So, your kid owns an android smartphone or tablet? Well, android devices can be an important tool for learning, communication and more so fun – if used rightly. But despite the many benefits your kids get from using android devices, they also get exposed to a whole lot of safety issues that you ought to consider.
Before handing over that appealing smartphone gift to your child, you have a responsibility to ensure that the content on it is safe for both their mind and eyes! How can you do this? By setting up parental controls to limit your kid’s exposure to mature content apps on the android market! This doesn’t get easy, though. Android has no general built-in parental control features, only rudimentary controls in the Google play store. You may also consider installing apps on your Android tablet or smartphone to keep your child safe on the internet. In the next sections of this post, we are going to roam the web, examine the play store and tell you everything you need to know to keep your kids safe on the android.
1. Google Play App Filtering
Google play is now the latest version of the Android Applications Market, after replacing the Android Market in late 2012. It brought with it storefronts for books, music, magazines, movies and TV, unlike the replaced Android Market which had storefronts for apps only. The built-in content filtering is available for apps only. To enable the app content filtering, follow these steps:
- Launch the Google Play app from the home screen of your android gadget
- Press the menu button – the one with three vertical dots in the upper corner of the right hand, adjacent to the search icon.
- Select setting as the option.
- Scroll down to user controls
- Either choose the “Set or change PIN” option to set a pin so as to restrict access to the settings.
- Select the “content filtering” option.
- Select the highest maturity level you would allow, without using the PIN to override. The maturity levels are classified under:
- Low maturity
- Medium maturity
- High maturity
Google Play Store only filters apps; it won’t filter the content in books, music, magazines, TV or movies.
2. Google Play Block Purchases
If you have Google Play version 3.1 or higher, it’s possible to set a PIN to prevent unapproved or accidental purchases. Upon setting the PIN, any Google Play Store purchases including book, movie apps or any in-app purchases made from that android device will require you to enter the PIN. Nonetheless, it is important to note that free apps will not be restricted.
Here are a set of steps you should follow to restrict unapproved purchases on the Google Play client application:
- Launch the Google Play Store app
- Press Menu then touch Settings
- Select “Set or change PIN”
- Enter PIN of your choice and press OK
- Re-enter your PIN
- Check the box “use PIN for purchases”
Android also allows you to restrict the use of Google Play Store by using an app blocker which will require a pin or a pass code every time you even need to open the Google Play Store. This way, you can easily prevent unapproved downloads or purchases – anytime everywhere.
3. Android Parental Control Apps
Having the right parental control apps installed on your kid’s android smartphone app or tablet PC can go a long way towards ensuring their safety. In this section, we bring to you a run-down of the five best android parental control apps:
A. Kids Place – Parental Control [Free]
This is one of the best android parental control apps on the Google play store. Kids Place creates a custom home screen for your kid. It is built based on the principle of allowing some apps while disallowing others, hence supporting many filtering options and levels. It creates a custom “kid mode” for all the Android devices hence important for devices shared among family members. With the Kids Place android parental control app, your children can spend fun time on the platform with the blessing of your peace of mind!
Here are some of the features Kids Place offers to ensure a safe environment for kids on android:
- Capable of blocking incoming calls when it’s running
- It can restrict your kid from downloading or buying new apps
- The custom home screen displays only the apps that parents have authorized
- It can also restart apps accidentally stopped by kids thus allowing parents to stay focused on their own tasks.
- Capable of disabling wireless signals to avoid exposure to Wi-Fi, cell phone and Bluetooth radiation.
- Has a timer feature to thus you can lock it after some designated amount of time.
- Custom wallpapers to customize your kid’s experience
- Provides customization that’s suitable for kids of all ages
If your kids are all over your android phone or tablet PC, or yet still they have their own android gadget, Kids Place is the android parental control app you are looking for to make things much easier as far as ensuring their safety is an issue of concern.
B. Funamo Parental Control [Free]
Funamo is an android parental control app that aims just to give you peace of mind. When you install this android parental control app on the devices that you are sharing with your kids, you will get access to a comprehensive list of parental controls.
A useful android parental control app by all means, Funamo offers the following features:
- The patent pending wed filtering technology blocks pornography web sites.
- Allows safe web browsing, with filtering on all major browsers including Chrome, stock Android browser and Dolphin HD
- Enforces safe search on Youtube videos, Bing, Google and Yahoo
- Enables filtering of keywords/phrases –parents can specify any keywords, and any web page having any of the keywords will automatically be blocked by Funamo.
- Parents can always view and change parental control settings remotely from any browser, and easily push the settings to the device
- Funamo Parental Controls restrict applications to the time limits selected by parents
- It supports different time allowances for weekends and week days
- The protected apps are usually protected by parent’s code. Also, the Android Market and the settings are protected by default
- Parents can view the device history from any browser at any time.
- Automatic logs of contacts, calls, texts, applications, websites and location of the device are recorded.
C. Kytephone: Parental Control [Free]
Kytephone is a classic new android parental control app with a great kid’s user interface. With advanced app scheduling, this app turns android into a kid’s phone with full featured safety controls. You can easily create a new home screen from which your kids cannot exit. More importantly, you can choose who your teenage daughter or son can call or even what game they can play. This android parental control app is equipped with GPS tracking to easily help you locate your child from any phone, computer or tablet PC.
With all its great photo syncing, app control, GPS tracking, game time limits and remote monitoring features, this android parental control app is certainly a great option for every parent.
D. Care4teen Parental Control [Free]
Care4teen gives you remote control to what your children are doing on the web. With GPS monitoring, you can also track their location and control what apps or games they play!
More importantly, you can remotely see online reports of what your kids are doing at the care4teen.com website:
- Remotes reports on phone calls made
- Remote reports on texts sent and received
- Remote reports on the websites visited
- Remote reports on your kid’s location
- Remote reports on applications and games launched
Here are some of the features that you get with this amazing android parental control app.
- Individual application blocking
- Safe web browser
With an average rating around 4.7, Care4Teen is a great way to monitor your kids from wherever you are.
Nowadays, there are scores of scam bags out there that may be harmful for the psychological and emotional safety of your kid. Even some of the content you access from your android gadgets may not be right for your kid. And because you cannot always limit access to your android gadget of your kids, there is every reason why you should have a decent android parental controls app installed. Make sure that your kid is employing the android environment as a tool for learning and positive growth, whether or not, you are there when they visit the next website or play the next game!