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In this guide, you will learn how to enable parental control on Android to help shield your kids from accessing certain applications and misusing their phones.
As a parent, you might have gifted your child an Android phone for any reason, but before you hand over that device, do you know you can manage what your child can do on their phone? You can restrict the amount of screen time they have each day.
You might think it’s far from easy to achieve, but it is not an impossible task. Most times, enabling parental control is not enough because even if you successfully manage to limit one device, they’ll probably find another.
After you activate parental control on your child’s device, you should also sit down with them and talk about the dangers of unrestricted use and explain why you have controlled how much they use their device. Here’s how to enable parental control on Android and control screen time and other settings.
How to Enable Parental Control on Android
There are different third-party apps that claim to help manage your child’s phone, but we’ll focus mainly on the Google Family Link app. The Google Family Link app is also available on iPads and iPhones, but for devices like Windows laptops and Macs, you may want to investigate parental control software that suits your needs.
How does Family Link work?
The Family Link app is a Google-owned app that helps parents stay in the loop as their child or teen explores on their Android device. The app, which has been heavily advertised on TV, lets parents set certain digital ground rules for their family.
Features of the Google Family Link App
- It allows parents to set an overall screen time limit according to their choice.
- It allows parents to set a bedtime limit, which means the device cannot be used during that time.
- Parents can decide to block, always allow, or set a time limit for any given app regardless of whether the daily screen time has been used up.
- It allows you to see your child’s current location on a map (requires mobile data).
- Parents can approve or deny requests to install specific apps from Google Play.
All these features are free compared to some other paid-for parental control apps that fail to do all of the above. This makes parental link the best option.
Now, to set up and use the app, you will need both your phone and your child’s phone. Here are the steps to setup the app.
- First, go to the app store on your phone (Android or iPhone) and search for Google Family Link.
- Next, follow the instructions to sign into your Google account.
- Now, you will need to follow the steps to set up a Google Family and make yourself the manager (or one of the managers), but if you’re already a Family Manager, you can proceed to the next step.
- Choose an existing Google account you want to manage or create a new child account.
- Now, go ahead and install the Google Family Link app on the child’s phone.
- You will need to follow the prompts on the parent’s phone to link the child’s device (both devices need to be within Bluetooth range).
- Finally, choose from the list of apps already installed on the child’s device whether to allow or block them and also manage other settings.
After this setup, you can then use the Family Link app on the parent’s phone to do things like:
- Manage settings such as purchase and download approvals.
- Choose age restrictions for apps and games, films, TV, and books.
- Configure and make changes to the Daily and Bedtime Limits.
- Use App Controls to set a specific time limit for each app.
- See the current location of the phone.
- Keep track of daily and overall screen time usage.
- Lock the child’s phone to temporarily prevent them from using it.
- ‘Ring’ the child’s phone to locate it when it has been misplaced.
It is important to note that Family Link does not block offensive content, and it is still up to you to allow streaming apps like YouTube. YouTube shouldn’t be much of an issue because you can set restrictions that hide potentially mature videos from your kids.
You can set restrictions on the YouTube app by heading to Settings > General and then toggling Restriction Mode on to enable restrictions.
If you’re not planning on using Family Link, you can set similar restrictions on the Play Store.
How to Enable Parental Control on the Google Play Store
Enabling parental control on Android is not limited to the Family Link app alone. You can also restrict content on the Play Store app and control the content your child is exposed to on the platform.
- First, launch the app on their device and tap the profile picture on the right-hand side of the search bar.
- Next, scroll down and tap Settings, then tap Family.
- Now, tap Parental Controls and enable the toggle. You will need to enter a PIN that makes it impossible for your child to edit the settings.
- Next, you can now go into different sections like Confirm the PIN, and then you’ll be able to go into each section like Apps & Games, Films, TV, and Books to set the restrictions you want in place.
- Tap on one and you’ll see the various age categories available. Simply tap the highest age you want the child to have access to and then tap Save.
That’s all. The contents will now be displayed according to the age you have chosen.