Bill Gates thinks 14 years is the right age to give your child a smartphone. But as you probably know, kids start interacting with smart devices way early in their lives. At three years, a tech-savvy child could navigate her way into a game app or your video songs’ library.
If you believe your child spends way too much time on smart gadgets, it might be time you exercised parental controls. Both Google and Apple give you the option to limit what apps your child can access. But there are plenty more ways to monitor your child’s Internet usage.
Below are the top five ways to set parental controls on your child’s mobile device.
#1: Use Google Family Link
Google has an app that can help you monitor how much time your child spends on her favorite apps. It’s easy to set up and offers three useful features.
First, it alerts you reports of what your child does on the phone daily. It also gives you control over the kinds of apps your kids can install. This eliminates having to quarrel your child for downloading apps you repeatedly warned them against using.
Speaking of disagreements, Google’s app can help you avoid disputes over how your child spends money on apps. You can do this by limiting how much money your kid spends on apps weekly. Alternatively, you can hide apps you no longer want your kids to contribute money to.
The third feature allows you to set a limit on how much time your child spends on her smartphone. You can lock your kid’s tablet if you want him to spend some of his free time playing outside. You could also set bedtime or remotely lock the device when you want your kid to stop using it temporarily.
#2: Use Apple’s Comprehensive Controls
While Google’s Family Link app helps you manage how your child uses apps, Apple’s controls are more comprehensive. You don’t need to download an app to access the service. Instead, launch Settings on your iPhone and click the screen time feature.
Navigate to the content and privacy restrictions icon and enter a password code. That will prevent your razor-sharp kids from turning parental controls off. Apple also asks you whether the device is yours or if it belongs to your kids. Irrespective of what you say, the company will help you manage your child’s screen time.
Similar to Google’s Family Link, Apple also enables you to limit your kids’ in-app purchases. While still at the content and privacy restrictions section, click iTunes and app store purchases. Select apps you would like to disallow.
Other handy features in the screen time section include the option to restrict apps and features. You can also filter out explicit content, manage gaming time or control how your child uses Siri. If you also have an exclusive site you no longer want your child to visit, you can authorize Apple to block it.
#3: Use Parental Controls for Mobile
Google and Apple help you manage how your child uses android or iOS devices. But if you also want to control how your child uses their laptop and desktop devices, you will need parental control software.
The best software programs will cost you money, usually paid in monthly or annual installments. But they offer a lot more benefits than Google or Apple. An average parental control program provides benefits like:
- Web filtering—some software feature up to 50 web filters that can help you block adult content, violent, political news, gaming sites or religious news.
- Location tracking—you can keep in touch with how your child spends her free time through an app. You can also set a mileage limit so that the app alerts you if she travels beyond your city.
- Time Management—parental control programs are better equipped at helping you manage how your child interacts with smart devices. Not only will they put a stop to your child’s TV screen time, but they also end access to gaming sites and all apps.
- Application features—because parental controls also monitor mobile devices, they can help you control which apps your child uses.
- Social media monitoring—with kids spending significant amounts of time on social networks, parental controls can help you control how your kids use social media.
- Activity Records—parental controls keep you updated with what your kids do daily. If they try to access a blocked site, the software alerts in its daily report.
Of course, parental controls vary in features and effectiveness. Some programs are unjustifiably expensive, while others are not worth it.
Read this Qustodio review 2019 to get an overview of one of the best parental control programs in the market. It works for both PC and mobile controls. It’s loaded with helpful features, including a daily breakdown of how your child spends their smart devices daily.
#4: Restrict Purchases on Google Play
The Google Play Store also features a parental control service that doesn’t require downloading an app. It’s located under settings and helps you help Google display the right kinds of apps to your kids, depending on their ages.
You can authorize Google to display apps most suitable to three-year-olds, 12-year-olds, 16-year-olds or adults. You could also restrict the kinds of video apps your child downloads, the music they listen and games they play.
Make sure you encrypt the feature with a password, though. If you don’t, your child could turn the feature off.
If your kid owns a smartphone, you might want to restrict the type of content they access. Whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, minors are vulnerable to misusing their smart devices. Use Google’s or Apple’s free services if you’re only interested in monitoring the apps your child uses.
But if you would like to control their access to websites and social media, buy parental control software.