just installed Safe Family on my son Huawei P8Lite (Android 6.0 Marshmallow - ) and remotely controlled both from the app on a Samsung S4 (Android 5.0.1 Lollipop).
On my son phone I set all the controls (Accessibility, Security), set the security levels to high and selected apps to be accessible or not.
Apparently it works, however:
- after the first attempt to open an app (e.g.Playstore) that is correctly blocked and reported, while attempting again to enter I have "time" to click on installing apps before I'm blocked again;
- after having accepted to temporarily enable the browser (Chrome) I can navigate without restriction more than the time limite;
- even if I have blocked youtube app I can access it and randomly I got the access blocked.
- apparently without any reason the Accessibility switch is put back off after some time didn't found any evident reason.
In general seems to be correctly designed (in term of expected features a parent need), however:
- non deterministic behaviour is experimented as above;
- my son is still able to disable the controls and uninstall the app - this should be forced to not happen without parent permission or some "admin" password;
- the probe that detect the use of unpermitted apps/sites seems to react when the action is completed and access is done. Probably the Android SO keep in RAM the app while the probe intercept only access to persistent storage.
Happy to test further and provide more info.
thanks for your detailed description. you sound like you have a technical background ;)
I will email you directly to ask other questions and put you in touch with our engineering team.
for this feedback:
"- my son is still able to disable the controls and uninstall the app - this should be forced to not happen without parent permission or some "admin" password;"
We're taking a different approach with how this is handled. our goal is to keep you, the parent, informed, so that you can decide how you want to handle it (we encourage a discussion and review of the rules for device usage - ie. app needs to stay on the device). we inform parents by sending an activity in the parent view of the app. Kids will inevitably find a way around any protection put in place and we prefer to encourage more trust and transparency, then locking everything down. The uninstall notification will be under the system group of activities. we are working to improve the notifications of those events.
(yes, I'm an IT PM and researcher).
I don't question your philosophy, even I don't fully conforme with it.
As parent I can say that is not a matter of trust in the kids, rather in the apps they use. Some free apps launch access to web-site without any explicit request by user.
I agree that if they want overrule anything they will do. But the important thing is that IF THEY DON'T WANT they are not brought with tricks into web zones not suitable for them.
As PM I would say that the notification mechanism is faulty 'cause it not inform if and when it is stopped (for what-ever reason). On my mobile I have tracing of the activities until certain point then nothing: I need to manually check his mobile to see what happened.
I think that constraining the deactivation of the app by a pwd or a confirmation mechanism from the father app would not compromise the trustworthiness between parent and child.
Yes, you are right, there are improvements that we will be making to make the notification process more obvious for the parent and that is something that we are working on to improve.
Also your son shouldn't be able to change the rules himself, but there is an issue that are addressing around how quickly the block screen comes up. that should provide a more deterministic behavior for your child.
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