Being a child in right now’s world is hard. Once I had a tough time at college, it usually stayed there. Yeah, there have been chatrooms, boards, and issues like MSN Messenger, however the lack of social media and smartphones meant it was onerous for assholes to work together with you on-line. Now, with smartphones all over the place, there’s no hiding from bullies.
That is what Russ Whitlock, the creator of the PhoneCloud PX1 got down to clear up.
In a nutshell, the PhoneCloud PX1 is a cell phone designed to be protected for kids. Whitlock, who describes himself as on a “private mission to assist kids,” was pushed to make after his personal child was bullied.
It’s a noble need and one I can get behind, even when controlling what your baby can see on their smartphone appears nigh-on unimaginable. I imply, with all of the weirdos, assholes, and dickheads on the market, how can we all know if the PX1 can shield an impressionable youth?
This left me with one – and just one – selection: I needed to see if this cellphone might shield me from pervs. On this case, myself.
Okay, however earlier than you do this, how does the cellphone work?
Thanks for asking. The PX1 runs Android 7.zero (Nougat) and is blanketed within the PhoneCloud software program, which is designed to guard the kid utilizing it. Out of the field, the PX1 claims to dam inappropriate web sites, filter out profanity in messages, cease impolite photographs, and by default block app installs until allowed by the dad or mum or carer.
The actually cool half although comes with a subscription to PhoneCloud. For £5 a month (roughly $6.60), the dad or mum/carer (now known on as The Overseer for ease) will get entry to an internet management panel, which supplies a real-time view of what the kid (now known as The Youngling) cellphone is as much as.
After this photograph was taken, I despatched a textual content message, made a name, and tried to go to a blocked web site, all of which confirmed up on the dashboard seconds after doing so. One other nice facet of this panel is that it permits you to remotely management the cellphone. So, if The Overseer needs The Youngling to now not entry to the web, it’s only a click on of the button away.
There are much more choices accessible to The Overseer than this although:
There are a variety of choices for The Overseer right here. Need to spy on The Youngling’s visited websites? Monitor the place their cellphone is? Allow or disable app installations? PhoneCloud has your again.
Sounds good, however does the rattling factor really work?
Let’s discover out. First off, I did what any fourteen year-old would do when introduced with a brand new cellphone.
Once I tried clicking by means of to a porn website, the PX1 blocked me. But when I went to pictures?
Yup, it confirmed me some straight-up penetration. Not very best for a dad or mum trying to shield their offspring. Though, a young person would in all probability love this loophole.
It didn’t do too nicely there, however what concerning the message filtering?
The aforementioned dashboard features a customizable listing of 1,000 banned phrases. A few of them are horrendous and don’t have any place in society. Others? I’m sorry to say are downright hilarious:
I needed to take a look at out how ‘good’ the content material filtering was. Would it not simply block impolite phrases or might it perceive context?
So, I appeared to the one place I knew: One other Stage’s 1998 R&B traditional, “Freak Me.”
I then texted the lyrics from the refrain of “Freak Me” to The Youngling.
Aaaand the PX1 obtained it.
That is considerably troubling as a result of that is undoubtedly sexual, despite the fact that it avoids common curse phrases. This content material filtering system is certainly not ‘good’ then.
The subsequent step was to attempt some on a regular basis swears to see how the PX1 would react. Right here’s what I despatched:
And what did the PX1 obtain?
There was one distinction between this take a look at and the “Freak Me,” one although: the PhoneCloud service despatched The Overseer’s cellphone this message.
I don’t get why The Youngling’s cellphone obtained this message. Absolutely the wisest plan of action can be to dam the entire thing and ship an alert to The Overseer’s cellphone? Not simply let it by means of?
That doesn’t appear too helpful.
Anyway, one other function the corporate talked about is said WhatsApp. They urged downloading the app and attempting to ship a photograph exhibiting some flesh. I made a brand new Google account, logged into the shop and downloaded the app.
Maintain on – didn’t you say app installations had been blocked by default?
Yep – and it nonetheless let me obtain and use WhatsApp with out notifying The Overseer. Once I checked this on the dashboard, it confirmed that I’d downloaded the app and that app installs had been disabled.
Anyway, my first port of name was to see if the PX1 has the similar content material filtering system arrange as regular texts.
Nope. The Overseer’s cellphone obtained nothing. Contemplating what number of children talk over third social gathering messaging apps, it is a little bit of an oversight.
Nonetheless, I used to be excited to check out this picture filtering, so I despatched this sizzling photograph to The Youngling.
And it labored! The picture was routinely blurred on The Youngling’s system:
And, if you happen to The Youngling tries to obtain this photograph, they obtain this message:
There was one other concern – the picture filtering solely works a technique. In different phrases, you’ll be able to ship fleshy photographs from the PX1, even when it will possibly’t obtain them. I feel the issues in which might be clear.
You’ll be able to say that once more.
Oh pricey. Additionally, you haven’t talked about how the cellphone appears to be like and performs.
My dangerous, have somewhat gander at this:
Yep – a black rectangle. It has an 8MP digicam, 32GB of storage, and a 5.5″ show. It prices £195 (round $260), which is fairly costly to be fairly trustworthy.
For instance, you may get an Honor 7X – that has a lot greater specs – for $200. Because it’s a child’s cellphone, I assume the concept is the handset itself doesn’t matter an excessive amount of, even when I feel that’s underestimating how tied kids are to the aesthetics of smartphone possession.
Nonetheless, the PX1 carried out fantastic as a handset and I had no issues utilizing it, regardless of how primary it’s.
Wow, what a glowing advice
Pay attention, I actually needed the PX1 to be nice. The concept behind it’s pure and beautiful, and, having been bullied as a child, I do genuinely fear about how younger individuals are navigating the trendy world of social media.
Sadly, the PX1 doesn’t fairly work. The dashboard function is nice for keeping track of what younger people are as much as, particularly if you wish to restrict use, however there are simply too many easily-accessible loopholes for it to be the answer to on-line bullying or perv safety. I hope a few of these will likely be up to date in future updates.
Proper now, the PX1 is an attention-grabbing selection for frightened mother and father, however be ready for an imperfect resolution.
For extra info, you’ll be able to head over to the PhoneCloud site.