Sandbox app

There are lots of apps that purport to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet – apps that filter websites, that let parents spy on their kids’ habits, etc. But I want something different.

I want an app that creates a “Sandbox” in which I can place my child when handing over my phone. Certain apps will be there – the ones I’m ok with his using – and certain others won’t.

See, I don’t really like it when he stumbles on a selfie (mine or someone else’s), or a sext, or an e-mail, or what have you, that wasn’t intended for him. Or certain apps, like, say, OKCupid.

Unless your phone is rooted, there’s no real way to accomplish this, and even if it is rooted, it’s pretty hard (I’m told) to accomplish what I want. Why can’t I just hand over my phone, and have him not be able to leave my self-defined “Sandbox” (it includes a browser that’s unrestricted, but not, say, my OKCupid app, and no access to my pictures or texts) without a password. The phone could be set to boot into the sandbox, so it’d be inescapable.

Is this so hard? (I’m sure the answer is yes, but I wish it could be done.)

The closest I’ve been able to find is Vault, which doesn’t do quite what I want, but it does cleverly provide some protection, requiring a password to access certain apps (and making them look like they’ve crashed if you don’t have it), and creating hidden photo folders. The problem is that it doesn’t make apps invisible (I don’t want my son seeing my OKC app, or my Tumblr app). And it’s kinda unwieldy.

How do you solve this challenge? Do you?


  1. How about getting your son a kindle fire? It’s not as big or expensive as the Ipad. Kids will always find a way to get in. Believe me. My sister saw almost saw a picture of a certain former distant buddy of mine.

    1. Yeah, we actually have an iPad. And an iPod touch. And a nook. The problem is that we ALWAYS have my phone. We don’t always have his electronics. In just a few more years, he’ll have his own phone, and then the problem will be mostly solved. But until then….

  2. I’m glad to see I’m not the only parent who wants something like this. You described exactly what I was asking H about the other day…whether there was an app out there like that and if not why? I think that would be perfect for adults with children. I don’t want her “accidentally” seeing/finding these things on my phone. I also would like to lock individual pics, that each pic I take or download from the net can be locked away from her but still in my regular album. These things don’t sound all that difficult to me, but I’m not a computer person.

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