Parenting Education and Learning Child Psychology and Behaviour

How To Child-Proof Smartphones And Tablets

Matt Powell
3 to 7 years

Created by Matt Powell
Updated on Dec 05, 2018

How To Child Proof Smartphones And Tablets

As it becomes more common for children to own smartphones and tablets it’s up to parents to try to control what they are exposed to while using them. With technology now being a natural part of our lives, we have to take some practical steps to attempt to preserve childhood for as long as possible. That’s no easy task when the internet is concerned!

Fortunately there are some practical steps every parent can take to child-proof smartphones and tablets. The following tips will help you protect children of all ages from unsuitable content, unauthorised app purchases and more.

As the vast majority of smartphones and tablets use either Android or iOS (Apple), we will concentrate on those platforms.

How to Child-proof Android Smartphones And Tablets?

Android has a few options for child-proofing the device built in. We’ve included instructions for managing these on Android 8.0, but depending on your software version and manufacturer the options may differ slightly. If you find any of these features are unavailable you can likely find an alternative method using third-party software from the Google Play app store.

1. Screen pinning

Android recently introduced a new feature called screen pinning. This allows you to open a game or educational app and pin it to the screen. This prevents your child using any of the other function keys on their device and essentially locks them into that app. This is a simple way to control what your child does. It is limited to the app that is open at the time but is a quick and easy to way to maintain control.

2. Android Parental Controls

Android has a set of parental controls you can use to help control what your child does with their device. You can set controls for all elements of a device from apps, games, films, TV, books and music. Each is set up individually and you have controls relevant for each. For example, you can enforce content ratings for games, movies and TV, bar access to adult-oriented books and music.

  • Open Google Play Store within Android and select the menu.
  • Select Settings and Parental Controls.
  • Toggle Parental Controls On and set a PIN.
  • Select the controls for each element.
  • Go back to the Settings menu and select Require authentication for purchases.
  • Select an option and set it up.
  • Go back to Settings and select Lock screen and security.
  • Select Unknown sources and toggle it Off if it isn’t already.

This locks down the Android device to a reasonable degree. You will still need to be vigilant but it should now be much more difficult to access content you don’t want your child to access.

3. Android User Profiles

You can also create a child-specific user profile for each device that can restrict access. This can limit what can be done on the device, what apps can be installed and whether payments can be made.

  • Select Settings and then Users on the device.
  • Select Add user or profile.
  • Select Restricted Profile and create the profile.
  • Select what apps you want to be available within the app options.
  • Select Back to exit profile setup.
  • Select the new profile.

As long as you lock down any other profiles with passwords or PINs, your child should only be able to access this restricted profile.

Child-proof Apple Smartphones And Tablets

Apple also has a range of parental controls you can use to help manage your children’s use. Like Android, they can control purchases, access, internet use and more depending on how you set them up.

1. Apple Guided Access

Apple Guided Access allow you to restrict certain apps, block downloads and third party content and disable certain functions such as the camera or GPS. You can tweak these according to your needs.

To access Apple Guided Access:

  • Select Settings and General on the device.
  • Select Restrictions and work through the list to set it up.
  • Navigate back to Settings and select General and Accessibility.
  • Select Guided Access, turn it on and select a passcode.

To initiate Guided Access, open an app you want to lock down and triple tap the Home key. Circle the area you don’t want your child to access such as the settings or purchase icon and select Options. Select what options you want to keep available and then set a timer if required. Select Start to initiate those settings.

Now your child can use the app without causing any trouble!

2. Enforce Apple ID authentication

To restrict purchases and downloads, you can tell your Apple device to request an Apple ID before allowing these actions. This is well worth doing for extra security.

  • Navigate to Settings and iTunes & App Store.
  • Select Password Settings and set it for in-app purchases, downloads and anything else you want to lock down.

3. Apple Restrictions

The final tip for child-proofing Apple smartphones and tablets is to enable restricted access. Like Android’s user profiles, Restrictions controls what your child can access and do on the device.

  • Navigate to Settings and General on the device.
  • Select Restrictions and enable it.
  • Create a passcode and work through the list of settings and functions you want to restrict.

No single method of child-proofing a device is perfect. You will still need to monitor internet use, screen time and overall behaviour but these options make that job a little easier. If you would like to be able to relax a little while your child gets some screen time, the above tips should help.

Source: Broadband Genie

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