What Is FamilyTime?
Nowadays, cyberbullying and age-inappropriate content can be a real problem.
And it’s natural for parents to want to protect their children from these issues.
One option is through parental control apps – like FamilyTime. This software lets you restrict your child’s access to apps and monitor their messages and GPS location. It can also do more general things like regulating screen time.
It’s an all-in-all solid package if you wish to impose more strict rules on device usage.
It works by installing the FamilyTime app on both the parent and child devices. This allows the two systems to link up and share information with one another.
Is it worth the money, though?
Read on and find out.
There are plenty of location tracking apps out there.
But FamilyTime is not just that. It’s a feature-packed tool that helps you enact content filters, software restrictions, and more.
This is the feature most FamilyTime reviews are focused on.
By linking a child’s device to a parent’s, you can see where your child is located at any time. This happens by clicking the map marker icon in the top right. Doing so will open up a map that shows exactly where your children are.
There’s even a location history feature.
As the name suggests, this lets you see a timeline of where your kids have been.
But how accurate is the GPS tracking really?
This mostly depends on the quality of your child’s device’s internet connection. But from the testing we conducted for our FamilyTime app review, the accuracy was down to 20-30 meters or so. It’s not perfect, but it’s sufficient to get a general idea.
Keeping to the topic of GPS tracking, let’s talk about Geo-Fencing.
What is that, exactly?
Simply put, you mark an area on the map. Then, every time your kids enter or leave that area, you receive a notification.
This is useful to know if your kids have made it back home safely, for example.
Just be forewarned – if the marked area isn’t large enough, the app is prone to sending false positives. This is due to the GPS tracking’s margin of error.
In case of emergencies, there’s an SOS button feature. Its function is pretty straightforward.
If your child activates it, it sends a notification to the parenting phone. This comes along with a location of where the device was when the alert was issued.
The FamilyTime dashboard acts as a central hub for your child’s activity.
When you go there, you’ll see today’s statistics for your child’s phone usage. How many messages they’ve received, how many calls they’ve made, how long have they used their phone, etc.
Through the dashboard, you can also set up a so-called Time Bank.
This is a specific limit on the amount of time your child can use their device per day. When they go over it, they’re locked out. You can monitor how long they have left on their Time Bank from the summary dashboard.
The summary tab keeps information up to a month in the past.
One disadvantage is you can’t view data for a particular day. So you won’t be able to see what your kids were up to on a specific date.
Time Bank and FunTime are a key set of FamilyTime parental control tools. They’re designed to complement each other in a way that teaches your child about time management.
Here’s how that works:
Whenever your child has extra time left in their Time Bank, they can use it during the FunTime period.
FunTime is set by the parenting device. You can choose which day it’s active on and at what time. Say you program the feature to turn on in the afternoon on weekends. Then, when Saturday comes, FunTime automatically enables itself.
Don’t want a specific number to contact your child’s phone?
The FamilyTime app lets you do just that. You can preview the list of contacts on the target device by going into the dashboard. When you enable the watchlist feature, you’ll be alerted every time that contact tries to reach your child.
Knowing your child is on the road can be nerve-wracking for many parents.
FamilyTime’s TeenSafe Drive feature keeps track of your child’s speed and alerts you when they’re going too fast. You set the speed limit via the app, and every time the target device detects a higher speed, you’re notified.
At least in theory.
This feature works through GPS location tracking. Which also means it’s not super reliable, especially if your child has a spotty internet connection. Sometimes false positives can occur, so it’s advisory to take the results with a grain of salt.
From everything in our FamilyTime app review so far, it’s clear the software has an abundance of features.
But what about instating a simple device lock?
That’s exactly what FamilyPause is.
From the main dashboard, clicking the In Use button will instantly lock your child’s device. They’ll be able to access their home screen, but nothing else. The lock can only be removed with a pin code or from the parenting device.
Not even the notification bar is accessible.
However, this also means they have no way to call you or access their contacts. They can only send SOS signals back to the parenting device.
Ease of Use and Interface
With all these features in place, how easy is the software to use?
The app and all its functionalities are managed through the parenting phone. When you open it, you’ll land on the main FamilyTime dashboard. This is where you can keep track of general information on your child’s device usage.
The menu itself is fairly simple. But getting around it can be a bit of a hassle.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
To access all the features FamilyTime offers, you have to open the side menu. But the contents of the menus change depending on which screen you’re in.
To access all features, you have to click on Reports and then open the side menu. The only way to find that out is by accident. The visual language is overall unclear and feels like a placeholder.
Many FamilyTime reviews out there have also reported glitchiness.
I can also attest to that, particularly with the GPS location tracking. Often, it would either fail to work, display outdated data, or show the child’s phone in a completely different country. The screenshot below is an example of one such bug.
Overall, the user interface is probably the weakest part of the app. It’s not unusable by any means, but it can definitely become frustrating to deal with after a while.
How To Install FamilyTime
The FamilyTime installation process is relatively long. It has to be, as it’s the only way to gather information from your child’s device and transmit it.
Here’s how it works.
FamilyTime is split into two separate apps – one for the parent and one for the child (FamilyTime Jr.). You can download both versions from either the App Store or Google Play for free.
An alternative way through is going to get.familytime.io on your child’s phone.
The installation process for iOS and Android is pretty much the same. Here’s what it entails:
First, you need to grant FamilyTime access to phone data like location, contacts, and call history. Easy enough.
After that, however, you’ll need to head into the phone’s settings menu. FamilyTime Jr. requires accessibility and overlay permissions, running in the background and on startup, and more.
All that is to ensure your child can’t uninstall or disable the app from the home screen.
However, nothing technically prevents them from simply going into the settings menu and revoking all the permissions done on startup.
There’s one more thing.
Upon setup, you are required to create a passcode for the child device. Remember it, as you’ll need it to disable some aspects of the app, as well as uninstall it.
If all this seems complicated, worry not. There’s a thorough step-by-step guide on the official website.
In case you have issues, contacting customer support is always an option.
It’s available 24/7 through either email or live chat, and you can access it through both the website and the app.
My research for our familytime.io review showed the quality of support to be quite good. The agents respond quickly, and waiting times tend to be very short.
The only hangup is the constant unsolicited messages you get from the chatbot or from support agents. Because of this, it’s difficult to keep track of the conversation, as you’re constantly being offered discounts.
So what’s the software’s price?
The good news is you don’t have to pay anything upfront. There’s a free version. However, that plan is naturally restricted in terms of features. The biggest missing functionality is tracking messages and call logs.
To access those, you’ll need to purchase a subscription.
So, how much does the premium version of the FamilyTime app cost?
This is where it gets confusing. The website and the app have two totally different pricing models. The ones displayed on the site are the following:
- MyFamily – $27/year
- MyFamily2 – $35/year
- MyFamily3 – $45/year
- MyFamily5 – $69/year
The number in each name corresponds to the number of child devices. MyFamily2 gives access to two devices, MyFamily3 to three, and so on. All plans contain all Premium features, as well as priority email support.
However, the app has a unique plan that you can’t find on the website. And even though it isn’t written anywhere, it’s actually called MyFamily15 and gives you access to 15 devices.
What’s more, the plans listed in the app have different billing periods than those on the website. They’re as follows:
- 1 month – $6.99
- 3 months – $19.99
- 12 months – $69.99
It’s an extremely confusing system that I only figured out after a lengthy conversation with customer support.
The MyFamily plans listed on the website are also the only ones with a free trial. It lasts three days, and you’ll be automatically charged for your chosen term after it expires. You can cancel your subscription at any time; however, the company doesn’t offer refunds.
FamilyTime vs Bark
Now let’s compare FamilyTime with a similar parental control app – Bark.
Much like FamilyTime, Bark is an app you install both on a parent and a child’s device. Then, the parenting device can monitor the other phone’s activity.
There are a few differences that make Bark stand out.
First, you can customize your child’s access to websites and apps more thoroughly. You can filter out unknown or unapproved apps and websites.
Bark can also manage schedules.
You can set things like bedtime or studying time, and the app will automatically limit device access during those periods.
But Bark’s biggest potential advantage is the algorithm that detects suspicious behavior. When enabled, the app will comb through the device’s messages and flag any potential bullying and predatory conduct. If that happens, you’ll be immediately notified.
Bark, however, doesn’t have a free version.
Meanwhile, the FamilyTime parental control features are more limited, but the app is more affordable and has a free plan.
Both apps have features unique to them. For instance, Bark lacks a Time Bank. Furthermore, certain features are only available on Android phones.
Choosing one app over the other comes down to two things. Price and platform.
Are you monitoring an iOS device? Or maybe you want something more affordable? Then FamilyTime is a good option to start with.
FamilyTime Review – Verdict
So, is FamilyTime worth using?
It’s a free app that lets you monitor your child’s device and online activity. And it comes with plenty of tools to let you do that, even though some require a purchase.
While the app’s interface is disorienting and its payment options are a total mess, it does exactly what it says. For the most part. When it works, GPS tracking is fairly accurate. And features like the parental lock and SOS button work without issues.
It’s an all-in-one package that anyone is free to try.