Family Safety Features in Android: A Guide for Parents

For all parents, the safety and security of their children is top priority. And that doesn’t stop with digital devices where protecting our children is a more complex and sometimes, enigmatic, journey. We want to give our kids digital freedoms, but we also need to understand what activities and interactions are occuring on the device. Also, how long are they spending sifting through digital platforms?

Android has numerous family and child safety features that help parents ensure safety protocols while also monitoring time spent on the device.

We’ll show you how you can set up a kid-friendly environment on Android’s platform that helps you extend your parenting duties well into the digital space.

Android’s Built-In Child Safety Features

Built-in child safety features are a core component of Android’s OS. These features empower parents and guardians to help construct a family-friendly environment that aligns with their standards. Android offers a number of child safety tools. From restricting app permissions to limiting data usage, there’s no shortage of safety implementations for parents to peruse and activate (if they so choose).

Moreover, for the kid that loses everything, there’s a “find my device” that helps you recover the device in cases where it might be lost forever. And we know what that means for your pocket book.

Google’s Family Link – Where it Begins

Family Link is Google’s free appl that helps parents create a safe digital experience environment for their families. Once activated, parents can review a child’s digital activity on all their Android devices, plus, manage app permissions and more. You can also lock your child’s device in situations where you don’t want them using it. Lastly, you can locate the whereabouts of the device, which is essential when we’re talking about kids that misplace everything (at least ours do).

Google’s Family Link is where your digital child safety journey begins on Android. Follow the instructions below:

Steps to Setting Up Family Link

  1. Download the Family Link app: Begin by installing the Family Link for Parents app on your device from the Google Play Store.
  2. Create a Google Account for your child: Open Family Link and follow the prompts to create a new Google Account for your child. If they already have an account, you can link it instead.
  3. Install Family Link on your child’s device: Download and install the Family Link for Children & Teens app on your child’s device. During installation, you’ll need to sign in with your child’s Google Account and follow the prompts to finish setup.
  4. Set digital ground rules: Once both devices are set up, you can start managing your child’s digital activity. You can approve or block apps your child wants to download from the Play Store, set device bedtime, establish daily screen time limits, and more.

Family Link provides a comprehensive control environment for parents. View app activity reports which detail time spent per app. Don’t like the app? Block it right from Family Link.

You can set up screen time limits that restrict how long your child uses the Android device. Your child will receive a notification when they are close to their use limits.

YouTube Kids Filters

I don’t know about you, but our kids are obsessed with YouTube kids. While YouTube Kids offers a lot of worthy content, we don’t want our kids rotting away watching flicks even if those flicks are age-appropriate.

The good news is that YouTube Kids offers sophisticated parental controls that help you manage the ongoings of the app. And its easy to set up with a few steps.

How to Setup and Use Content Filters on YouTube Kids

  1. Download and install the app: Begin by downloading and installing the YouTube Kids app from the Google Play Store.
  2. Create a profile for your child: Open the app and sign in with your Google account. Follow the prompts to create a profile for your child, entering their age and a profile name.
  3. Choose a content level: YouTube Kids offers three content levels: Preschool, Younger, and Older. The ‘Preschool’ level is suitable for ages 4 and under, ‘Younger’ for ages 5-7, and ‘Older’ for kids aged 8-12. Select the level that’s appropriate for your child.
  4. Turn search off (optional): The app allows kids to search for more videos. If you’d prefer to limit your child to only the home screen videos, you can turn off the search option.
  5. Set a custom passcode: YouTube Kids automatically generates a passcode for parental access, but it’s recommended to set a custom passcode that’s easy for you to remember but hard for your child to guess.

Now, you’re ready to set up the app to allow your kid to view content you deem appropriate for them. Moreover, the system helps you find inappropriate content. We should state, these filters aren’t perfect. Its always best to visually monitor what your kid is doing on the app.

Play Store Parental Controls

What good is restricting the current set of Android apps on your child’s device if they can simply download new ones?

Google Play Store offers 1,000’s of apps, games, movies, and books. And some contain mature content, or content you’d deem unaligned with your values or goals. But like other apps, Google Play Store offers parental controls. And their easy to set up and use.

Steps to Setting Up Parental Controls

  1. Open the Play Store: On your child’s Android device, open the Google Play Store app.
  2. Access the settings: Tap the menu icon (three horizontal lines) at the top left corner of the screen, then tap “Settings”.
  3. Enter Parental Controls: In the “User controls” section, tap “Parental Controls”.
  4. Turn on Parental Controls: Toggle the switch to turn on Parental Controls. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN. Make sure to choose a PIN your child won’t guess.
  5. Set content restrictions: After setting your PIN, you’ll see different content types listed. Tap on each one to set the restriction level. For Apps & Games, you can restrict by age group (such as “Rated for 3+” or “Rated for 7+”). For Films, you can restrict by MPAA rating, and for TV, you can restrict by TV Parental Guidelines (TV-PG, TV-14, etc.).

Setting up a family friendly, child safe Android experience requires a few steps, but in the end, it gives you piece of mind. Its always best to rely on your instincts and check your kid’s device physically as well. But Android’s sophisticated parental controls help us find a better digital place for us and our kids.

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