Things have changed a lot since you were a kid. Technology being one of them. Nowadays, children are online with even the youngest of tots playing on a phone or tablet. All it takes is one swipe of their finger before they’re accidentally viewing adult content — or spending hundreds of your dollars in the app store.
To keep your kids and your wallet safe, make sure you check in with this guide to parental controls. It will show you how you can protect your children without taking away their devices.
Adding another user on your phone
Depending on how old your child is, they may not need a brand new Pixel 3 XL for themselves. Toddlers and preschoolers may not even need their own phone at all, regardless of how old or new it may be. In which case, you can share your Pixel with your kids.
The trick is creating a separate account that doesn’t have access to payments or adult content. Setting up an additional account for your child is easy. Go into your Settings and tap open System. Under Advanced, you’ll see the option for Multiple users. Tap it once to add a user and follow the instructions.
If you skip the option to set up the new account, your kid won’t be able to download apps on their own.
Restrict purchases in the Google Play Store
If the whole point of giving your kid your phone is so they can play games to their heart’s content, then they’ll need access to the Google Play Store. As Kanye West found out with his first child, this can be dangerous. It can seem like a child has a special ability to find the most expensive apps to buy and download.
To keep your money where it belongs, you can restrict what this new user can do in the app store. You’ll have to set up their account using a Google account, providing your email or theirs if they’re old enough to have one.
Once logged in, you’ll be able to launch the app and tap the menu button in the top left corner next to the search bar. From there, tap Settings and toggle Require authentication for purchases. You can also toggle the Fingerprint authentication option for added security.
Protect the hardware
Another way you can protect your wallet is to make sure your kids don’t damage their tech. Because let’s be honest, kids can be clumsy as they develop coordination skills and grow into their bodies. They can all too easily drop the phone or scratch a tablet while they play — resulting in expensive bills as you have to replace your devices.
You can prevent the worst cosmetic damage from happening by using a Pixel skin. This is an accessory that wraps around your kid’s phone and protects it from sharp or rough surfaces. When you shop from a designer like dbrand, a Pixel skin also comes with a texturized surface that increases their grip, so your kid is less likely to drop it.
You can find something that will fit most devices, including Pixel skins, Nintendo Switch skins, and iPad skins. You’ll also find a unique design for each child when you stop by dbrand to see new options in colors and textures. Search through bright true colors, black camo, and carbon fiber skins to find the right one for your kids.
Restrict content in the Google Play Store
Whether they’re still using your phone or they’re old enough to have their own, you may not want them viewing all of the content available on Google Play. If you’re worried about your child accidentally playing a violent game, you can restrict what they can view in the Google Play Store.
Tap the menu button in Google Play Store, open Settings, and tap Parental controls to ‘on’. It will prompt you to create a PIN code, which you should keep from your child.
Once you have a PIN, you’ll have to set age restrictions for the following categories:
- Apps & games
Google organizes its restrictions according to age, so you can easily find the appropriate setting for each category.
Use parental control software to limit screen time
If it’s not the content they’re viewing but the length of time they spend in front of the screen that makes you worried, you should talk to your kids about setting up appropriate phone rules. Talk about how they should only use their devices when they’ve completed their chores and homework. Set up digital “blackouts” when they can’t use their devices, like before bed or during dinner.
In many cases, this conversation will be enough — especially if you follow the same rules you set for them. But in case they push back on these rules, you can set up parental control software like Google’s parental control app to limit how long they can use these devices before they get locked out.
Kids using phones and accessing the Internet is a reality of 2019. Unfortunately, you can’t always be with them every time they pick up a device, but you’ll have the next best thing when you set up these parental controls.