Frequently Asked Questions
ParentShield from Engine Mobile is a completely new type of mobile phone service. Here are some answers to questions we have been asked. If there's something we've not covered, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call: 0330 122 1180 to get straight through to someone who can answer your question.
ParentShield is a new breed of mobile telephone service, designed to help parents and guardians protect children and vulnerable people from the risks that are associated with them having their own phone. Our service provides parents and guardians with the ability to listen to all calls, read all texts and limit the internet access through an online portal. This service works in the same way as a normal SIM would for the child or vulnerable person, but provides important safety benefits.
The end user is not presumed to have any authority to change settings, billing profiles or authenticate in any way. When balance gets low it's the Parent's phone that is alerted. PIN numbers are never sent to the phone and the phone user can never place orders or make topups. With a normal mobile phone contract this is far too easy to do!
ParentShield will also never install offer or advertising Apps on your child's phone. Some phone networks do this and will promote adult services to the phone such as gambling and alcohol. ParentShield data connections do not target advertising at the phone user.
For a fixed monthly cost Parents have the assurance that their child can always call and text home without the fear that they will use all their credit, or run up a big bill, and then be unable to call home.
ParentShield is a service designed to be ideal for parents and legal guardians of young or vulnerable people. ParentShield provides far better safety and control than a normal mobile phone network.
The network is ideal for all children who have the need for their communications to be monitored or better controlled. Also for older users with special safeguarding needs.
In most circumstances, yes. Our typical user is under 14 years of age, or has other special requirements that make a normal mobile service impractical.
Because our network allows you to record calls and sms to and from the phone, it is not suitable for normal adult public use.
We do have procedures in place to accommodate customers who have users with special needs. Please make a note on the order page.
Our SIM cards are Roaming SIMs and can be set to connect to the strongest major UK network in your area.
Our preferred networks for technical reasons are Vodafone, Three and O2. What network (or networks) we use for your particular SIM will depend on many factors. If you have connectivity concerns, Call Us on 03301221180 for a chat.
Each account has "Home Numbers", which are unlimited for all SIMs associated with that account to contact, via calls or SMS.
Even if the user has used up all their allowed credit, Home numbers will always work, and always be free.
These numbers normally contain the mobile or landline number of the child's mother & father or a close family member.
The new "Word Alerts" allow the account holder to be alerted when the user uses a certain word or phrase. As soon as an SMS text containing an alert word or phrase is detected, the account holder will receive a text, containing the word that has been used & a link to the portal so necessary action can be taken as soon as possible.
You can set alerts for as many words as you need to, which can be added in your online account under the settings section.
During the restricted time period, the Phone can only be used to contact, and be contacted by the two "Home Numbers" and of course, the Emergency Services
These applications are encrypted and designed to be private. That's why WhatsApp has a 16 years minimum age.
If a user tries to install age-restricted applications like WhatsApp or Snapchat we block the setup 'Handshake' SMS and place that in the portal so the parent knows what is happening.
The Age controls on these apps are simply circumvented by lying about your age of birth on setup. ParentShield will protect against this.
You can choose whether to allow withheld ( anonymous ) callers or not in the account's settings.
Your child will be unable to be contacted by withheld numbers when Ultra Secure Mode is turned on, but they will be allowed when Ultra Secure Mode is turned off, if that is what you want.
We don't ( yet! ) have any shops but we want to.
You are more than welcome to visit our offices - either just to say hello or for a cup of coffee - or to pick up a SIM card.
Email us at: email@example.com to arrange a collection.
Yes - We have a fairly comprehensive API that will allow you to do most things that you can do via the Portal.
Download a copy of the documentation at: https://parentshield.co.uk/em_rest_api_1_0.pdf
You'll see the brand of the Network you're currently attached to, so if you're in an area where Three provides the best connectivity, you will see "3 UK" at the top of the phone. ParentShield is never mentioned so as to provide the most 'normal' experience possible.
Traditional phone voicemail systems have serious shortcomings as have been highlighted by numerous phone-hacking cases. Networks also record and store Voicemails unencrypted and insecurely that fall below ParentShield's standards.
Adult Phone Services always presume that it is the account holder who has hands and eyes on the phone - allowing the user to place orders, change PIN numbers etc. This would be totally inappropriate for ParentShield where the phone is being used by a child.
While abroad the phone will be able to call home to the UK but won't allow calls to non-UK numbers or calls to UK numbers that are themselves roaming overseas. While abroad Billing is on a PAYG basis.
For full details or to request a special arrangement, see: Taking your ParentShield Abroad
We encourage providing a phone and giving proper education about its use and the importance of knowing what is an emergency and what isn't.
If they both work, then the phone is unlocked.
Be careful not to try two SIMS that are the same carrier but one is an MVNO of the other such as O2 and Tesco. Tesco SIMS will work in a phone that is locked to O2.
In a day or two you'll receive a letter in the post at the address you specified as the delivery address, containing your SIM Card(s). We'll also send a sheet of stickers with the mobile phone number of the SIM and your temporary password for the online portal. The username will be your email address.
Pop the SIM in a phone and turn the phone on. Within a minute or so it'll have found the strongest network and registered itself.
You can then log in, change your password, and you're good to go.
No matter what the phone user does, it's only possible to use up the monthly allowance plus any extra funds that you have chosen to pay onto the account in advance.
All international, premium rate, or text shortcode numbers are blocked permanently.
You will be billed the price shown on the monthly plan that you have chosen, once a month on the anniversary of the date that you ordered your SIM.
If you are paid 4-weekly and would prefer a 4-weekly billing cycle, with slightly reduced payments, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know along with your next pay date and we'll sort that.
If your child has reached their monthly usage limit and has no additional funds, they will only be able to contact your chosen Home Numbers for the rest of that month.
You can add more funds for additional usage within your account.
Yes, of course. Just call us on 0330 122 1180 or email email@example.com and let us know.
Here at Engine-Mobile ParentShield, we have a close working relationship with the Major UK mobile network providers, 02, EE & Vodafone, to ensure that our network and its features work as smoothly as possible.
Below is a billing comparison table for the rate that you will be charged 'out of bundle' ie. if your monthly allowance is used up and the number being called isn't a Home Number. It will be necessary to top up the account before these calls are available however.
|£0.30 per minute||£0.30 per minute||£0.30 per minute||£0.25 per minute|
|£0.20 per message||£0.15 per message||£0.14 per message||£0.14 per message|
|£12 per 1000MB||£30 per 1000MB||£13 per 1000MB||£16.00 per 1000MB|
We have taken a large amount of time to ensure that our service complies with these laws.
Normal public mobile telephone services aren't built from the ground up with protection in mind, like ParentShield is. ParentShield has all the necessary policies, procedures and safeguards in place to ensure that the service can provide necessary protection to our customers while respecting the rights of everyone using the service.
In practice, our service is the same as a parent monitoring the websites that their child visits, which is recommended by large organisations who deal with safeguarding, as guardians have a legal responsibility to protect vulnerable people in their care.
Calls are stored securely, can only be accessed using the most secure SSL encryption protocols, and ONLY by the account holder. Calls and SMS messages are deleted securely when required. The network also provides notification to third parties calling in with a voice announcement stating that the call will be recorded securely before the call is connected.
All Data is hosted securely encrypted in the UK, and is destroyed securely after 6 months.
Only minors or those requiring supervision and monitoring of this kind are allowed to use this service. For details see our special requirements page: https://parentshield.co.uk/special-requirements/
For Situations where recording and monitoring would be unacceptable, ParentShield offers a no-recording mode and a mode with the provision of an unrecorded 'third home number' that can be allocated to a responsible person such as a natural parent, advocate, or legal representative who needs unmonitored access to the user. These are provided free of any extra charge.
We are telephone system developers and programmers and proudly own and secure our own interchange hardware that links to the other networks. That's how we can cram so many features into our service. We have two UK data centres at present linked to the UK's major Internet Peering points in both London and Manchester. Our NOC is at our offices in South Derby.
All our numbers are in-tariff with every major carrier in the UK so will be treated just like any other mobile number as far as other carriers are concerned. However please check with your mobile company to make sure as we're not in control of what other companies charge.
If you have technical questions about the service, or are interested in peering with us, please feel free to email the development team directly:
We will soon be announcing peering relationships with some overseas networks to take ParentShield into other countries.
If you require a ParentShield SIM without recording of Calls, SMS or both, contact us to have your SIM placed in this mode.
ParentShield can also provide a third unrecorded 'home number' with unlimited calls and SMS for the secure use by a trusted adult.
No other mobile network is designed ONLY for children. Only Children are allowed to use ParentShield.ParentShield