Smartphones are amazing. The computing power that took up rooms decades ago now fits right in our pockets, and with the convenience of the internet, any information you want is literally available at a touch of your finger.
On the other hand, those of us with kids quickly learn that there’s plenty of information on the internet that we don’t want our children stumbling into. Not only does offensive and crass content sneak in on the browser, but it’s also easy to waste time, and avoid the work that we actually need to do.
Whether you want parental controls to keep your teen from texting far into the night, or to keep your child’s phone a much more PG-atmosphere, there are options that put the control in your hand and protect your son’s and daughter’s childhood for longer.
These tools can also come in handy if you want to moderate data usage so that it’s more evenly distributed throughout the family plan, or if you have a toddler who loves to play around on your phone, but you want to make sure that she’s unable to accidentally make purchases on your various accounts or call random people in your phonebook.
First Line of Defense: Enabling Controls
There are some baseline controls that are already part of the operating system of your phone. These can help you control which apps your child has access to, what they’re able to download, and provide privacy settings on their social media accounts to protect them.
The easiest way to set up parental controls on an Android is to create a new user. With Android’s newest operating system, you can go to Settings->Users and set up a new user on your phone with restricted access. You’ll retain your user setting as owner of the phone, and have the ability to add or delete anything that’s done under another user’s access. The Google Play store is where you’ll want to go to restrict objectionable content. Go into the app and access its settings, and then go to the User Controls section and select Parental Controls. Here, you can limit access, and protect your settings with a password that you set.
Activate “Restrictions” which you can find in Settings->General->Restrictions. Once you click to enable restrictions, it will ask you to set a passcode (which should be different from the passcode on the phone itself). Within Restrictions, you’ll be able to toggle which apps can be used and which can’t. You can also set limitations for installations and downloads, uninstalling, or making purchases within apps. This section will also let you set limits on content ratings, whether that’s movies, shows, books, or music. There’s also an option that lets you control Siri’s ratings, which will allow you to block explicit content and control web searching access.
Apps that Increase Parental Controls
If you would like to set up controls that are more comprehensive and detailed than those found in the default operating system on your child’s phone, you can download a wide range of apps that increase your control. Here are a few to take a look at.
- Screen Time Parental Control: This is one of the least invasive parental control apps. The main purpose of it is to monitor screen usage and enable time restrictions that keep your child from getting distracted on their phone when they should be doing something else.
- Kids Place: This is a great app if you’re the parent of a young child who loves to play on your phone. When you turn on the app, it creates a safe zone where your child can only play with apps that you’ve specifically approved, and it also keeps your child from making purchases or calls.
- Funamo Parental Control: Funamo is one of the most popular filters that you can set up on your phone. It allows you to block apps, control certain app usage, and it also includes a comprehensive internet filter that guards your child’s phone (or yours) from offensive content.
This is only a handful of the filters that are available out there. If you have more questions, feel free to visit us in one of our convenient locations!