Making an Android Child Friendly

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on September 9, 2015, Android

Giving your kid a phone can be a great decision. The ability to know where they are, and for them to call you if they get into trouble, is more than worth the extra monthly expense for most parents. But with most modern phones being fully internet enabled, you might be worried about what your child is getting into with that new phone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can keep your kid safe, and we’re here today to tell you how to make that new Android kid-friendly. Want a little peace of mind? Then read on.

Create a New Account

One of the simplest and best ways of making an Android kid-friendly is to make yourself the primary account holder and then create a restricted account for your child. Since a primary account controls everything that a restricted account can do, this gives you tons of control over your kid’s phone. Not all Androids will let you do this though, and you’ll definitely need Android 5.0 or above, and even then some devices don’t support the option.

If your device does then the process is pretty simple. When setting up the phone set it up under your name and email address etc. Once this is done, head into the Settings menu, choose Users, and then Add. You’ll get a bunch of options, and choose Restricted. Now you’ll be able to go down a list of options and switch on and off what you want the profile to be able to access. When you’re going down this list of options you’ll see that some have a little gear icon next to them, which means that there are further restricted options to choose from (Google Play, for example, will let you further restrict age limits on movies and downloaded apps).

When you’ve made all these decision you’ll be faced with one last choice: do you want to create a Google account for this profile or not? If you do you’ll be creating an account under your kid’s name, which you might not want to do. However, should your child download apps and change preferences without their own account you might find that Google’s recommendations for you change. Your decision…

Can’t Make a New Account?

If your device doesn’t allow you to make a new account, you still have a couple of options. One of these is to download a parental control app, and there are plenty around. DinnerTime Plus is one of our favourites, since not only does it let you set up preferences and forbidden actions, but you can also control your child’s device remotely from your own. Oh, and it’s free too! We’ll give you a list of some of our favourite apps a little later.

However, you might not need to even download an app. A lot of phones do come with pre-installed child settings, though you might need to look around a bit to find them. Most notably, iPhones have kid settings accessed through their settings menu. In general, these options will let you do things like restrict internet access or disable the possibility of downloading apps, but functions do vary by phone model. Still, it’s worth having a look around to see what you can and can’t control.

App Considerations

Even if you have done all the above, you still might want to double check apps themselves, just to be sure. A lot of apps these days do have paid content inside the app, and many of these will have an option to disable payment systems. This will prevent your child accidentally buying something with the click of an icon.

Google Play is pretty good in and of itself when it comes to child restrictions, and you should be able to go into the app and set up all kinds of things. It’s worth taking a look and selecting options such as age restrictions, and banning apps that involve any kind of payment.

Communication is Key!

As a parent, you probably already know this, but we’re going to say it anyway. All the child proof settings and restrictions in the world are no match for actually talking to your kid about the dangers of having a mobile. As long as your child is old enough to have their own phone, they’re old enough to understand why all of these restrictions are necessary. A stern lecture isn’t exactly necessary, but do make sure that your kid knows about potential dangers. This way if something should sneak past all the restrictions that you’ve set up, your child will know what to do about it.

Our Favourite Apps

As we said, there are a bunch of parental control apps around, some better than others. We do like DinnerTime Plus, since it’s so flexible and has so many options, but if that’s not the right choice for you, there are plenty of other great ones.

Kid Mode is a great Android app for younger kids, and heavily restricts what can be done on a phone. This is probably the best bet if you’re looking to not give your kid his own mobile, but rather to let smaller ones play with your personal phone.

Ranger Pro Safe Browsing is a great way to get your kid safe internet access on their mobile, and it will even let you monitor their web activity as well. This is a good solution for older kids when you want them to have internet access but not the ability to abuse it.

MM Guardian Parental Control is another app with tons of functions. Using this you can even block calling or texting if necessary, as well as setting time limits when the phone can and can’t be used. This is a pretty flexible option so is good no matter what the age of your child.

Finally, Kids Place is another app that will let you lock down your own personal phone profile so that you can safely hand your phone over to your child. Again though, this is probably the best bet for younger kids who don’t have a mobile of their own. We also have an in depth infographic / guide on protecting your children on their smartphone that you might find useful.