If you let your children use your smartphone or tablet, it’s important to keep them safe.
You’ll want to protect them from viewing inappropriate content on the internet, or contacting anyone they’re not supposed to.
There are some great parental control apps out there that go as far as keeping an eye on your child’s whereabouts. But first of all, let’s talk about protecting you from the online actions of your children.
It’s alarmingly simple for children to unwittingly make in-app purchases, and some apps allow them to run up bills of over a thousand pounds in a matter of minutes. The good news is that it’s easy for parents to stop these kinds of purchases being made…
How to restrict purchases on Android
On Android devices you can use password protection on the Google Play Store app to prevent accidental purchases. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open the ‘Google Play Store’ app.
- Touch the ‘Menu’ icon , then ‘Settings’.
- Touch ‘Require authentication for purchases’.
- Choose ‘For all purchases’ from the options.
Password protection is now set up on your Android device. The password will be your existing Google account password, so make sure your child doesn’t know it.
How to restrict purchases on iOS
To restrict in-app purchases on your Apple device, do the following:
- Go into Settings / General / Restrictions.
- Tap ‘Enable Restrictions’, and enter a PIN.
- Tap ‘In-App Purchases’ in the list of options under the ‘Restrictions’ tab.
In-app purchases have now been disabled on your device. This can’t be changed without entering your PIN, so keep it safe.
Best parental control apps for added security
Stopping unwanted purchases from being made is a great first step. Your device still isn’t completely child friendly though, so for further protection you should think about adding a good parental control app. Here are a couple of the best.
Android (free 7-day trial) /iOS (free 7-day trial)
The Mobile Guardian app comes with a wide range of parental monitoring tools for tracking your child’s mobile activity, including a web content filtering system, app blocking, a timetable system, and contact management. It even has GPS tracking so you always know where your child is.
Android (free) / iOS (free)
Qustodio’s parental control app includes a panic button so that your child can contact you in an emergency with just one click. It also has the ability to filter web content, monitor and block calls, and has a ‘child location’ feature with a 30-day location history.
More ways to keep your kids safe
The Apps and restrictions we’ve highlighted above will do a great job of keeping your kids on the right track in the mobile world, but it’s also important to speak to them about how to stay safe online. Research has shown that children display better online behaviour if their parents take the time to talk to them about internet safety.
To help you get started, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has a useful document on online safety that you can download here.
Are you a parent? What parental controls do you use on your mobile devices? Do you have any other tips to make them more kid-friendly? Feel free to share your thoughts below.