You Asked: Android Parental Controls
Jesse Simms • October 2, 2013
If you have young children (or really, even if you don’t) you might have noticed that they’re drawn to smartphones and tablets like moths to a flame.
Here are a few tips on locking your device down so kids can play without the risk of warping their fragile little mind… and without the risk of them accidentally emailing your boss. Or, if they have their own smartphone and you’re looking to make it kid-friendly, we can help with that too.
If you’ve got any suggestions on how to make smartphones easier and safer for little hands, we’d love to hear them! Hit the comments that follow this article.
Below, we list some of our favorite ways to protect the kidlets.
Disable paid app purchases without a password
Make sure your child can’t go on a virtual shopping spree:
- Go to the Google Play store on your phone and open the Settings menu
- Under User Controls, ensure “Password – Use password to restrict purchases” is checked
Restrict mature applications in Google Play
On the Google Play Store, apps are assigned a maturity rating. You can change what types of apps will be displayed by:
- Heading to the Google Play store on your phone and opening the Settings menu
- Under User Controls, open “Content Filtering”
- Uncheck the content filtering levels that are inappropriate for your child
Disable external app downloads
Android allows you to download apps from places outside the official Play store and then install them on your device. To turn the option to “sideload” applications off:
- Open the main Android Settings page
- Under Personal, open the Security page
- Under Device Administration, uncheck “Unknown Sources”
Depending on your child’s age and level of tech knowledge, you may want to install a parental control app from the Play store. Whether you’re looking for a secure browser, app blocker or screen lock, we’ve got you covered.
AppLock lets you password protect the applications of your choosing (Gallery, Email, Contacts, Chrome, etc.). Only unlock the apps that you deem appropriate for your child.
Toddler Lock is a nifty app that functions as both a lock screen and drawing board. Your child can doodle with various colors for as long as they desire without having to worry about them opening an app or making a phone call.
K9 Web Protection is a Firefox-based browser that restricts access from mature websites (pornography, gambling, drugs, violence, malware, phishing, etc.). It blocks the usage of other browsers, as well as Google Play and YouTube access. URL History also cannot be deleted, so you’ll know everywhere your child has surfed.
The web-based version includes some advanced features like time restrictions and custom lists, so look out for these being added to the Android app in the near future!