will not be able to access the Internet.
On Chromebook, your child will be able to remove Mobicip, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the activity reports so you’ll notice if it suddenly stops showing activity.
Keep in mind that your child will be able to access apps and websites that aren’t blocked (by Mobicip’s presets or your manual blocking), unless you use the Allowed Apps Only feature for apps and the Whitelist Only feature for websites.
If your child tries to disconnect the Mobicip VPN, they’ll be prompted to log into the Mobicip account, which they won’t be able to do if you guard your Mobicip login.
Have your child use non-Administrator user accounts on devices, to limit their ability to remove Mobicip and install apps.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, when your kid installs an app, it will be allowed until you block it (unless you enabled the Allowed Apps Only setting). So I recommend that you use the parental controls built into mobile devices to prevent your child from installing apps, or have them use non-administrator accounts which can’t install apps. If you choose to allow your kid to install apps, you’ll want to keep an eye on new app installations so you can block any that you don’t approve of.
15. How many devices or accounts does Mobicip cover?
The Standard plan covers up to 5 devices, but you can upgrade to cover up to 20 devices. I’ll tell you about the pricing later.
16. What else do I need to know about Mobicip?
There are a few other miscellaneous things I’d like you to know about Mobicip.
You can set Mobicip to block several popular video streaming services.
Mobicip can filter YouTube, checking for inappropriate words in each video’s title, description, comments and other metadata.
You can contact Mobicip support via their website contact form or email. If necessary, they may schedule a phone call.
17. What does Mobicip cost?
Here’s the pricing for Mobicip:
- $50/year for up to 5 devices
- $90/year for up to 10 devices
- $125/year for up to 15 devices
- $160/year for up to 20 devices
Who Is Mobicip Best For?
Mobicip is great for families that use a variety of devices, since it works with Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire, Windows, Mac, and Chromebook.
It’s also a good choice for families that want solid Internet filtering, because it can filter any browser, and actively scans the content of webpages.
It may not be the best choice for your family if you want to monitor or block software on Windows, Mac, or Chromebook, because Mobicip doesn’t do that. For those systems, you’ll need to use Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family Premier, or other parental control software.
What You Should Do
- Define what you want parental control and Internet filtering software to do. Start with what you’ve learned in this review.
- Decide if Mobicip will work for you and your kids.
- If you choose Mobicip, install and configure it. As you do, consider my advice throughout this review.
- Talk to your kids about the settings you configure. Talk when you first set up Mobicip, as well as regularly after that. Technology is no substitute for parenting.
- Regularly evaluate how well the software is working for your family. Adjust the software, and your settings, as necessary.