Microsoft Family Safety app for iOS and Android helps parents monitor their kids

Nowadays, the internet isn't just a part of life -- it is life. While that is a rather cold reality, the fact is, most of us are glued to our devices these days. Sadly, this includes children too. Long gone are the days of boys playing baseball or girls skipping rope outside. Instead, it is all about TikTok, Instagram, and SnapChat. Kids don't want to be professional athletes or rock stars, instead wanting to be a famous YouTuber or Twitch streamer.

And so, parents have their hands full when it comes to monitoring their child's online activity. Back in the day, a family might have one desktop in the home, making it easy to know who is online and when. With tablets and smartphones, however, parents are often in the dark. Well, Microsoft has a new app that will empower parents in their quest to monitor their kids. Called "Microsoft Family Safety," it is available for both Android and iOS.

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What does the app actually do? Quite a bit actually. For instance, parents are provided with weekly activity reports, so they can see what their child (or children) are doing online. Based on this report, parents can then limit the child's screen time allotment. If a child needs to be punished, a parent can decrease the allowed screen time as a deterrent from bad behavior. Got a D+ on a math test? Cut their screen time in half for the week!

Drilling down further, parents can use the Microsoft Family Safety app to block specific websites, limit them to kid-friendly sites, or block them from "adult" sites. If you are worried about them spending real money on games an apps (or in-game purchases for virtual weapons and such), you can limit that too -- requiring a parent approve any purchase.

Best of all, the app will allow you to physically track the location of your family members -- including children. If they are late coming home from school, for example, before you freak out and call 911, you can open the app and see exactly where they are. If God forbid your child is kidnapped or missing, the location tracking can help law enforcement find him or her. If you are worried about privacy abuses, don't -- Microsoft vows that your data "will not be sold or shared with insurance companies or data brokers."

If you want to download the Microsoft Family Safety app, it can be had here for iOS and here for Android.

Photo Credit: Ljupco SmokovskiShutterstock

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