How Does curbi Work?
curbi provides you with helpful and effective parental controls for your childrens' Android and Apple mobile devices.
To understand curbi think of these three words:
Curb, Block, Watch
Curb your child's device usage easily with curbi. Use Rules to control what your child can do on their device, and when they can do it: block social media apps during study time to keep them focused; block adult sites permanently so they aren't exposed to anything inappropriate. The Rules are yours to discuss with your child and apply as you see fit.
curbi will never prevent your child from making a phone call because it's important for them to be able to contact you in an emergency.
Block inappropriate material from ever reaching your child's device. Once curbi is installed, every website your child visits passes through curbi's content filter first. You might not be aware of which sites are inappropriate for your child, but curbi is. curbi's content filter is continually updated to include all new sites that need to be filtered out.
Watch your child's internet access and app usage using detailed reporting from curbi. At a glance you can see every site your child's visited, the apps they've used, and how long they've spent on any particular activity.
The curbi system is made up of three parts:
- The curbi server (in the cloud).
- The parent app. This can be run on the curbi website when you login or on your iOS device (iPhone or iPad).
- A child's device with the curbi management enabled.
Once the management profile is installed on your child's device you can control device settings, time restrictions and filter content remotely from your parent app. The curbi server facilitates this, and performs the filtering and monitoring of internet access.
curbi uses two key technologies to allow you to change settings on your child's device and to filter content from the internet.
The first is called Mobile Device Management (or MDM). This is a technology provided by Apple and Android to help with remote management of mobile devices. This is how we can change device settings and Restrictions by 'remote control'. It requires the installation of an MDM profile (for Apple) or the curbi monitoring app (for Android) on your child's device, which takes a minute or so. Once that is done you are able to control certain settings on the device and set up curbi content filtering.
The second is curbi content filtering. This works slightly differently between Apple and Android devices.
On your child's iPhone or iPad, all internet traffic goes through the curbi servers, so that you can control all content going to the device. We use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to route all internet traffic from your child's device to the curbi servers, then out to the internet. If the browser or app on the device tries to access anything that does not pass our filter then it is blocked and your child will not have access to that content. This allows you to block things like Facebook, regardless of how your child might get there. Whether they use any number of browsers available for the iPhone, or the Facebook app itself, curbi has you covered.
You'll know if the device is protected when you see the VPN badge appearing in the top of the iPhone/iPad screen when connected and curbi will let you know if this VPN connection is turned off. The VPN requires a reliable internet connection (cellular or Wi-Fi) in order to connect.
Things work a little differently on Android, but the ideas are the same.
On Android, we provide you with the curbi browser, which is based on the open-source Google Chrome browser. All content accessed via the curbi browser has the content filtering rules applied to it. This time, the content filtering happens on the device itself, without having to go through the curbi servers.
Once you have installed curbi on your child's device, the next step is to set up some content filtering and time restriction rules.
Content can be filtered very simply by selecting from curbi's predefined categories of content. This means you don't need to know specifically what websites and apps you want to block, only what type of site or app they are.
Here's some of the categories you can filter by:
- Social Media Sites
- TV and Video Sites
- Kids Time Wasting Sites
- Drug and Alcohol Sites
- Sex Related Sites
- Gambling Sites
- Abortion Related Sites
- Advertising Sites
- Gun Sites
Time Restrictions can be enforced by specifying various combinations of days of the week and time of day. curbi provides a simple and intuitive interface for this.
curbi is unique in that it allows you to combine these two things, content and time, to specify a rule or a set of rules which allow you control of your child's device as you see fit. Here are some examples of popular rules.
- Block all internet games, time wasting sites and social networking (but allow Wikipedia and Khan Academy) from 4 pm to 6 pm on week days and call it Study Time
- Block everything from 9 pm to 8 am on weekdays and 10 pm to 8 am on weekends and call it Bed Time
- Block everything from 6 pm to 7 pm and call it Dinner Time
Once you have some rules in place curbi will monitor the sites and apps that your child uses and report this back to you. Although it is not possible to determine exactly what was accessed you will know where, when, and for how long. You can view this information within your curbi account (via the curbi website or the curbi parent app). Once a week we'll send you a summary of activity. You will be able to use this information to determine if you need to change any of the rules or introduce some new ones.
Should your child attempt to bypass the curbi controls on their device curbi will detect this and notify you then you can have a conversation with them! However, we've found (from feedback and observing our own children) that the encouragement that curbi provides to develop responsible internet and device behaviour is well received by children. It really is a win win.
curbi will work with any iOS device running iOS 8 or later including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
curbi will also manage any Android device from Version 4 onwards.