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Why ParentShield removed Voicemail

The voicemail system that’s attached to every other mobile network isn’t suitable for a phone used by small children. The system used by all four of the big mobile networks was designed over 40 years ago for use on mobile phones that were primarily there for business users. Nobody really considered at the time that in future 6 or 7 year olds would be carrying mobile phones to school. A better solution was required.


While voicemail can be useful in some circumstances, it has considerable disadvantages on a child’s mobile phone so ParentShield took the decision after a long review of risks and testing, to remove the function altogether and replace it with some more appropriate functionality.

Why Voicemail isn’t safe for children

Voicemail Hacking

Voicemail hacking is the term used for remotely accessing someone else’s mobile phone voicemail. It exploits the weaknesses in design that telephone voicemail systems have. Very few users ever reset the default voicemail PIN code for their phone making it a simple job to retrieve any messages that have been left.

Mobile phone voicemail messages can be retrieved using a landline and yes voicemail PIN.

While we tend to think of the high-profile phone hacking cases involving celebrities, it affects all phone users and at ParentShield we couldn’t possibly contemplate leaving children’s voicemail messages open to such abuse.


A key feature of ParentShield is the ability to closely control what numbers can be called, or can call the phone. With a normal phone network it’s perfectly possible to block certain numbers of course, but by default in those situations the child would possibly receive an alert on their phone that they have been called by a blocked number, and the caller would be presented the opportunity to leave a voicemail. This in turn would likely indicate to the child that there is a message there.

A voicemail message can be even more confusing and distressing to a child than receiving the call. It also means it’d be easy to re-dial the number and be connected which in many situations wouldn’t be what you want.

Full Roaming means fewer ‘not-spots’

The main reason for implementing a voicemail system is for allowing a caller to leave a message should the phone be temporarily out of signal area or turned off. ParentShield’s all-network roaming means you encounter far fewer areas of no signal than with any one network. This removes a lot of the need for a voicemail facility. The nature of radio communications means that a connection may not always be possible, and a caller, unsure about whether the message had been retrieved, would probably call back anyway. The majority of callers don’t leave messages.

Network Watch Connection Alerts

There are instances of course where you may need to get a message to a phone user as soon as the phone re-connects. ParentShield has designed a unique Network Watch system to do exactly this.

ParentShield is the only network to offer its subscribers re-connection alerts. If a phone has been turned off for a while it’s possible – via the ParentShield Portal – to set a Network Watch for re-connection. As soon as the phone is turned back on, or re-enters a signal area, a text message is sent to the Parent phone, and optionally another with a message to the child’s phone.

Connection alerts are a far more child-friendly solution and highly effective at reducing anxiety all round. It’s common practice for police to request such a feature from network operators in case of missing people.

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