Lets fix the world once and for all, it’s not a time to be thinking small, share like agree or not put your 10 pence worth in the pot.

The worlds gone crazy and it’s time I spoke,

As one of the majority you know us normal folk,

Hatred and fear try to rule the day,

Attacking our lives in every way,

No matter your race, religion or faith,

We all watch the news nowhere seems safe,

I don’t care if your straight, bisexual, gay or some other,

I love you as a fellow human like a sister or brother,

These values I have been brought up with my whole life,

They are shared by my 9 beautiful children and perfect wife,

The core of any belief, understanding and love,

It’s the only real lesson taught by any divine power above,

To twist these lessons to suit your own plot,

Can only mean faith you have not,

There is not time for hatred, ignorance and blame,

We all have to live together, don’t be so lame,

There are far bigger problems in this world today,

People suffering, ill, starving, living day by day,

These problems are silenced by a small minded few,

Committing atrocities, in the name of religion its nothing new,

My God as I see it and yes I believe,

Would not tolerate such hate, I would be asked to leave,

Yes there have been atrocities committed in years gone by,

By many countries of all faiths I will not lie,

Lessons should be learned by our past and our present,

We can make this world better, far more pleasant,

Lets all make a stand whatever we believe,

If we all stand together who knows what we can achieve,

Lets tackle poverty and hunger, better care for the old,

Set aside our differences its time to be bold,

We can all come together and do our part,

There is no time like the present its the place to start,

Lets sort the world out together as one,

Making it a better place for our daughter and son,

So put aside your prejudices and hate,

We all have enough on our plate,

Focus on a solution to the problems we all face,

Think of others, how to help there’s no disgrace,

Together as a majority, we can find a remedy,

Remember people are people just like you and me.

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MP’s Call For UK Mobile Network Roaming

A group of over 90 backbench MP, are calling for cross network roaming in the UK.

A report by the British Infrastructure Group shows foreign visitors have better mobile phone coverage than UK residents because they are not tied to any one network.

The report also goes on to say that 17 million UK customers had poor reception at home, it also names 525 areas with no coverage what so ever.

UK networks insist they are continually working towards improving coverage.

The group of MP’s have called on ministers to make sweeping changes which include changing the law to allow domestic roaming here in the UK and make it cheaper for customers to switch networks when hit with poor reception.

Mobile phone coverage has not significantly improved since 2014 when the government agreed a £5bn investment deal with the network operators, the deal is expected to fall short of the 90% UK coverage target by the end of 2017.

Group chairman Grant Shapps said: “It is unacceptable that areas in Britain continue to have such poor mobile connectivity, and that overseas visitors can expect better mobile coverage than Britons stuck with a single provider.

“The time for excuses from the mobile sector is over. The government must make a better call for Britain and bring national mobile coverage policy into the 21st Century.”

The report also highlights that customers are at risk of high contract exit fees if they decide to terminate their contracts early even if it is due to poor service and reception.

A bill passed through Parliament would give Ofcom more power to fine networks that deliver poor service.

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EE Wi-Fi Calling Whats The Point?

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EE Wi-Fi Calling Is It Worth Bothering With?

How many of you know about EE WiFi calling? I am sure plenty, but how many of you knew EE Wi-Fi calls use your mobile allowance? Not so many we think.

Wi-Fi Calling is nothing new FaceTime, Skype and even Facebook have enabled users to do it for years, so why is EE Wi-Fi calling different and are there any advantages?

The only advantages we can see is if you own one of the handful of supported handsets which are updated to the required minimum OS then the only advantage is not having to install a third party app.

The disadvantages aside from having to have a supported handset and OS version are it uses your inclusive minutes and texts each time you call or message, compare this with the countless free third party apps which cost you nothing, we have to ask why use EE Wi-Fi calling at all?

As Wi-Fi becomes more and more available and more and more savvy mobile phone users take advantage of free messaging and calling apps, the mobile networks will ultimately loose revenue . In our opinion EE Wi-Fi calling is a poor attempt by EE to reduce the impact of such apps, but EE need to up their game in order to persuade users to ditch their current free apps and start using their offering after all why should we eat into our bundles when there are no obvious benefits?

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Our beautiful Bell Sadly Missed be Never Forgotten

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Bluebell 03-06-1994 – 09-07-2016

The Rainbow Bridge For Horses

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
when their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,
is a place where beloved creatures find rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
til The Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed.
Their bodies have healed with strength imbued.

They trot through the grass without even a care,
til one day they whinny and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes sharp and alert.
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the herd.

For just at that second, there’s no room for remorse.
As they see each other…one person…one horse.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past
The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart
has turned to joy once more in each heart.
They nuzzle with a love that will last forever.
And then, side-by-side, they cross over…together.

A beautiful poem given to my Wife by our Son Ben the day after we lost our beloved Bell.

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What does it take to run a business with a large family?

There are lots of programs and press coverage about big families, and we always seem to be portrayed as either spongers or as parents who expect their children to be brought up by their elder siblings and to do all the chores.

We are currently expecting our 9th and last baby, after reading a post on a mother and baby bulletin board last night with my wife, I thought it was time to put the record straight.

Our day begins at 5am when our youngest two Harvey and Joseph decide it’s time to get up. A cup of tea for all and some toast is the first order of business then I split some logs and light the log burners down stairs, catch up on emails and check the website to make sure all the deals have imported correctly.

Meanwhile Helen gets all the children’s school uniform is ready as well as Jordan’s (19) work clothes and Nicole’s College clothes(18) then makes packed lunches.

I go out and feed the chicken’s and ducks about 7am and muck out our 6 horses 1 mine 1 the wife’s and the others are the children’s. Meanwhile Helen is waking up 4 more for school, 1 for work and 1 for college, poached egg, egg and soldiers, the full English, scrambled eggs, toast, porridge, cereal, crumpets or bacon sandwiches all round.

Then it’s the school run, money for trips, swimming, ingredients for food tech, PE kits, permission slips etc and its in the car and off to 2 schools.

Next is a cup of tea and just one and a bump left at home, Helen and Joseph go upstairs to make beds and tidy up, Joseph doing more messing up than tidying.

I clear the breakfast pots and load the dishwasher it’s now about 10:30 then sit down and do some work, Helen and Joseph re-appear, music’s on Helen’s doing her best heavily pregnant dancing with Joseph as she takes some washing out of the machine and bundles some more in and picks up round the front room, dining room, kitchen and family room.

Joseph meanwhile pops in and out shutting my laptop on my fingers, pressing as many buttons as he can until I chase him round the house and tickle him.

Hoovers on and some how its 11:00 I wiz down to the horses give 2 a quick groom and put the 2 horses I let out in the morning back in their stables, and let 2 more out and check they all have enough hay.

12:30 its time to pick Harvey up from pre-school and pray he’s in a good mood, how was your day Harvey?

Helen or I will make some lunch and the four of us will sit and eat, Joseph will pick the filling out of his sandwiches in double quick time and then come to raid mine and Helens.

Helen will then sit and build car tracks with the boys and I will try and ride at least one horse to keep them sane.

It’s now getting on for 2:00pm Harvey and Joseph are both tired and grouchy if they don’t have a sleep now there not having one and they are awful!

I have an hour and 10 minutes to squeeze in some work, Harvey and Joseph allowing, Helens exhausted being heavily pregnant and having been on the go since 5am.

3:10pm It’s time to pick Millie up, how was your day Millie? Stop off at the shop for some logs and milk, Helen’s picking up all the cars and track, I get back and stock the fires up and we discuss what’s for dinner and what time it should be ready, will Jordan be working late, does Nicole have to got to work after college, do Harvey and Joseph need an early dinner (did they have their sleep)?

3:45pm Tom, Ben and Rosie are home how was your day chimps? Get changed out of your uniforms kids, Tom and Ben Take out the rubbish and recycling and make sure your room is tidy, Rosie and Millie one hover the dining room and the other the front room and make sure your room is tidy. Tom will then go off and climb the tree in the back garden or shoot his bow and arrows, bens off on the Xbox, Millie’s watching anything girly on her pad, Rosie plugs her headphones in music’s on.

Time for me to muck out the horses again it’s 4pm, Helen cleans the kitchen and family room with Harvey and Joseph undoing everything as she goes, we take turns cooking so she will then either prepare the dinner or grab 2 minutes to check her hospital bag, check her emails etc.

4:30 – 5pm Nicole appears back from college How way your day Nicole? 5:30pm – 9pm Jordan gets back from work how was your day Jordan?

Chickens and ducks have gone to bed its getting dark, time to shut the coops.

Dinners done we all sit at the table with the exception of Jordan if he’s working late, Joseph eats his in double time then shares Helens for good measure, Harvey tells everyone where they are allowed and not allowed to sit.

Helen or me or both of us will scrape the plates put the dining table back to the wall and load the dishwasher.

Homework – does anyone have any? No honest (with the exception of Tom, he needs no telling it’s done), lets see your homework diary’s then, well would you look at that! Helen and I might have to look up how to do it ourselves but we always sit and help them with their homework and listen to them read.

6:30pm Harvey and Joseph bath time, 7pm Yippee Harvey and Joseph off to bed, where is honey bunny? That rabbits a nightmare he knows he’s required for bed yet he goes on a jolly and gets lost daily, Honey bunny found I carry them both up to bed one in each arm, with Harvey telling me the whole time not you Mummy!

Helen reads the owl story this settles them for about 20 minutes then Harvey demands the trumpy honey bunny story from Dad which makes him giggle and keeps him awake long enough for him to shout down for the three bears story from Helen about half an hour later, getting me in trouble for winding him up.

Both fast off, now its Rosie and Millie’s turn to go to bed at 7:30 phones and ipads on the table, Rosie protests she is older then Millie and its not fair she should go to bed later then Millie, I try to reason then Helen gives her the look and that’s the end of that!

Now I sit down and get some proper work done, 8:30 comes and Tom and Ben are off to bed too, phones and pads on the table boys.

Joseph will wake up once or twice for a bottle which has to be run up as soon as humanly possible.

Helen will put a wash on and take another out to dry and I will continue to work, she usually then goes on her baby forum and I continue to work until about 11:30pm when we go to bed unless I have a lot to do, in which case I will take my laptop to bed and keep going until the early hours.

5am the next day it all starts again, that’s just an average day in our house, today the kitchen tap decided to give up so I had to replace that, Tuesday nights the recycling has to go out (there’s a lot of it), Wednesday the black bin or green bin needs to go out, Saturdays the manure trailer I muck the horses out into has to be towed a couple of miles away and shoveled out onto a heap into a local farmers field.

Then there is always the weekly shop which you couldn’t imagine unless you have a large family your self.

The day to day maintenance of a 300 year old cob house, stables and paddock, expensive running costs in heating oil, logs and coal and a mortgage which isn’t getting smaller anytime soon, all way heavy on your mind when Google love you one minute and hate you the next.

Our nearest family are 4 hours away so there’s no Grandma to pop round or take the kids for a bit, all though they both would and are brilliant.

Yes its hard work and yes it’s our own doing, but we have an incredible family and are so proud of each and everyone of them. Our kids are happy content and want for nothing and so are the children of many other big families.

Yet we still manage to bring you the very best mobile phone deals on the internet every single day, cheaper deals than the carphone warehouse, uswitch, compare the market and the money supermarket and much more of them too.

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Choosing the best mobile phone deal

Choosing a mobile phone contract can often be a minefield, most people opting for far higher price plan then they actually need. More often than not it’s the norm to select far higher bundled minutes, texts and data then is needed.

There is a plan and network to suit everyone, with a little thought and planning you can pick the perfect one for you which covers all your monthly usage without over paying for unnecessary excess inclusive calls, texts and data.

Your fist consideration has to be network coverage in both your home and areas you work or frequent, once you have a choice of networks, you then need to think about how much you actually use your phone?

If you have had a mobile before be it pay as you go or contract you will have a good idea on how many minutes, texts and data you will require, take a look through your old bills and average out your usage or play it safe and find your heaviest usage for each. If not think how you plan to use your phone will it be lots of calls and or texts or may be your planning on social networking and using lots of messenger apps not a problem on a wifi connection but on the go and out of wifi then data’s what you need lots of data, going over your monthly data allowance is expensive so make sure you have enough to cover your usage.

Next select your phone or short list a few, what are you looking for in a mobile? A high end smart-phone, something with a great camera, it has to be android, IOS or Windows or may be something that’s well just a phone and easy to use. Lucky for you we have an easy way to select your phone based on its features with our phone finder tool. And even better still when you have your short list of phones we have a handy tool to compare your shortlisted phones side by side.

Contract length use to be more of a consideration then it is today most contracts are now 24 months but there are still some 18 month and even 12 month deals about so its worth taking note of.

Last but not least is costs, line rental and upfront cost, what can you afford each month and does it cover the phone you want the bundled air time you need? In almost all cases you should be able to get a free mobile phone but are you better off paying a little upfront and less each month? Well our comparison tables show you the total cost over the entire contract and include upfront cost if any so you can see at a glance exactly where you are better off.

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How to take out a competing website in 1 easy step

Today I opened up Google webmaster tools and noticed a manual penalty against mobilerainbow.co.uk for unnatural links, now this totally threw me, because I have not built any links to the domain or asked anyone else to do so.

So I downloaded the links from Google webmaster tools and started to dig in. The domain had a great link profile when I took it over a few years ago and still has many good links.

I have only recently started to develop the domain and now that I have almost a complete site up its been hit with a manual action. A number of recent spammy links seem to have been added all using the same anchor text and all on spammy made up web2 profiles, forums, blog comments and free directory listings.

So I have spent days going through all the links, looking at the metrics – oh yeah you have to pay for this data too! I have weeded out all the links I think are spammy, gone over everything 10 times round and then it into a text file and uploaded it to the Google disavow tool. Then thought no sod it I haven’t done this and deleted the file.

I put this to Google using the request a review button, these links aren’t something I have done or asked for! Which begs the question just how easy is it to destroy a websites rankings by darkening their link profile?

After all you can go on fiverr.com or alike and buy a billion spam links for very little money. How much work would it be for a competitor to spam your link profile?

Of course if you are some huge authority site I expect that Google would treat you differently and probably look the other way, and if I am wrong, which I doubt, you would have enough link juice for it not to impact you so greatly (unless lots of us got together and tried it!!), but for any middle to low authority site that is actually making a living this sort of thing can be devastating.

You submit your review request, wait for the web spam team to look at it, and get back to you and see if they bother to take your request into account.

From what I have read and my own experience it can take up to 2 months for any changes from a lifted penalty to take affect, and that’s if they decide in your favour.

Now if this is your sole income and it is so easy to hurt competitors using this tactic why are Google penalizing websites for spammy link profiles unless they are 100% certain the webmaster is responsible for creating those links, why not just ignore what they consider to be bad links and make them count for nothing.

I have worked in online marketing for nearly 20 years and have worked for some huge companies, and I know for a fact buying links and paying companies to build links is big business, further more it is adopted by almost every money making authority website. This is not natural linking but the sites seldom get punished, why is that?

Yet anyone trying to make a modest living, mostly affiliate webmasters seem to be made to jump through every hoop Google throws at them in order to stay alive.

I have asked Matt Cuts a number of times about what Google does to guard against this sort of link profile attack, but he has never replied, may be if enough of us ask the question, he will or Google might even change their policy on this?

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The perfect UK restaurant quality chicken Tikka Masala Or Korma

This has nothing to do with mobile phones but it’s so good I just had to share it.

It’s all about the taste if you cook anything and don’t taste and adjust as you go then you will fail.

I usually cook this for 10 as we are a large family, but I have cut my ingredients down by half to accommodate the average family.

For this recipe you will need:

2 Onions
8 cardamom pods
a teaspoon of cumin seeds
8 cloves
2 cloves of garlic
1 cinnamon stick
a bay leaf
a pinch of saffron
a table spoon and a half of garamasala
some olive oil or better ghee
vegetable stock cubes or pots
500g of chicken breast
a 500mil pot of natural yogart
double cream
creamed cocanut
granulated sugar
a hand full of raisins
a bag of basmati rice
a jar of supermarket korma or tikka sauce
4 – 6 metal skewers solid iron ones are best
some tin foil

The day before you plan on cooking this meal you need to make your marinade, start by dicing one onion I find using a food processor is best then poor in your yogurt and blitz it some more, next add the garamasala and give it another spin.

When that’s done cut your chicken into decent size 2 inch cubes poor the marinade into a sealable tub and add the chicken and refrigerate overnight.

When your ready to cook begin by heating your oven up to 200c or 180c for a fan assisted I find it best to place the metal skewers in a roasting tin and put them into the oven to get nice and hot but this is optional.

While that’s happening dice the remaining onion and the 2 cloves of garlic and set aside for later. Measure out your rice using a mug, 1 coffee mug of rice per 2 people so for 4 measure out 2 mugs of rice and wash well, pat the rice dry using a clean tea towel and set aside for later. If you soak your rice its cooking time must be reduced.

Next using an oven glove take the skewers out of the oven and carefully thread your marinated chicken on to the metal skewers and place them on a roasting tin so that each end of the skewer is balanced on either side of the roasting tin, so the chicken is suspended on the skewers and the heat can get all round the chicken and the juice can drip into the roasting tin now place them back in the oven and cook for 15 mins or so.

While your chicken is cooking poor your sauce into a deep sided frying pan and add the raisins and put it on a low heat, once your chicken is cooked through remove it from the skewers and add it to the sauce taking care not to burn yourself and leave to simmer very gently for about 10 minutes.

Fill your kettle and boil it, measure out 3 and a half mugs of water using the same mug you used to measure out your dry rice and mix in the appropriate amount of vegetable stock a couple of oxo cubes or one stock pot should be about right.

Add a 1 inch chunk of the creamed coconut to the sauce and stir until it melts in, now taste your sauce it will probably need about a table spoon of sugar add it in half at a time tasting after each – its starting to taste pretty good isn’t it?

Gently fold in 100 – 200 ml of double cream tasting as you go until its spot on and leave on a low heat stirring gently.

In a large pan melt a good table spoon of ghee or add a couple of table spoons of olive oil on a medium to high heat.

Add your cardoon pods and the cumin seeds once your fat is hot and just beginning to smoke, once the pods and seeds begin to pop add the onion and garlic leave for a minute or two stirring constantly, then add your rice stirring quickly and coating it evenly in the fat so it shines – don’t do this for long.

Next poor in your stock, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves and pinch of saffron cover the top of the pan with the foil and then a good fitting lid, reduce the heat to a low to medium setting and cook until all the water is absorbed, it should take 7 – 10 minutes I always check mine after 7 but it depends on how long you wash and or soak it for, leaving it too long will result in mushy rice.

Once done take the rice off the heat fluff with a fork and serve immediately with the tikka or korma, a naan bread and some onion bhajis.

If you would like to make your own onion bhajis once you have sealed your rice fill a deep sided frying pan with oil and put on a high heat. Slice 2 large onions in rings or half rings beat 2 large eggs and add one teaspoon of cumin seeds and one teaspoon of ground coriander slowly poor in some sifted garam or plain flour until you get a thick sticky mix. Next add your chopped onions to the mix coating evenly until they clunk together your mix should be a sticky dough and shouldn’t envelope all the onion.

Once your oil begins to smoke a little, add a good ladel of the compressed mix to the oil and continue until you have no more room in the pan allow to cook for a minute or 2 and turn until you have nice brown bhajis take out and drain on kitchen town until you have cooked them all. Quarter a lemon and serve.

I will add some pictures next time I make it, if you have a go at this dish you wont be disappointed and please let me know how you get on using the comments form below.

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How you are tracked online by Facebook and Google

Google_Facebook

Following on from my article on how to keep your kids safe on their mobile phones.

I had a number of questions about how we are tracked online by Google, Facebook and others.

So to give you a little background I work in online marketing and have done so for more than 15 years.

In order to adhere to the EU cookie directive on our website we have to provide a cookie policy explaining what cookies are, how you use them and get the users consent applied or otherwise. And provide detailed information on how the user can delete cookies and any effect it will have on their browsing experience if they do so.

Now there is a lot of fear about cookies and how they can track users, most people seem to think they are these things sat on their computers spying on their every move this isn’t true. Least not in the case of a single website, the only sites capable of using cookies in this way are the ones that are everywhere like Google and facebook.

A cookie that is set on one website can only be read by the website that set it, so if you visit shopmobilephones.co.uk and we set a cookie to say you visited and you looked at an iPhone 6s deal, if you went away and came back we could read that cookie and show you the best iPhone 6s deals and even tell you if the prices had changes on your return.

Sites like mine who have to bend over backwards to comply with cookie policies are not the root cause of all this cookie panic, while we do use third party cookies which is where all the “cookies are spying on you” panic has come from, we only do so to ensure sales we generate are awarded to us.

It works, in our case by a user clicking on a link to buy one of the mobile phone deals featured on our site, this is known as a tracking link which redirects the user to an affiliate network this is like a middle man who sets a cookie to say you clicked on a deal on the shopmobilephones.co.uk website.

If you then go to the retailers or networks website and purchase the deal, once your purchase is confirmed a bit of code is loaded on the retailers / networks site from the affiliate networks website via javascript which reads the last referring websites id and awards the sale.

That is the extent of our third party cookie usage and the way in which our sales are awarded. If you decide to delete your cookies or browse privately our sales are not recorded or awarded and we loose money.

But for search and social media giants the rules are not the same, while the do provide huge pages of terms and conditions and buried deep within is all the information on how they track your every move. They offer an opt out rather then an opt in policy to tracking and marketing.

When you are everywhere as facebook and google are you and your code is on almost every website you can set and read your own cookies and sessions on other peoples websites. You can also gather information about the website the user is on, to build a profile up on that users interests.

The core of google and facebooks revenue is advertising, and to follow your every move they embed tracking code in all of their software used by almost every website.

Be it a sharing button, social login, analytics, google fonts, a facebook widget, android or ios app that connects to the internet, cookies and sessions are set, like footprints in the snow all over the internet everywhere you go.

These cookies are assigned to each user by a unique identifier so even if your ip address changes or you log into a social account or your Gmail or other service on another computer or device your instantly picked up again and tracked.

Your profile is then, in away sold to the highest bidder, in the form of google and facebook ads. Whilst they do have certain criteria and quality guidelines about who can advertise to you and they do match relevant ads to your profile and recent browsing history, there is no shortage of bidders and you haven’t asked for the ads.

Online advertising is big business and budgets far exceed that of TV advertising, and for good reason the information and profiles the search and social media sites hold allow advertisers to closely target and tailor their ads specifically to the user. Back in 2010 GoCompare spent £28,000,000 and MoneySupermarket spent £21,600,000 on this form of advertising.

You can opt out of this form of advertising and to find out how to by click the adchoices text at the bottom of the image or text advert, try it and let me know the results.

I did this once and you don’t actually stop getting ads you just get random irrelevant ones which strangely enough happened to be mostly dating sites in my case, something that the wife wasn’t too happy about, so I opted back in. Now I don’t think the choice of random ads was coincidence either I think that was quite clever.

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Do mobile phones cause children constipation?

A couple of our kids have developed a new habit, when their phones buzz they suddenly have a bout of constipation, rushing urgently to the toilet and then spending thirty to forty five minutes on the loo, no fun when you are a family of ten soon to be eleven.

Now I know none of my kids have ever suffered from constipation and I haven’t read any evidence of mobile phones causing constipation especially triggered by a message being received. As an experiment I started banning phones being taken to the loo and guess what? They were all cured and the bathroom is now free when I’m bursting for a wee.

What ever the contents of the messages were, they are obviously only to be read and replied to behind a locked door. Which got me thinking, just how much do we know about what are kids are up to on their mobile phones?

In our day there was no mobile phones and the internet was just for scientists and geeks, you were lucky if you even had a landline.

You would call for your friends and play out until it was dark, there was always a dodgy bloke on every street who you were well warned about. You didn’t talk to strangers and everyone knew who you were and what you were up to, and if you ever stepped out of line it got reported straight back by Mrs busy body via the mums network and you got clobbered for it.

Christmas day you use to be out with a million other kids riding new bikes, skateboards, scooters and go-karts.

Those days are gone, now the streets are deserted, Kids are sat staring at screens connected to the entire world and Mrs busy body mum is now redundant.

Whilst smartphones undoubtedly have their advantages for staying in contact with your kids and knowing where they are, but as a parent how much do you really know about what your kids are up to on theirs?

What content they access, who they are texting and what they are sending and receiving are all things you should know as their parent.

With so many free messenger apps available it’s all to easy for your child to send and receive inappropriate pictures, videos and messages. Today’s digital age makes it all to easy for anyone to get in touch with anyone and more worryingly anyone to pretend to be anyone.

There are many things you can do to help keep your kids safe on their mobiles and the internet. Parental controls on your children’s devices and on your home wifi hub are a start but all to often your kids are a step ahead of you.

Accessing public wifi hotspots, using proxy sites to bypass your hubs parental controls and even just simply resetting the hub are just a few tricks your kids will undoubtedly already know about.

As a parent you have a duty to educate yourself and to become as tech savvy as your kids.

Talking to your children about their usage and understanding how and what they use their phones for is an important place to start.

Is it wrong to check their phones, read their messages be it texts, facebook, kik messages, SnapChat or what ever they use?

We have a policy of no passwords allowed on our children’s phones, I believe this makes them think a little knowing we could access their phones when ever we like.

At the end of the day you do have a duty to ensure you children are viewing age appropriate content and to make sure the only people they are talking to is family and friends.

Set some down time, we have caught my own teenagers still awake past midnight on their phones school night or not, whenever we caught them the phones are taken away for a week and our younger children have never been allowed phones at bed time at all.

Banning certain apps is also worth considering in our house WhatsApp and SnapChat are banned SnapChats most common use seems to be to exchange pictures of body parts, people falsely thinking because the image is deleted in a few seconds and it’s gone for ever, this isn’t true. A simple screen shot can capture it and then it can be shared across the internet.

You can block the SnapChat servers in your hubs firewall to prevent your children using it over your home wifi simply block the following urls: feelinsonice-hrd.appspot.com
feelinsonice.appspot.com
appspot.l.google.com
data.flurry.com

But it won’t stop them using it over their mobile data plan or public wifi.

The many apps your kids use to communicate swap pictures and videos are well documented on the internet and I have provided some links to popular ones at the bottom of this article, so I am not going to cover them in depth here.

I strongly believe that not enough is done to help protect our kids online by the social media sites and the producers of communication apps. Most of which adopt a self-moderation style approach, relying on their users to moderate and report any inappropriate content published.

Once a site reaches a certain size and turnover I think they all have a duty to do more, after all many of them generate tens of billions in income from their users each year. Yes you can argue these sites are too big to moderate every piece of content added and I agree but more can be done then is at present.

Google, Facebook and others are all more than capable of tracking your every move online, even when you leave their own sites, any website that has sharing buttons, social logins, analytics software or other services linked to search or social media sites, are also knowingly or not, providing further tracking information back to google and or the social sites in question, this is how ads appear which are relevant to websites and content you have just or previously viewed. They then use this information to build up profiles on each users browsing habits to re-market products and services that are relevant to their profile.

Now if they can do all of that surely they can do more to flag and automatically remove inappropriate content before our children see it and whats more they can also stop marketing directly to our children.

But of course we can’t just lay the blame on the websites and apps alone parents need to do more to help protect their kids online, too many of us today barley know our kids. We are guilty to of allowing screens to baby sit our children from cBeebies through to an Xbox , Playstation, phone, tablet or computer there is a screen for every age group.

Simple things like all sitting down at the dinner table during meal times without mobile phones or TV and having a conversation with your kids, helping them with their homework instead of leaving it to google also gives you a chance to talk – you might have to use google yourself in order to be able to help them.

Asking them about their day when they get home from school and taking an interest in their life goes a long way to understanding what you child is up to and if anything is bothering them.

Encouraging your kids to talk to you about their day to day lives means they are more likely to seek your help or advice if they find something online disturbing or are having any issues online such as cyber bullying.

There are a number of parental control apps available, most if not all are quite intrusive and may be overkill in my opinion and are no substitute for actually knowing your own child and in one respect yet another virtual babysitter but some features are useful like the ability to limit the time spent on phone for instance.

So what apps are out there to help you protect your children on their phones?

Many phones have built in parental controls, which can normally be found in the settings. Apple devices have them under Settings->General->Restrictions, on Android Settings->Add user or profile and windows phones look for My family.

The following apps are all available at a monthly and or annual cost:

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.23.14

 

Mobile Guardian:
Works on Apple, Android, Blackberry and Kindle

Mobile guardian lets you block the ability to text whilst driving, limit the hours the device can be used, view and block contacts, locate and track the device and it produces web browsing reports.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.47.05

 

Screen time:
Screen time lets you manage your Childs device from your own phone or computer but is only available on Android. You can manage the times the device can be used , set timers for apps, block apps from being used at certain times, pause a childs device from your own phone or computer and read reports of app purchases and downloads.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.48.24

 

Qustodio:
Qustodio offers a free version but with limited features, the full paid version offers:

Set times the device can be used, monitoring of social media usage, advanced facebook monitoring reporting status updates, relationship status updates, picture uploads as well as device tracking and the blocking of games and apps. Available on Apple, Android and Kindle.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.49.42

 

Net Nanny:
Many of you will already know Net Nanny but I bet not for mobile phones, it is available for Apple, Android and Windows phones and includes: web search filtering, set times the device can be used, pornography block, profanity mask, choose which apps can and cannot be installed and a social media monitor.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.50.51

 

TeenSafe:
TeenSafe is available on Apple and Android devices and offers the following features: Monitor messages (text,Kik and WhatsApp), view sent, received and deleted text messages, view incoming and outgoing calls, view browser history and search history, track the device location and view location history and view social media activity.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.52.15

 

My Mobile Watchdog:
Available on Apple and Android it offers a two week free trial and then is payable monthly. The app features a contact list manager, website blocker, manage the times the device may be used, monitors pictures sent and received, web usage reports as well as text and call history.

 

 

 

Further information and Reading:

http://www.ikeepsafe.org/about-us/

http://www.ikeepsafe.org/parents/

http://www.parentfurther.com/technology-media/cell-phones/boundaries

http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Talking-to-Kids-and-Teens-About-Social-Media-and-Sexting.aspx

http://www.parentfurther.com/technology-media/cell-phones?utm_campaign=parentfurther-search&utm_medium=search&utm_source=google&utm_term=parental%20control%20phones

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/

http://www.mumsnet.com/internet-safety/mobile-phones

http://nobullying.com/

Keeping Kids Safe on Apps:

http://www.coppa.org/

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/15-apps-and-websites-kids-are-heading-to-after-facebook

http://www.connectsafely.org/wp-content/uploads/snapchat_guide.pdf

http://appamatix.com/5-best-kik-secrets-2014/

Does Kik Messenger Pose a Danger to Your Kids?

https://kikinteractive.zendesk.com/entries/24745228-How-can-I-keep-my-Kik-account-private-

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites

http://www.connectsafely.org/pdfs/fbparents.pdf

https://safesmartsocial.com/facebook-for-kids-parents-guide/

https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/

https://help.instagram.com/116024195217477/

Parental Control & Monitoring Apps:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/google-android/3461359/parental-control-on-android/

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/apps/set-up-my-family-for-windows-phone

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/596-best-parental-control-apps.html

https://mobileguardian.com/

https://screentimelabs.com/pricing/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.screentime&hl=en

http://www.qustodio.com/en/

http://www.netnanny.com/

http://www.teensafe.com/

http://www.howlifeworks.com/technology/How_to_Monitor_Teens_Online_and_Texting_Activity_to_Keep_Them_Safe_701

https://www.mymobilewatchdog.com/

http://www.zoodles.com/en-US/home/faqs

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zoodles.kidmode&hl=en

http://www.mmguardian.com/

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