The MiiPC is an Android-based PC that works in tandem with mobile apps that let parents keep an eye on what sites their kids are visiting.
Having successfully raised enough money on Kickstarter, the MiiPC is available to pre-order now. It’s going to be available in two versions, basic and premium.
The basic model has a glossy white exterior, costs $129 (£80) plus shipping and you get 1GB of RAM and 4GB of Flash memory for your money. The premium model has double the RAM and memory, comes in a jet black shell and costs $149 (£92). Both units run on a Marvell Armada 1.2GHz dual-core processor and come with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean installed.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Parental Internet ControlsAll units come with an Ethernet port, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, three USB ports an an HDMI output. You’ll need to supply your own monitor, keyboard and mouse.
As well as being an affordable family PC solution, the MiiPC’s main selling point for parents is the ability to monitor what children are up to online from their phones.
The MiiPC Web App Center provides access to a list of over 500 popular sites and Android apps that have been rated as family friendly. This list can be customised to add access to specific sites and apps if parents deem that they’re safe and this can be done either from the desktop or from the mobile app.
Despite the MiiPC itself keeping a record of children’s browsing activities, this information is private and is not shared with anyone outside the family. Parents setting up the MiiPC have sole access to children’s online habits.
Access to Amazon AppStore can be enabled on the MiiPC if your family is fond of reading books on Kindle. If you wish you can install .apk files (Android app files) on the MiiPC from an SD card. Parents will be happy to note that they have control of which files can be installed in this way, lest any more tech-savvy kids attempt to install Grand Theft Auto III via the back door.
Setting up the MiiPC parental control for the first time requires you to have your MiiPC set up and connected to the internet. Once you’ve followed the on-screen instructions and set profiles up, you should be able to remotely monitor and control web history, site and app access from your browser or your phone.
You can monitor activity from your desktop or laptop (MiiPC supports Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari) by going here or by using the iOS or Android apps. Support for other systems including Windows Phone are in the pipeline.
While no system is completely watertight, the MiiPC allows parents to monitor and control things from a variety of locations, something which will certainly appeal to parents.