The dilemma of whether or not it is convenient to let the little ones in the house use a mobile phone is almost as old as the phones themselves. There are several positions on the matter, something totally logical, because although a smartphone can be very useful for any type of person, including children, the freedom offered by a device permanently connected to the Internet also involves risks and dangers that affect to a greater extent to those less expert users.
It is precisely there where parental controls come into play . Over the past few years, we have seen how more and more platforms, programs and applications introduce various parental control systems, through which parents, guardians or guardians of children can impose rules to minimize the dangers that can assume the use of a smartphone - or any other smart device.
But what do these systems really do? And above all, how are they used on Android? In this guide we intend to clarify some of the most important concepts about parental controls on Android, as well as see the steps to follow to configure them, and the best applications that can be used for it.
Parental controls, what they are and why you should use them
There are different types of parental controls, depending on the platform or service to which they are intended. All of them, however, share the same intention: to prevent children from accessing unwanted content , or that they can purchase products online either accidentally or intentionally.
In some cases, parental control systems also allow parents to keep track of their children’s activities when using devices or platforms - social networks such as Instagram or TikTok, apps like YouTube, etc. - of so that it is possible to restrict use at specific times - for example, during study hours - or block entry to specific web pages or applications.
Therefore, we could say that this type of parental controls are aimed at protecting the youngest from unwanted content, as well as maintaining the integrity of the device they use, and keeping constant control of their activities. That is why the use of some type of system with these characteristics is highly recommended , especially when children or adolescents have their own mobile phone.
How to set parental controls on your Android mobile
By default, Android offers several different ways to configure parental controls, either through Google’s own apps, or directly with tools built into the operating system itself. Next we will see what are the tools that Android has, and how they can be easily configured.
Google Play parental controls
The official Android app store allows parents to activate parental controls, so that children cannot download applications not recommended for their age, or purchase payment products accidentally and without their parents’ authorization. To activate it, just follow these steps:
- On the Android mobile or tablet where you want to activate parental control, open the Google Play Store app.
- Display the side menu from the button in the upper left. Enter the “Settings” menu .
- Under the “User Controls” section, access the “Parental Control” options . Activate parental control and enter a PIN.
- Choose what type of restrictions you want to set:
- Applications and games: you can choose between different options depending on the audience to which the apps are intended, from PEGI 3 to PEGI 18, or allow all content.
- Movies : You can choose from movies Suitable for all audiences to X Movies, or allow all content.
- Music : You can restrict music marked as explicit.
Once the corresponding restrictions have been activated, each time content that corresponds to one of the established limitations will be downloaded, you will need to enter the PIN that has been configured in the third step. In addition, to block purchases of paid content through the store, it is only necessary to activate the option “Request authentication to make purchases” located just below the Parental Control menu.
Create a user for your children
In the event that your children use your device, or do not have their own terminal, you can also create a user through which they can use the terminal with the applications they want, but do not have access to the rest of the data and information stored in your profile. This is possible since the arrival of Android version 5.0 , and it is certainly a very useful option when the device is lent to another user. To add a new user, just follow these steps:
- On your mobile, open the system settings .
- Find the “System” section, and click on the “Multiple users” option or similar.
- Add a new user, and choose the options you want to use.
- From the phone lock screen, access the new user you created. You can skip the startup settings in case you don’t want to associate a Google account , so it is not possible to download new apps.
The best parental control apps for Android
If the options included natively in Android to control the use of phones by your children do not seem sufficient, it is always possible to use one of the many third-party parental control applications that exist in Google Play , and that allow Carry out more thorough control.
The official parental control tool of Google is probably the best that exists today to set restrictions or track the activities that the little ones do with their mobiles.
It is a most complete platform, which among other things allows the following:
- See their activity : generates reports of the use with the telephone of the smallest of the house.
- Manage applications: at any time it is possible to approve or block the download of applications through Google Play. It is also possible to install apps remotely.
- Set limits and block devices : if you do not want your child to spend more than an hour a day browsing Instagram photos, you can limit their use at the time you decide. It will also be possible to lock the device so that it cannot be used at night, in class or whenever you want.
- See where they are at all times.
To use Family Link, you only need to download the application on both your device and your child’s device, and associate your Google account with the Family Link group . From there, it will be possible to configure the different aspects of parental control offered by the application.