Since its launch in September of 2012, our award-winning Family Guardian security app has been honored with its fifth distinguished award.
NQ Family Guardian won the National Parenting Publication’s Seal of Approval this week in the“Gadgets ‘n’ Gear”category. NAPPA’s panel of independent, expert judges and parent testers evaluated hundreds of submissions looking for innovation, safety, quality, and the value they offer to parents.
NQ Family Guardian helps parents keep kids safe
Once Family Guardian is downloaded and installed on a child’s smartphone, its web-based control center is accessible by a parent or guardian from any desktop or mobile browser. The app gives parents a wide range of choices about the latitude they want to allow for their mobile kids, and it’s easily adjusted for changing age and maturity. The app allows parents to decide how much time their child spends on a mobile device, what content the child can view online, and allows parents to monitor their kids’ mobile activities. In addition, kids can press a button for immediate contact should an emergency arise. With its user-friendly interface, parents and children can work together to set “blocks” and “allows.” Family Guardian keeps mobile kids safe, and provides parents with peace of mind.
For more than 20 years, the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) has been the go-to resource for the best products for families. Decisions are made by their team of independent, expert judges, along with family and child testers. Julie Kertes, NAPPA’s General Manager, tells us,
“Parents look to NAPPA for the best products available for their families, and for that reason, we don’t take the task of vetting each submission lightly. NQ Family Guardian provides peace of mind for parents as they teach their children phone responsibility and safety, and through our judging process, we are proud to announce it as a superior, reliable and innovative product worthy of the NAPPA seal of approval.”
We can’t ask for much higher praise than that.
A consistent award-winner
We’re proud that NQ Family Guardian continues to receive awards that acknowledge its unique and outstanding features. In addition to this week’s NAPPA honors, Family Guardian has earned:
Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) seal of approval.
Top 25 app at the CES Mobile Apps Showdown
Semi-finalist in the 2013 Edison Awards
Finalist in the “Mobile Apps- Productivity, Utility & Public Safety” category of CTIA’s annual Emerging
Technology (E-Tech) Awards competition. (Winners to be announced May 22, 2013)
NQ Family Guardian is available for download on Google Play and at select wireless retail dealers nationwide. For a complete list of all 2013 NAPPA Parenting Resources winners and more information about the competition, visit www.NAPPAawards.com.
Are you and your co-workers still discussing the pros and cons with management about bringing your own mobile devices to work? It’s a concept that’s been subject to debate for quite some time now, and many enterprises have resolved the issue by implementing new forms of network security, as well as imposing some strict policy guidelines for employees.
We each have a preference for certain types of gadgets, whether it’s our favorite smartphone or tablet. Being comfortable with our own devices could improve efficiency, after all. Also, if the corporation isn’t paying for our devices or monthly service, they should be happy to have employees use their own gadgets for work. Shouldn’t they?
If management’s being a bit stubborn about allowing personal devices, consider just a few of the security challenges your employer and IT managers may need to address to accommodate this arrangement.
1. Your company may need to adopt a mobile device management system to track devices connected to the enterprise’s network. IT Managers may place limitations on what you can use and what you can do on your smartphone or pad – for a good reason. Consider how many different makes, models and, operating systems are available to the consumer, and the risks those variations might present to a corporate system. The MDM (mobile device management) system is critical to the secure flow of information between the enterprise and individual mobile users.
2. Mobile users download apps – a lot of apps. When corporate data is accessible on a personal device, infected apps can easily be transferred into the larger system and, likewise, proprietary information can be transferred out of the system. Mobile app management (MAM) is a complex aspect of security that must be incorporated to protect the security and health of the enterprise’s network. Your company may be forced to blacklist certain sites or apps, which may cramp your personal style. It’s a compromise.
3. It seems unlikely, but when personal devices are used on the job, funds can get mixed up. Especially when reps, agents and other less desk-intensive employees are out in the field, personal purchases can get inadvertently charged to the company, and corporate purchases end up on private charge accounts. Messy, and unacceptable. Again, your enterprise may be forced to place specific limits on mobile purchasing, just to avoid the potential accounting nightmares.
These are only just a few concerns from the corporate side of things, but resolving them can be complex and time-consuming. Certainly, other issues arise, such as those who spend an inordinate time on personal activities with their devices, and other personnel-related issues that come up. The main point is, it’s not easy for a large network to maintain strong security while employees are tapping into data and documents with their personal devices.
So, be patient while your company figures it all out, follow their rules, and be sure to secure your own device with the strongest, most reliable mobile security on the market.
Do you have some thoughts or comments about the BYOD debate? Has your company got it all figured out? We’d love to hear from you on our blog, or join us on our Facebook page.
Maybe NQ Mobile’s Family Guardian is a parent’s best friend, but we think kids are better off with it, too. Peggy Watt at Tech Hive talked with Kim Titus about NQ’s specialized Family Guardian app, designed to monitor and keep smartphone-using kids safe. It’s a great way to assure parents their kids are using their phones appropriately, and to assert some much-needed control, especially when kids are younger and more vulnerable. The feature-filled app includes safety net features to keep track of kids and their activities, and an emergency button for them to use if they need you – and it’s super easy to use.
It’s all about safe kids.
Since a surprising 58 percent of kids aged 13 to 17 have their own smartphone, NQ Mobile recognizes the need for parents to participate in and be informed of their child’s activities as a great way to guide and protect them. The client app is a free download on Google Play; monitoring is done through a web service at http://www.nq.com/familyguardian. Family Guardian’s available for a 30-day trial, and subscriptions begin at $34.99 a year.
And then there’s NQ’s Vault…
Tech Hive also made a point of mentioning NQ Mobile’s Vault app, a secret data locker for the smartphone that’s recently caused a stir in the app market. Vault has some unique and surprising features designed to cloak data, such as photos and call logs. But, maybe even more intriguing, Vault can cloak itself, and provides the owner a photo of anyone who’s tried to access it illegally. It’s a very cool privacy tool, available for both Android and iOS on iTunes.
We want to help
We always appreciate it when our great products are mentioned and acknowledged but our primary goal is to help people learn about smartphone safety and privacy. We developed a special new family website just for parents and teachers with interesting blogs, facts and learning materials. Have you used Family Guardian or Vault? What do you like about them? Any stories to share with us? Join the conversation on Facebook or leave comment on our blog page.
So many smartphones – so much to do. Teens are using their smartphones for everything from texting and photos to schoolwork and Facebook. There’s so much power packed into one small handheld piece of technology, it’s easy to to see why it’s so quickly become a necessary part teenage life. Most teens agree that having a smartphone is one of the best forms of technology. It does so many things! One of the important features for most kids is Facebook — 90% use it for social media! But, while some 40% of teens in a study reported feeling “addicted” to their smartphones, not all kids are addicted, or even attached, to Facebook.
Social Networking’s Changed Everything
It’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t able to post our likes, daily activities favorite links and photos of our dogs online for all our friends to see. Facebook, undeniably, has introduced an entirely new realm of daily communication into our lives and the lives of our children.
But, some kids remember back to a time when there was no Facebook, and a lot of them remember it fondly. A recent study shows that while almost half of teens feel addicted to their smartphones, a third of them would like to go back to pre-Facebook days. Most of those are kids who aren’t currently using Facebook, so it’s hard to say whether they’ve had a negative experience, or are just tired of the chit-chat. But the fact that Facebook’s an easy outlet for hatred and bullying might be part of it. Those kids who expressed a wish to go back in time say they “often encounter racist (32%), sexist (32%), or homophobic (31%) content in social media.”
We Can’t Limit What Shows Up on Facebook
As conscientious parents and teachers, we try to guide kids toward a socially conscious adulthood. Racial prejudice, bigotry and sexism are strongly discouraged at school and in most homes. But kids who have particular frustrations or anger, whether ingrained in their family culture, or learned outside of home, tend to express hateful or even dangerous ideas on Facebook. Socially unacceptable comments, slurs, accusations and just plain meanness find their way to Facebook pages every day. Our kids see this stuff. Whether we like it or not, it’s out there.
How Can We Help Our Social Networking Kids?
From peer pressure alone, some kids are on Facebook who’d probably rather not be. Parental guidance and monitoring can help kids feel safe and less vulnerable when they’re in charge of such a powerful piece of technology as a smartphone. NQ Mobile’s upcoming app called Family Guardian is designed to help parents protect their kids from the negatives aspects of having a smartphone or pad. You can monitor their call logs, texts, photos and Facebook activities in a positive way that can help your teen relax and feel safe in the cyber world. We’ve been listening to parents and families talk about mobile safety and mobile security for a long time, and we’ve developed Family Guardian with their suggestions and ideas in mind.
Do you know a teen who’s had a rough social networking experience? We’d like to hear about it. Share your stories on our blog, or join us on our Facebook page.
There was a certain period of time during the early 1970s when people were just buzzing about the arrival of ATM machines. You could put your card in a slot, punch in a code and drive away with a fistful of cash – a radical change from having to go into a bank, or write a check at the store for an amount over your purchase. However, nowadays, who even needs a plastic card to exchange money? Mobile payments are becoming so common, it’s easy to imagine a time in the very near future when we won’t need cards at all.
An Emerging Trend
There are several methods available for paying with your smartphone. Near Field Communications (NFC) systems let us make purchases without giving away personal data to a merchant. You can simply tap or wave your phone over a device, the payment is made and the merchant has no data – only the money. If you have the right app, you can also get an instant receipt. Most bills can be paid through your smartphone, and new mobile payment apps turn up regularly on the market. But, what level of mobile security do you really have today when you’re banking and buying via your smartphone?
Maybe because their transactions are subject to federal laws, banking systems tend to have the most secure mobile payment systems in place. But, mobile payment apps are a different story. Last year, the Square mobile payment system was hacked. Google Wallet had well-publicized incidents this year, which reminds us that mobile paying is still in its infancy. Both companies assure us that their weak spots are fixed.
Some folks feel mobile paying is safer than credit cards because the phone’s GPS system allows the vendor to make verifications of the payer’s identity. In addition, when we pay with our mobile phone, the merchant never takes the phone from your hand, so there’s no chance of lifting numbers or data.
Popular Payment Systems
Google Wallet: Google promises it’s Wallet app is safe and sound. A special PIN is required to get to your payment screen, and your data, on Android, is stored on a separate chip. Your info can’t be seen by others on your screen, and the earlier problems have been resolved, says Google.
Square Perhaps one of the most fun mobile payment systems is the “Square,” a small gadget that snaps into your phone and becomes a card-slider. You can pay take payments on the fly, and there’s no service fee, no bank charges, nothing. It’s easy and it works. Square doesn’t store a payer’s data in the payee’s phone, but is transferred and stored by a trusted encryption device. It had its problems, but it use is definitely on the rise.
NFC payment systems (tap and wave) apps are covered by the same kind of standard certifications as financial services. The best feature, besides the fun of waving and tapping, is that you can arrange for your purchases to be verified only with your own personal PIN – without it, a transaction can’t go through.
Many more gadgets and configurations for mobile payments are in the technology pipeline. Mobile paying promises to be the norm, very soon. In the meantime, however, crooks are looking for loopholes and weak spots in every new innovation.
Mobile Safety and Security
Always be sure your phone has strong mobile protection, and that if it becomes lost, your mobile security package has the ability to find it or wipe it clean.
Choose payment apps that provide instant receipts.
Use a keypad password on your phone. If possible, have a password for your phone, and a separate one for your money transactions.
Treat your purchases carefully and verify with your receipts and bank account.
Protect your money. If you suspect fraud, it’s important to report it immediately to your bank.
Always buy your apps from reliable, trusted sources. Make sure you look up the status of the app to find out whether others are having success with it.
Then, go shopping!
How often do you use your mobile device to make payments? Any issues or problems? Tell us your story on our blog, or on our Facebook page!
We posted a blog last week that discussed a major Consumer Reports study on Facebook. There’s a lot to digest from this study, but one glaring area of concern for us at NQ Mobile is about children’s safety on Facebook. The CR study provides some fascinating data about kids and social networking.
Facebook’s age requirement
On Facebook, if you’re under age 13, you’re not supposed to have an account. This study suggests that about 5.6 million underage kids have Facebook accounts, and 800,000 minor were harassed or otherwise subjected to some kind of bullying on the popular social network. Of course, most of these kids have simply not reported their true age when they signed on, and there’s no way, at present, to verify it.
Apparently, kids aged 11-13 are the most vulnerable, as well as the least-watched by their parents when it comes to social networking. In our own NQ Mobile Family Survey earlier this year, we saw a huge jump in smartphone ownership in this age group – from 1% to 12%, and an even larger jump to 28% in the 12-14 age group.
Owning a phone gives a child privacy and the freedom to explore social networks. Kids who are lonely, troubled or unsupervised are the handiest target for online predators and cyber-bullies. A concealed environment like a private smartphone leaves an unsupervised child vulnerable to all kinds of troubles, from psychological abuse to physical danger. Kids no longer need to go to the computer lab or sit at the family desktop PC to be active online – they can be outside at recess and visit their Facebook pages in seclusion.
Why is it a problem?
Many teens and tweens will accept friend requests from anyone, just to build their list and to look as though they’re popular. The trouble is, many people can see their posts on lots of pages, and there are some people who have ulterior motives for friending a young person.
An example we know of is a 15-year old girl who made a habit of accepting friend requests. The friend of a distant cousin’s mother got a new boyfriend, who discovered this girl’s page. The girl accepted this man’s friend request, as she did any others thatt appeared on her page. His posts on her page began as simple comments. Eventually he began harassing her, making inappropriate comments about everything from her looks to her grades in school. His comments included both criticisms and compliments, as he began digging into the details of her personal life, approving or disapproving of what she did and said. Clearly, this 40+ grown man was trying to weave his way into her young, personal life. If her parents hadn’t been checked on her Facebook page, they wouldn’t have known that this man was upsetting their daughter every day with his manipulative remarks – and she didn’t even know who he was. He was quickly “unfriended.”
Safety ideas for kids using Facebook
What can parents do to make sure their kids are using Facebook safely and wisely? Here are some suggestions.
1) Have a frank discussion with your kids about social networking. Find out if they’ve already signed up for Facebook, and discuss your concerns.
2) Tell your kids that unless you are friended by them, they may not use Facebook.
3) Make sure that their Facebook settings don’t allow public access to their information.
4) Advise your kids to never accept friend requests from strangers.
5) Keep an eye on your kids’ pages – who are their friends, what’s being posted?
Mobile protection comes in many forms and configurations. Yes, we need to protect our kids’ phones from malware and privacy breaches. But, we also need to protect them by getting involved in their mobile activities until they’re old enough to understand the hazards. When it comes to mobile security, safety first is the best policy.
The new Galaxy Nexus phone has Google Wallet built right in, and offers a $50 Wallet credit, just for buying the phone. While off to a relatively sluggish start, mobile payment practices in the US promise to grow quickly this year, with major stores ramping up their NFC setups, and a promise of more phones coming equipped with wallet-type capabilities.
The NFC (Near Field Communication) chip that makes wallet-payments possible was formerly only available on the Samsung Nexus X, and Sprint has been the only carrier to support the system. This made for a fairly small audience for the “wave” paying function up until now. Sprint plans to release ten additional smartphone models this year that will support it, and this new promotion of an inexpensive phone and $50 credit may go a long way to begin a surge of the wallet concept’s popularity. Google refers to a future “wallet ecosystem” that it expects will develop, starting with its own product.
Mobile paying promises to change the face of commerce worldwide. A wider acceptance of mobile paying may have the effect of jostling some lethargic economies, and could help increase business revenue by offering speed and convenience to customers.
The mobile payment industry is wide open for growth, with opportunities being created daily for new careers in engineering and research. An obvious benefit that vendors will surely tout is the “green” aspect of mobile paying – no plastic, no paper.
Along with the growth of any great idea, safeguards have to be considered. Mobile security researchers must be committed to continuously ramping up their own technology to meet the emerging demands of mobile paying, and to match the pace of malware development. Wireless money transactions call for sleek, comprehensive scrutiny by software that has a massive, cumulative virus database to draw from. Security features need to catch and block malware before it reaches the consumer’s handset, and provide loss and theft features that will quickly and remotely clear sensitive payment data.
Wallet-paying will surely present opportunities for cyber crime. The best bet is to get your smartphone well-protected before you begin to use any new technology, whether it’s a NFC chip or a new app. If you’re already one of our 126 million customers, we thank you again for your business. If not, download NQ today. It’s free.
What’s the big deal? When you’re downloading a new app, you’re eager to see it, play
it, work it and make it work for you. It’s so much easier to just touch the Accept button and get on with it. However, here are some examples of the downside of blindly clicking through a download.
Certain game apps, especially those offered for free, tell you that the company can and will collect all of your private information – this could include your email address, phone number, images, contacts and, unfortunately, any financial information stored on your phone. The information is sold to third parties for analytics, as well as for fraudulent purposes. If you aren’t sure what you’re reading and agreeing to, it’s best to forget the app until you can acquire it from a reputable company. Scammers are good at double-speak when it comes to user agreements.
Don’t let your treasured smartphone become an instrument of distress and loss. Teach your kids to read license agreements, and protect your data and your family by downloading a well-respected mobile security package. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to give yourself some peace of mind in a risky world.
Does your company allow, or even encourage employees to use their private mobile devices for work purposes? Employees should view their smartphones as mini-computers packed full of data that, in the hands of a thief, could cause untold damage to the company, as well as the individual. NQ Mobile and NCSA offer some valuable ideas about how to manage security in the BYOD environment.
In our 2012 collaborative survey with NCSA, we at NQ Mobile learned that there are many security issues that families need to discuss with their kids who own smartphones. For instance, do you know whether your kids are using location-sharing apps? There are quite a few available, and they can be incredibly fun and useful. However, location-sharing activities can also prove to be a real privacy problem if not used properly. Because many apps are free, you may not know if your kids are using them. In case you aren’t aware of how they work, we’ll try here to provide a brief overview.
Several smartphone apps on the market allow the user to post his or her own whereabouts at any given time. Teens find these apps particularly appealing, given their propensity to stay connected with their friends. Checking in from the library or the coolest party location is a very trendy way to stay connected. However, since this type of app often automatically downloads all the contacts from your kids’ accounts, such as Twitter, G-mail and Facebook, it makes him vulnerable to lots people learning of his location, and not all of them may be friends.
Kids are particularly drawn to these types of apps because it’s cool to stay connected, and the apps are often presented in a game-like design. It follows, too, that if your friends have it, you’re going to want it.
Gowalla, now owned by Facebook, is an tremendously popular “check-in” service that allows users to create a check-in spot for favorite cafes, museums, interesting street scenes, or just about any location that deserves to be shared. It’s great advertising for businesses, fun for the user and useful for those looking for a good restaurant. However, it should never, ever be used to “spot” your home or anyone else’s home, for obvious reasons. As with all apps, it should be used discerningly, and should be made a topic for family discussion before it’s even downloaded.
Foursquare, another very popular app, allows a user to check in from a city location, and critique everything from the service to the dessert menu.
Glympse, a popular smartphone app, allows people to share their real-time location through the phone’s GPS feature. This is a fabulous app for parents who want to track their kids’ short journeys and monitor their safety. The GPS map indicates, at any given point, exactly where the child is. It’s easy to send a “glimpse” of where you are at any given time, and the user can set a time period for the app to run. What this means for a parent is, if your child is going to a friend’s home a half hour away, Glimpse can be set for 30 minutes and a parent can track the child’s progress all the way to his destination. When the timer runs out, the tracking stops.
All apps, but maybe especially location-sharing apps, should be discussed with your kids before they’re downloaded. Have a round table discussion and imagine the ways in which a location-sharing app could be violated by strangers, or used carelessly. Talk about having a conscious awareness of when to use an app, and when to turn it off. Download our family privacy survey, and visit NCSA online for more safety tips.