Do you think children should have mobile phones? What age is the right age? How do you know they are safe when they use it? What if they run out of credit? Or they build up a huge bill? There are so many worries when you look at the idea of getting your child a phone. It is usually not our children we don’t trust but those who may contact them. When I was asked to review the Engine Mobile service I was sceptical that anything could be really safe as I am sure you are too. Here I will share with you what I found and my thoughts.
How old were you when you first had a mobile phone? I was 18 it was 1999 and I was just about to go to university. Phones then were pretty basic compared to now, no cameras, no internet and even the screen was basic. Now kids want them from really young ages because they are so common place, everyone seems to have them. Have you ever gone out without your mobile? How lost do you feel?
What Safety features would you want as a parent?
If you are anything like me you want to know that your child can always call home and never has any reason to stop them being able to do that. Maybe you also want to protect them from bullies and know that if a bully sends them a message you will find out. Do you worry about adults who you don’t know contacting your child and grooming them? There are so many worries aren’t there and these are just a few.
With an average sim card you have a choice of a contract or pay as you go. With pay as you go there is always the worry your child will not be able to ring you if there is a problem and they run out of credit. With a contract you worry that they will build up massive bills. So then you question having a contract and capping the usage which is not a bad option is it. That solves one problem I guess, but not the others.
Do you ask to see your son or daughter’s phone regularly? What if they delete things so you don’t see them? What if they are too frightened to tell you someone is bothering them? How can you keep them safe? These are the worries of all parents whilst also trying to give their child independence. A phone is good for them after all, it means they can walk to school alone perhaps or go out with friends and you can contact them.
What is Engine Mobile?
This is a sim only contract with a difference. It was developed with the safety of children at the forefront. Not only can you as a parent control their credit and usage in a way you can on all sim only contracts you can do so many other things. There is a parents portal where you can view all calls and texts made to and from your child’s phone. Not only can you view the numbers but you can read the messages and listen to a recording of the calls. The exception of this is for up to two home numbers. These two numbers can be called or text at any time even if the child has run out of their allowances. The sim can also be set (remotely from the portal) to only allow calls and texts and certain times of the day which is great for if you worry about a child making calls in the night etc.
Numbers can easily be blocked or alternatively you can put it into ultra secure mode where only numbers in the safe list you set can be contacted. If you worry about your child using words they shouldn’t or giving out an address for example whilst you cant stop this as such you can set up a list of word alerts. If the words in the word alerts list are used then you will be notified as soon as this happens. I think this is a fantastic safety feature.
You are in control of the money spent on their phone because other than the allowances in your package you can top it up from the portal with as much or as little as you like. Unlike the well known providers where often it is in £5 or £10 increments. You can always check where your child is using the geolocation services you enable in the portal. So if you think they are not going to school you can quickly check where they actually are. It will never be perfect but will give you a good idea!
What are the downfalls of Engine Mobile?
Of course there are a few downfalls but there will be with anything. If you chose to allow your child mobile data access (remember you can turn this off) then you can not see the activity on that. This means if your child messages or calls using WhatsApp, social media or anything else along those lines you will not know what is said.
Another potential downfall is that you need an unlocked mobile phone. These tend to be a little more expensive to buy, however so many people have them lying around that it is not necessarily an issue.
When compared to other providers the packages are a little more expensive but when you factor in that the calls and messages are free to the home numbers and that you have so much control over how the money is spent on their account I think it is better in the long run! You can’t really put a price on safety can you.
What have been our experiences with Engine Mobile?
We have found it to be nothing short of brilliant! I have hardly checked the portal because I know Ben does not use his phone out of the house at the moment and does not really have many people to contact. I love knowing it is there however and when I have used it I have found it extremely easy to use. The recording of calls is clear and you can even hear the ringing tone while your child is waiting for a friend to answer. I love this feature as if they were being bullied to make a call you could hear it on this segment. The portal is really easy to understand and set everything up so you know you have done it correctly. Ben’s phone looks no different to how it looked with a different sim card in. There is no way anyone would know that he is on Engine Mobile. The thought that has gone into this product is amazing they really have thought of everything. The fact your child can always ring home unless they lose their phone or run out of battery really puts your mind at ease. A great product for children and their parents, safe and still fun, what more could you want.
Do you want to win a 12 Month Parentshield contract with Engine Mobile?
Especially for my readers the lovely guys over at Engine Mobile are offering one lucky parent the chance to win a 12 month contract for their child with all the safety features I have shared above. How amazing is that? If you want to win then click through and enter your details on this page to be put in the prize draw!
**I have received this product in return for sharing it with you and will receive a small amount of commission if you buy from them but all opinions above are my own**
Thank you to Lucy and her gorgeous daughter for the photo.