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Preventing Child Mobile Phone problems

This is written for anyone having difficulty with any aspect of our service. Having said that, many of the things that follow affect all Mobile networks – especially once you start roaming abroad.

For anyone who is familiar with taking their mobile phone abroad, to multiple countries, little of what follows will come as much of a surprise. A SIM card has a different feel when it’s roaming – from the difference in connection times to the different ringing and engaged tones that you may hear.

Stay Connected if you can

Because ParentShield uses the strongest signal without preference, your child’s mobile phone must communicate with all the networks constantly – exchanging information that allows us to switch between networks. This information builds a temporary database that tells the Network how to contact the phone. It’s a well rehearsed dance and works beautifully well when left to do its own thing. But you can help by:

  • Keeping phones turned on
  • Keeping phones charged
  • Ensuring settings such as Network Selection are left in ‘automatic’ mode
  • Making sure the phone’s operating system is up-to-date
  • Making sure the phone itself is still supported by the manufacturer
  • Keeping Roaming turned on at all times

Under normal circumstances all mobile phones ‘phone home’ or in mobile jargon ‘LU’ from time to time to update the network of their presence and maintain the phone’s registration in the network ‘directory’. After a certain amount of time, this directory registration has to expire and if the phone hasn’t made the network aware of where it is, there is the possibility of unexpected and unwanted behaviour creeping in.

If a phone loses its registration – completely or partially you may experience:

  • One-way or both ways calls may not connect
  • SMS delayed or not sent
  • Caller ID may be lost or may show our ’emergency’ number ( always beginning 01283 – and usually 01283702361)

Of all the problems we encounter, the most common cause is old unsupported hardware causing this issue – an iPhone 5 or 6 for example, that’s not capable of being updated properly, probably with a tired battery that goes flat or is turned off for long periods of time.

If you ever experience any of the symptoms above, simply power the phone off completely, and then – after counting to 10, or 50 if you hold the World Speed Counting Record – turn the phone back on.

It may seem that the old ‘restart the computer’ thing is a bit of a fob-off but for a mobile phone it’s an essential way of instructing the device to LU – to phone home and get itself properly registered. Teaching your child how to restart the phone, and what it does, is an important first lesson. The actual process of holding the power button for 10 or 12 seconds to power the device off is not always known! We speak to people every day who don’t know that mobile phones can actually be turned off or restarted.

Keeping a phone turned on in the school bag during the day isn’t a problem if the ParentShield SchoolBlock is there to prevent calls or texts. This ensures that the phone never loses network connection and will make calls home without any problems as soon as the school bell rings!

Restart the phone after inserting the SIM

Once upon a time, SIM cards were underneath the phone battery. You had to remove the battery to get to them, so it guaranteed phones were always restarted after inserting a SIM.

Modern smartphones have ditched the idea of a removable and replaceable battery and with the SIM ‘hot swapped’ in a little tray on the side, the phone often doesn’t do the full job of reading information from the SIM when it’s changed. The big 4 networks have managed to sneak their parameters into the phone manufacturers’ systems so their SIMs tend to survive this hot swap process quite well. For ParentShield, please always do a full restart.

Set the phone up for data – even if data isn’t needed!

It is a really good idea to go through the ParentShield Data Guide and set the phone up straight away.

This way you know it will work if you need it in future. It’s well worth checking every week that data is set up correctly as it’s not unusual for children to experiment and play with settings. Data is one of those things that you need, when you need it, and you don’t know when that will be.

Check The Portal

ParentShield is *very* powerful. A normal adult’s mobile network has little or no ability to control or block calls or SMS. Anyone is free to call, and the phone is free to call anyone, no matter who or where they are.
It is all too easy to accidentally leave a setting – ParentShield SchoolBlock or ParentShield Ultra Secure Mode in place, and forget about it. Then when an unusual even happens – a holiday, or a school trip, or a day off – the portal may need a change. The following things will help:

In the portal you will find a button that will allow an automated scan of current settings and provide a report to let you know – given the current settings – what will be blocked, and why.

ParentShield Child-Safe Settings Check
How to check what will be allowed or blocked.

The number of settings-related support calls we receive is very low as we have done everything we can to make the controls as simple and intuitive as possible, but where we do get calls, it’s usually a customer who has set things up quickly and then not checked or used the Portal for months or years.

If you are at all unsure – call us! 03301221180 or email hello@parentshield.co.uk

Let us know if you’re travelling abroad

ParentShield works beautifully abroad, but depending on your destination we may have a little work to do! Every Mobile network we’ve ever spoken to is very supportive of our mission, but we want to make sure your experience is as seamless as possible. Before you go – check the page below, and fill out the simple form to ket us know.

The App has a button for this as well.