Technologically speaking, we live in incredible times, because smartphones are much more than a mobile phone. You have full internet access which is also easy to send emails, and users can create videos and watch videos from websites like YouTube. You can also connect with your friends and family including your children. For children and adults alike, these devices have certain risks that you can only avoid if you have certain controls in place.
If you’re looking to buy your child’s first smartphone and are wondering which apps to choose for kids, this guide will walk you through all of the mobile parental controls you need to know.
Important things parent should put on their child’s smartphone
Before handing over the smartphone to your child, it is important to understand how they use it and the benefits it will bring to your family. The main goal is to keep in touch with you when they are not home or when you are away and want to know how they are doing.
However, smartphones have other benefits such as taking photos and videos, finding homework, following their friends on social media, playing games, or accessing their favorite programs.
Talk to your child about these things so they understand the benefits and dangers of using a smartphone. You can also consent to your child using the phone responsibly in terms of interactions and the types of content they consume.
One of the best ways to organize a conversation like this is to sign a family agreement with your child so that they know their limitations in using smartphones.
Then, follow these steps to set up your child’s smartphone with proper mobile parental controls before handing it over.
Create a family account
Family accounts help each family member access each other’s app purchases without having to pay for them again. Primarily available on iPhones, this feature gives family members access to iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases, as well as free content downloads.
It’s also a great way to save money and make sure all family members have similar apps and content. However, you can hide adult purchases so that your child cannot access them.
For example, if you want to listen to music, you can get a family subscription to Apple Music and stream millions of songs from the iTunes Store. You can also save them on your iPhone for offline listening. Plus, your kids have tons of music to choose from, as you can share it with up to six people.
Configure the phone and set a password
Whether you’ve chosen an Android smartphone or an iPhone, you’ll need to set it up before you give it to your child. For Android phones, set up a Google account where only you (the parents) know the password and enable two-factor authentication by linking it to your own smartphone, not your child’s.
A parent can create a Google account for their children using the Family link. However, this is only available to users based in the USA and this is because a Google account will help you when you need to sync contacts, photos, and other data or when you want to use the Google Play Store.
You don’t need to activate the Gmail account on the smartphone if your child is not using email. So, go to Settings> Google Account Settings and uncheck the Sync Gmail box.
If you want to create a Google Account for the family, you must have an Android device too. This account comes in handy when family members want to split paid purchases across multiple devices or when you’ve allowed your child to use your payment information to pay for their purchases from their own phone.
To create a Google family account, go to Google Play, and open the Settings> Account menu.
Tap Family, then tap Manage Family Members if you’ve already set it up. Otherwise, register to create the family account.
You can invite your family members by entering their Gmail addresses. Once they accept from their own phone, you can go to your child’s profile and select Paid Content Only, All Content, In-App Purchases Only, or No Approval Required.
Anything that requires approval before installation or purchase will require you to enter your password on your own device or your child’s phone.
With iPhones, you start by creating an Apple ID for your child instead of letting them use yours. Also, when your child is older, they can use it and operate the phone without your help in the future. This is required during setup to enable downloads from the App Store or iTunes Store. It is also used for Find My iPhone, FaceTime, iMessage, and other functions.
Then use the kid’s Apple ID to set up their iPhone. If you set it up on a shared family computer, you will need to sync the data specific to your child so that the phone only contains information that is only intended for your child, not for others.
By setting a password, your child’s smartphone is protected from prying eyes. If it’s lost or stolen, strangers won’t have access to your family information.
Use a password or lock pattern that you and your child can remember, or use FaceID (child’s face) or Touch ID (fingers of your child and your child) is available for added security.
Make sure to explain to your child why they shouldn’t share the pattern, PIN, or passcode with anyone.
Add location and tracking
The phone is no problem for you. If the mobile phone is an iPhone, set up Find My iPhone, which uses the built-in GPS to track and find the phone. It can also lock the device over the internet or erase all data so that thieves cannot access it.
For Android smartphones, you can choose from several apps in the Google Play Store, e.g. B. the free function “Find my device from Google”, or simply activate the location in the phone settings.
You can also install a child tracker app to monitor your child’s position when they are not at home
Install kid-friendly apps
As we all know, Children are a lover of games and they also love to watch videos such as cartoons and movies on their smartphones. With that in mind, you can find apps for fun and safety that you can install on your kid’s phone.
Both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store have fantastic games and programs, as well as educational apps, that your child can enjoy learning new things. There are also homework apps, free text messaging apps, and more for kids of all ages.
Some of these apps are available for free, while others have a purchase fee and a service fee. Usually, however, your child’s smartphone has some games already installed and you can access popular social networks such as Facebook. and Twitter.
If you want to filter what kind of apps your child can download, you can use Google Play’s Parental Controls (Settings> Parental Controls). For an iPhone, go to Settings> Screen Time> Content and Privacy Restrictions.
The challenges of buying a smartphone for your child
Smartphones are fun and portable, but they also come with various risks. Alone, children can spend hours surfing the Internet, watching YouTube videos, and playing games, among other things. In addition to the potential exposure to adult content and other inappropriate websites, children are more likely to damage or even lose the smartphone.
Because of this, you need to take steps to monitor your child’s internet access, decide which calls and texts to send, and limit the time spent on social media apps.
Follow the instructions to find out which mobile parental controls can reduce these risks, protect your child, and have peace of mind while your child is using the smartphone.
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