A quick guide on how to set parental controls on an Android phone

The world is a lot different now than it used to be. We have so much information right at our fingertips; if you have a question, you can find an instant answer. Need a recipe? Just look one up online. Not sure what the answer is to that trivia question you heard a few days ago? A quick online search on your phone will return the answer. Want to know what your child is doing on their phone, or who they are talking to? Well, that one gets a bit more complicated. 

Today, children are getting phones and phone privileges at much younger ages than they have in the past. Parents find it hard to say “no” when cell phones are a great tool to check in on their kids, allow their kids a way to contact them in case of an emergency, allow parents to use tracking apps to see exactly where their child is, and so much more. Phones are also a great tool for kids to learn how to navigate online social friendships and look up information that they may need to know. Just like adults though, kids enjoy their privacy on their phones, but as a parent, it’s our job to ensure that they are safe online. This is where things like Android parental controls come in. It can be scary allowing your child access to unlimited amounts of data and unfortunately, leave them potentially exposed to outside threats, or cyber bullying. There are ways that can help you protect your child with Android control parental settings. Let’s take a look to see how to set up cell phone parental controls on an Android phone.

How to set up parental controls on an Android phone 

The Android operating system offers Android child protection settings that allows parents to set restrictions on what can and can’t be done under a specified account; it also restricts what can be accessed, location sharing settings, and much more on the phone or tablet that your child will be using. 

The first step in protecting your child on their phone is to learn how to set up parental controls on an Android phone. Parents can determine what apps, videos, music, books, shows and other types of media that their child can download based on the maturity rating of what they are wanting to purchase. Parents can also set up a password that would require the device to ask permission before anything can be purchased under the restricted child’s account. 

There are two places that can be used to set up parental controls on an Android device. Let’s take a look at how to set up parental controls on an Android phone from the settings menu and in Google Play.

Setting up a user profile for your child

The first place to go on the child’s phone is the settings menu to set up their user profile. In order to set up a restricted profile on your child’s phone, you must first register yourself as the authorized account holder and user on your child’s phone (or tablet).

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Access the settings menu by swiping down with two fingers from the top of the navigation bar on the phone and, click on the gear button to pull up the settings menu. 
  • Once you are in the Settings menu, click on the Users button under the device menu.
  • When you click on the Users button, a new screen will pop up listing all of the registered users on the device, set yourself up as the owner of the phone account.
  • As the owner, you can now add users to the device by clicking on the “Add user or profile” option. When you click on this, a new box will pop up asking if this will be a standard user profile, or a restricted profile. By selecting the restricted profile option, you are now able to restrict what is accessible by your child when they are logged onto their phone under their profile. 
  • Once you have created a new user profile on your child’s phone, click on the gear icon to the right of the screen next to the new user profile that you just set up with  restricted access. You can click on the profile to give it a name (ie your child’s name). 
  • Now you are able to select which apps your child will have access to on their phone. Core applications like the Camera, the Calculator, Chrome are automatically turned on, but the rest of the apps are turned off by default.
  • If you do not want your child to have access to a specific app, when you switch the toggle switch off, the app will no longer appear on your child’s phone under their user profile account. 
  • You can also control which apps share the phone’s location information as well as whether or not Google search is enabled on their phone. 
  • Once you have selected all of the apps you would like your child to have access to, select the back button on the bottom of your child’s phone. 
  • From the user profile menu, select the new profile you just set up for your child. This will allow the profile to be finalized and ready for your child to use.

Android child protection and Google Play

Now that you know the first step in how to set up parental controls on an Android phone, the next step to setting up parental controls on an Android involves the Google Play store. The parental controls are automatically turned off in the Google Play store, but can easily and quickly switched back on. 

By setting up these controls, you can control what kind of media content, movies, apps, music, and more your child can download/purchase on their phone based on the maturity level restrictions and content filters that you set up. You can also require authentication from, you as the owner of the account, prior to any purchase made on your child’s phone.

Step-by-step instructions: 

  • Go to the Google Play store and press the menu button. 
  • Once you are in the main menu, scroll down until you see the “Settings” button; click on that, then click on “Parental Controls.” 
  • When the new screen opens up, click on the toggle button at the top of the screen that turns the parental controls either on or off. 
  • You will be prompted to create and enter a unique PIN that will allow you to authorize your child’s activity on the phone, including downloading any apps or other media. 
  • After you set your PIN, it will then give you a list of parental controls and filters that you can then set based on the maturity level you feel comfortable allowing your child to access. 

Now that you have this set up, the next step is to set up whether or not you would like to authorize any and all purchases made by your child through the Google play store. 

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Go to the Google Play settings menu and select the “Require Authentication for Purchases” option. 
  • Once you have made your desired selection, it will ask you how frequently you wish to be asked to authorize your child’s activity on their phone. 

With this setting enabled, if someone tries to make a purchase from the device, the Google Play store will require the account password to complete the purchase. This will enable you, the parent, to see what your child is wanting to download, what games or other media they are into, and either allow the download or not. This is a great reason to set up parental controls on an Android device.

Additional ways to protect your child on their devices

There are a lot of other great resources out there that will allow parents to establish even better Android child protection on devices. Parents should talk to their kids about online safety and the different ways that they can protect themselves from potential threats, such as turning off location sharing, not engaging in conversations online with strangers, and not divulging any personal information to anyone online. Parental monitoring apps are another great option. One such application is Jiminy. Jiminy respects your child’s privacy, while alerting you, the parent, of potential threats, cyber bullying, inappropriate content, unhealthy device habits, and more. 

Protecting your child from online cyber threats and phone overuse is key to ensuring that they have a positive and successful relationship with technology. At Jiminy, we want to help bridge the gap between parents, their children, and the phones that they use every day, all while protecting the child’s privacy. However, we still want to help parents stay involved in their children’s online safety and alert them of any potential concerns. By setting up the parental controls on Android devices, and utilizing Android child protection settings, in addition the Jiminy, your children (and you) can rest easy knowing that their phone and tablet usage got just a little bit more safe and friendly. 

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