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Alert me if kids android is wiped?


Android Enthusiast
Jan 2, 2014
Ok, so phones have really turned into an issue in our house. I'm at a loss on how to control smart devices in our house. I have been using qustodio and as well as google parent link. But, the kids keep getting around it. I think I just thought of how they're getting around it. I can pretty much guarantee they know how to turn off the phone and then hold the volume and power button to give them the option to default the phone. They then sign in and around all time limits and restrictions I placed. My wife was threatening to get them flip phones if they didn't behave so a few weeks ago, I bought them flip phones. That was worse. They still have browsers and I can't restrict that browser at all. So, I gave them the androids back but locked them down. But I now see they're getting around it.

I like my kids having phones in case there was an emergency. One of our daughters had a bad accident in the middle of nowhere a few years back and broke her femur. The only reason we knew and was able to find her was because she had a phone and she called me screaming in pain. So I don't want to take the phones away.

What I was thinking is I could setup the same restrictions I have on it now. But then I'd need another app that basically would 'check in' to a server every say 5 minutes. If 10-15 minute pass that the phone doesn't check in, then send me an alert that something's up. Does such an app exist?
The simple solution?
(Pardon the rambling answer, as I often type while thinking.)

Unactivated devices, with the SIM cards removed.

Emergency calls are ALWAYS (by law) possible, but no other cellular (including data) at all.

The device will, however, still be fully functional on Wi-Fi, and there are free calling apps to be able to make calls in this way (VoIP).

You will not be able to continue playing 'catch-up' with your children and technology- they will even sit in school and figure out ways around whatever you do, regardless of whatever rules there may be.

That is the nature of the game.

Even if you pull the SIM, they could potentially use a friend's SIM, borrow an entirely different device, or even go get another SIM from the carrier!

This is yet another game that we can not win.

The 'War On Drugs'?
Contriband inside prison?
Police action from the UN?

Your children have more time and resources (money is no issue here) than you do for this, as you have repeatedly discovered.

Ban the phones outright?
They will get their own and hide them from you.

Unfortunately this is where we are at.

Another thing is that you have been relying on things from Google?

They are the epitome of bad behavior manifest as an all-seeing, all-knowing corporation that sells this info for profit.
Good luck with any 'help' from them.

Anyway, perhaps you could tell us exactly what you are trying to restrict from these devices.

There may be something to be done there.

But as I alluded to, children have all the time in the world to figure out how to bypass most anything you do- even with things not regarding phones.

That is why it is so important to instill trust, loyalty, honesty, morality, and honor into children.

With these, control over their individual devices would not even be necessary, because it is the people that you are having conflict with- not the devices.
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I'd be hesitant to suggest removing the SIM card in this matter. Emergency Calling is limited only to 911 so the kids won't be able to contact their parents or family. Not every emergency involves the need for police or the fire department (... plus it's a sad reality that for a large segment of the population here in the U.S. it's a maybe/maybe not big risk to contact/interact with law enforcement).

But regarding parental control, yeah it's a big problem. There is no such thing as a 100% effective solution. No matter which service you implement, it's just going to get hacked eventually. Once any kind of vulnerability/bypass/unlock is found even in the most obscure feature, news about it spreads across the Internet at viral speeds.
It's going to be a whack-a-mole situation of you implementing some service, then the kids find out a way to get around it, then you implement something else, etc.

In this matter, basically they've got leverage on you as parents -- you want them to have a phone for emergencies so taking them away isn't an option, and since they know that, this does back you into a corner. A few years down the road, when they grow up and have kids of their own, they'll look back at this situation and will have a much deeper understanding of their actions to game you like this, but for now it's a Battle of Wills. Just don't forget you're not alone, there are countless parents dealing with this same issue, and there are billions of dollars being spent by governments trying to get at least minimal control over the hazards of online connectivity.

Just curious but you referred to Qustodio. Are you using just the free version or the pay-for version? The pay-for version has more features:
Regarding '...google parent link...' is that a generic reference to Google's Parental Control integral to Android itself (per device control) or Google's Family Link service (more expansive controls) that needs to be installed?
When configured more extensively, there should be options to at least prevent bypass by running in Safe Mode. But from your initial posting, it's apparently a matter where your kids already have their own established Google accounts that aren't tied to your Family Link service, yes?
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Ok, I figured out a way (I hope). I kind of got clever. So, what I did was I wiped their phones clean and installed mmguardian on them from scratch during the setup of the phone. (They had a way of tapping the screen during setup that brought up a qr code window that installed it during the initial setup of the phone to make it more integrated.) This part lets me know what the kids are doing on the phone. But, we're not always watching it. So, I installed tasker on their phones and restricted their access to it. But what Tasker is doing is writing a line to a text file every 2 minutes with the date and time. Then I used Drop Sync to sync that file to my Dropbox account. My computer is, of course, connected to that dropbox account. So, I wrote a shell script that constantly monitors that file and, if the hour in the file becomes too old, send me an alert via email. If the time stops incrementing in the file, that means the kids are up to something and turned it off or wiped the phone. They won't know how to setup tasker and dropbox sync to get these files to generate again.

I'm stuck on the script a little. I'm trying to write it so it will send me a text message or an email when it notices something wrong... but I'm stuck on that. But, at the least, these files are generating and the script, minus the email alert, is working. I'm sure I'll figure out the rest of the script.
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