How to set up parental controls on an Android smartphone
It is easy to get lost in the vast internet, especially for a child. Although it was much easier to monitor what children were doing online a decade ago, the popularity of smartphones has made that job difficult. Children having access to a sea of information and media is both a blessing and a bane for them, but with the right amount of regulation done in the right way, the negative effects of the internet can be greatly reduced. Google apparently understands this and ships Android with some tools to help with this. Today we’ll check these out and learn how to set them up.
Aside from the browser, the easiest way for a child to stumble upon adult content or things that are harmful to them on an Android smartphone is the Google Play Store. As such, the app comes with a built-in feature to limit the type of apps, games and movies they can access based on age limits. You’ll want to turn it on if you’re leaving the phone with your child for long periods of time, or if they have their own phone.
To turn on parental controls on the Google Play Store, follow the steps below:
- Open the Google Play Store, tap the profile icon at the top right, click Settings and navigate to “Family.” Here you will find parental control.
- Tap on Parental Controls and then turn it on. You will be asked to enter a PIN when you do this for the first time. This PIN is required every time someone tries to make changes to the parental control settings or turn it off.
- Once the PIN code has been entered, you can choose what kind of content your child should see in the Play Store. For example, if you select “Rated for 7+”, your child will not be able to access or download apps rated 12+, 16+ and 18+.
But parental controls only cover the basics. What if you also want to protect your child from, among other things, mature websites? This is where Google’s Family Link app comes in. The parental control app is very broad in its scope and can help you limit the amount of screen time your kids have, monitor their internet activity, view their app activity, manage their apps and lock their devices. The app also suggests “teacher recommended apps” on Android that you can install directly on their phone. Family Link even works with iOS 9+ devices.
Follow the steps below to set up Family Link on a smartphone:
- Download Family Link on your child’s phone and on your own.
- When you open the app, you’ll be asked to connect your and your child’s Google account. If your child doesn’t have a Google Account, you’ll be prompted to create one for them.
- Once the linking process is complete, children can sign in to their devices with the new account
After they sign in, you can start using Family Link to set phone rules for your child.
Once Family Link is set up, the first thing you might want to do on your child’s phone is a screen time limit:
- Open the Family Link app
- Choose your child
- Tap Controls and then Daily Limit
- Follow the instructions on the screen
Once the screen time limit is reached, your child will not be able to unlock the device, use apps or see notifications. They will still be able to answer calls and make emergency calls. You can also use the feature to set individual time limits on apps.