Babyproofing your devices is no less essential than babyproofing your apartment. And, in the long run, devices might be even more dangerous than sharp edges. Fortunately, there is no shortage of tools when it comes to parental controls, and you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Here are some specific parental control suggestions for Android devices.
1. Create a restricted profile
In case you are sharing a device with your child, it would make perfect sense to create a separate user profile. This way your child doesn’t have access to your media and your apps. Additionally, you may restrict what kind of apps your child may use and download.
To create a new user profile follow this route:
Device settings -> System -> Advanced -> Users -> Add user
2. Enable Play Store age restrictions
Some of the parental control functions are offered within the Play Store itself. Depending on your location, you’ll have an option to set restrictions for apps & games, music, and some other media. For games, you can set restrictions by age, like 3+, 7+, 12+ and so on. For other media, you’ll have a blanket option of blocking everything marked explicit.
To enable Play Store age restriction follow this route:
Play Store -> hamburger icon -> Settings -> Parental controls
3. Enable Play Store purchase authentication
Understandably, most apps are designed to guide users toward payments, and some transaction screens look just like a part of the game. Even for adults, it’s common to fall prey to such techniques, so it goes without saying that children are especially vulnerable. For this reason, it’s best to remove the risk of both accidental and purposeful payments altogether.
To enable Play Store purchase authentication follow this route:
Play Store -> hamburger icon -> Settings -> Fingerprint authentication/Purchase authentication
4. Enable SafeSearch filter for Google
Keep in mind that SafeSearch for Google is not the same as Safe Browsing for Google Chrome. SafeSearch filters out explicit search results, while Safe Browsing stops you from visiting websites suspected of using malware. To be on the side of caution, it’s best you enable both of those.
To enable SafeSearch follow this route:
Google app -> Settings -> Accounts & privacy -> SafeSearch filter
To enable Safe Browsing follow this route:
Chrome app -> Settings -> Privacy -> Safe Browsing
5. Install Family Link app by Google
Family Link is a highly customizable parental control app developed by Google. It allows you to create schedules, set daily limits, monitor app use, and even track the location of your children at all times. While some of the features sound a little invasive, they could be justified for very young children.
6. Install Nicola to develop a reading habit
Another way to guard your children against the dangers of technology is to use devices for developing good habits. Take Nicola Read2play App for example. The app is part parental control and part gamified reader. Similar to other parental controls, Nicola will limit app access and create custom play schedules. Unlike any other parental control app, Nicola will ask your children to do some reading before they can access their favorite apps. This fun little twist allows you to establish a healthy work ethic and introduce parental control in a meaningful way.
As you can see, there are plenty of parental control options of varying degrees of complexity and invasiveness. Ultimately, it’s up to you which ones to use. After all, parental control is just an extension of your parenting approach. But, if it were up to us, we’d go with something that’s not just restrictive, but also a little fun 😉