How To Activate Parental Controls On Your Smartphone
It’s become common, as a parent, for your child to grab your smartphone to play games. Here’s how to ensure your phone is ‘child-proof’.
Published: Sunday, December 4th 2016
Children in the 21st century appear to have grown up with a smartphone in their hand.
If you're a parent, then you know the feeling when your children get hold of your smartphone to play games (which they probably downloaded when you weren't looking) or access the internet.
One of the biggest concerns, as a parent, is ensuring that your kids are safe and not accessing any undesirable content when online.
The other concern is that they could rack up unknown charges on your credit card while they're playing a game.
There are ways to prevent your children from accessing sites and services that they shouldn't be using. The most obvious way is to set up a pin or pass code on your device. But, let's be honest, your kids will probably figure out what it is before you even realise what's happening.
Fingerprint or biometric scanners are a great way to prevent unauthorised usage or access. So, we'd recommend enabling it on your smartphone, if it has a fingerprint scanner (which many new phones do have).
If you’re using an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch), there are means of restricting access to your device/s while they're being used. This allows access to certain apps, functions, and sites, but prohibits other types of content and unauthorised apps, and / or in-app purchases.
In order to do this, you'll need to activate Restrictions on your iDevice:
Tap Settings > General > Restrictions
Scroll down and tap Restrictions, then tap Enable Restrictions.
Create a Restrictions passcode. You need your Restrictions passcode (which you would have set up the first time you used Restrictions) to change your settings or to turn off Restrictions.
To see a list of apps and features that you can restrict, go to Settings > General > Restrictions. To turn restrictions on or off, tap the slider next to the app or feature.
Restrictions works with a host of apps and features including Safari, iTunes Store, Camera (including FaceTime) as well as prohibiting the installation and deletion of apps.
Google's Android OS does have parental controls, but they only tend to work on app and content purchases.
This prevents your children from downloading any undesirable apps and prevents them from making any in-app purchases.
Once you set up parental controls, you can turn them on or off.
To set up parent controls on your Android device, you'll need to open the Play Store app on your Android device:
NB: Parental controls for each type of content aren't available in every country. If you travel to a country where they aren't available, they may not work until you get back home.
- In the top left corner, touch Menu > Settings > Parental controls.
- Turn Parental controls On.
- Create a PIN that users need to enter to change your parental control settings. It's recommended to use a PIN your family doesn't already know.
- Choose your filters:
- Apps, Games, Movies, and TV: Choose the highest maturity level of content you want to allow for download or purchase.
- Music and Books: Choose whether you want to restrict downloads or purchases of explicit content.
- Parental controls only apply to the device you added them on. To add parental controls on another device, repeat these steps on your other device. If you have multiple users on a device, you can set up different parental controls for each one.
Use a Different Profile
Another way to childproof your device is to set up a different profile for them on the smartphone or tablet.
This functionality is available on most devices running Android Jelly Bean (4.2) and up.
To do this you'd need to go to:
Settings > Device > Users.
If you have a young child, we recommend that you set up a restricted profile. This lets you control what appears on that profile.
If you feel that your child is responsible enough to use your profile, you might want to download App Lock from the Google Play Store. It lets you lock content like SMS, Contacts, Gmail, Facebook, Gallery, Calls, Settings, and more. It also lets you hide pictures and videos.
Giving your children access to the internet and apps to help develop learning and skills is important in the 21st century. But, with that much access comes the need to ensure that your children are safe online.