Your kid loves to use your phone to play games. But how do you make sure your Android is safe to use? What steps can you take to protect your child? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about making Android safe for your child to use – whether it’s your own phone or a tablet you’re giving to your child.
Create a Separate Account for your Tablet
Android has made it easy to use multiple accounts since 2015 and the release of Android 4.3. Making a separate account is straightforward. From the Settings menu, go to Users > Add user or profile. This works best on tablets, although Android has supported it on phones since Android 5.0+.
Then, walk through the steps to create a restricted profile separate from your own. Give your profile a name like “Kids” or your kid’s name. Then, check out the list of apps shown. Some apps are automatically blocked by restricted profiles. By default, restricted profiles cannot access your Calendar, Docs, Email, and Twitter, for example. Other apps can be toggled on or off.
To fine tune access options even further, select the small gear icon. This lets you customize access options on certain apps – although not all apps support it.
One of the best parts about setting up a separate account is how easy it is to access: from the lock screen, you’ll be able to click on your active user. Your profile will be displayed up top, while your kid’s profile can be selected at any time. Pull down the notification bar at any time and tap your child’s icon.
Set Up Parental Controls
Android has become really good with parental controls over the years. Google knows how important parental controls are to some users, so they’ve continued to improve on the feature.
Start by choosing which apps your child can install.
Open the Google Play Store and tap on the hamburger icon on the top left. Swipe down and tap on “Settings”. Swipe down again until you see “Parental Controls”, then tap on it. You can toggle this using the setting in the top-right corner (tap the slide bar), then create a pin.
From here, you can choose the ratings you want your apps, games, and music to have when you toggle parental controls. “Everyone” is the most restrictive setting, and “Allow all, including unrated” is the least restrictive setting. These settings will extend to your apps, games, and music.
While you’re in this menu, look for the option requiring authentication for Google Play. This will prevent unauthorized Google Play Store purchases or downloads.
Take Advantage of App Pinning
App pinning is a useful parent-friendly feature in Android 5.0+. With app pinning, you can lock a single app to the screen (it works on both phones and tablets) while blocking access to everything else.
Using this feature, your kid can have fun without needing to switch profiles. You can hand your smartphone or tablet to your kid without constant monitoring. To exit out of the app, you’ll need to enter a PIN.
To enable app pinning, go to Settings > Security. You can choose your unlock method. PINs are popular. If your child can read, then he or she can follow the on-screen unlock directions, so consider using a PIN.
When you want to pin an app, just open the app, then hit the overview button on your Android (the square on the bottom right of your display), then tap the pushpin icon shown on the app card.
The app is now pinned. The user won’t be able to escape the app without entering a PIN. Without a PIN, you’ll need to hold the back and overview buttons simultaneously to exit.
Consider Installing Parental Control Apps
There are dozens of parental control apps on the Google Play Store. They all work in a similar way – so just pick the most popular one that looks good for you.
One popular free option is called DinnerTime Plus, which lets parents monitor activity from a separate device. One of the coolest features of DinnerTime Plus is that you can flash a bright red screen to the other device – say, when you want to let your kid know that it’s time for dinner. The core feature of DinnerTime Plus, however, like other parenting apps, is to restrict access to certain apps and to generate reports based on your child’s activity.
Ultimately, there are plenty of parental control apps to choose from on the Google Play Store. These apps let you remotely monitor a child’s activity and control what they access.
By following all the tips listed above, you can ensure your child stays safe while enjoying the special features of Android!