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Kids love to play games, listen to music and watch videos, but if they are doing any of these activities on your phone or tablet, it’s a good idea to have some protections in place.
First of all, you don’t want them to accidentally delete any of your data, from contacts on your phone to important documents kept on your tablet.
But most importantly, you will want to protect them from viewing any sensitive content that is either private or inappropriate for their age.
Manufacturers usually build in parental controls to childproof your phone and tablet, and there are also apps you can download to restrict what your children can and can’t see and do on devices – whether yours or their own.
PASSWORDS AND PASSCODES
Adding passwords and passcodes can prevent a child gaining access to certain areas of your device – or lock them out altogether.
On an Android device, you can set these up under the Settings app by selecting Security then Screen Lock. Options include a four-number passcode or a password of up to 16 characters.
On iPhones and iPads, you’ll find this under Settings: Touch ID & Passcode. You can allow or disallow access without a passcode to things such as Siri and Return Missed Calls to your preference.
NEW USER ACCOUNT
You can set up a new user account, which can be tailored to and used specifically by your child.
On an Android, this is under Settings, User, Add User Or Profile. To prevent the new user having access to your whole device, click on Restricted Profile. This will allow you to select which apps on the device can be accessed by the new user, including settings based on age.
On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings then Passwords and Accounts. Select Add Account, iCloud then type in your Apple ID email and password.
Content can be restricted based on your country’s ratings for age-related explicit content, for example for films, music, TV shows or podcasts.
You can also set devices with only the apps you want to allow your child to use, whether games or social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Insta.
Once you’ve set up a new user account for your child on your Android device, you can turn on only the features and apps that you want them to be able to use. There are also a number of apps that you can download to your Android that will help you to set up a child-friendly device. These include Google Play apps such as Kid’s Place, which customises control features, allowing parental controls and a child lock, and AppLock, which can restrict access to any app, from Insta and WhatsApp to Contacts and Gmail.
From Settings on your iPhone or iPad, you can tap on Screen Time, which allows you to create a passcode and to turn on Content and Privacy restrictions. You can then set this for your child and they won’t be able to change it without the passcode. It will prevent them from installing or deleting apps – and you can choose the Don’t Allow setting for iTunes and App Store Purchases.
You can also temporarily hide Apps, such as Mail, by following the previous steps then tapping Allowed Apps and turning off the ones you don’t want a child to see/use.
Under Screen Time and Content and Privacy restrictions, you can also restrict the following:
Siri – prevent web searches through Siri or the display of explicit language
Web Content – either click on Limit Adult Websites or Allowed Websites only
Game Centre – prevent multiplayer games, adding friends to Game Centre and screen recording
Further guidance can be found here on how to use Parental Controls.
Finally, to avoid the cost and inconvenience of having to replace a smashed screen on your phone or tablet, make sure you protect your devices with a robust case.