Setting Parental Controls in Android and iOS

Though our kids shouldn’t ideally be glued to smartphones and tablets 24 hours a day, these devices can make parenting easier at times by keeping the kids occupied. There’s a lot of content floating around on the internet that we wouldn’t want them to see, but how can you be sure that your children won’t be exposed to dangerous or adult content when you’re not over their shoulder, monitoring their taps and swipes? The best way to get peace of mind is to use the range of parental controls available to iOS and Android devices users.

Parental controls on Android devices

There are several ways to limit adult content on your Android phone or tablet, depending on what applications the kids are using.

Creating a kid-safe profile

The Android operating system allows different user profiles to be created, so that you can have one set of rules for yourself and another for the little ones.

  1. Tap on the Settings option from your home screen or app drawer and then scroll down and tap on ‘Users’. The Settings icon is a small gear or cog.
  2. Tap on ‘Restricted Profile’ to set up a new profile with limitations.
  3. Set a password for the profile if you’d like to, and then give it a name
  4. Finally, toggle the applications ‘On’ or ‘Off’, depending on what you want them to have access to whilst using that account.

Adding controls to the Play Store

The Google Play Store is where you get all your apps on Android. Maybe your children are old enough to pick and choose new games for themselves, but you worry about them downloading something unsafe for their age range. In this case, you can set restrictions on the store itself.

  1. Launch the Google Play Store application and tap on the shopping bag icon. Tap on ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.
  2. Tap on ‘Parental Controls’ and enable them using the toggle switch. You will then be asked to set a PIN number.
  3. Once a PIN has been set, you’ll be able to select age ranges, such as 3-7, 7-12 and so on. These age ranges will determine what apps are shown, with nothing beyond the upper limit chosen being available to download.

Using a third-party application

There are some third-party applications on the Google Play Store that allow you to create safe-browsing modes, in which only apps you specify can be accessed. A password is then normally needed to exit these protected modes. There are too many to recommend just one, and their user interface can vary, but it’s worth doing some research or speaking to Wise Guys about these before deciding on which one to use.

Parental controls on iPhone, iPod and iPad

Apple generally has fewer options than Android when it comes to device customisation and restrictions. However, it is still possible to impose some limitations on your kids whilst they’re using your iOS devices.

iOS Restrictions

Apple devices have a section that allows you to set restrictions for the device, which provide a range of options for limiting available content and applications.

  1. Go into Settings > General > Restrictions.
  2. Scroll to the ‘Restrictions’ option and enable it.
  3. Create a new password for this section, which will be required to alter or turn off the function.

Once you’ve set up restrictions on the device, you can use sliders beside each of the apps that you have installed to prevent the kids from accessing them. For example, if you don’t want them accessing any websites, then you can disable the web browser, limiting them just to videos on YouTube. You could do the same for messaging apps like WhatsApp or iMessage.

Restrictions also allow you to prevent certain actions. Got a bunch of important photos saved on your device that you’re worried about losing? Not only can you turn off the ability to access the photo album, but you can even prevent the deletion of applications, or the installation of new ones.

Locking down purchases

One of the ways that companies like to rake in revenue on their free mobile games is by adding micro-transactions, which allow you to buy virtual items to use in your games for real-world cash. Many of you have likely seen the horror stories of kids spending hundreds of pounds on their parents’ credit cards, too. It’s essential that you set a password for purchases if you’re going to let your kids play games that have micro-transactions, which is most games these days.

Restricting purchases on Android

Password-protecting your purchases on Google Play is simple and involves turning on 'authentication'. This is done on a per-account basis, so if you do set up one of those restricted profiles, be sure to apply these settings to the right user account.

  1. Launch the Google Play Store and tap ‘Settings’ under the menu icon.
  2. Tap on ‘Require authentication for purchases’.
  3. Choose a setting and follow the prompts, from the below options:
  4. require a password for all purchases;
  5. require a password if 30 minutes have elapsed since one was input;
  6. never require a password;
  7. only require a password for apps rated 12+.

Restricting purchases on iOS

The process is simple on iOS. Just head back into that Restrictions menu we mentioned earlier and toggle ‘In-App Purchases’ from green to white; this will stop the kids from purchasing anything whilst playing their games. You can choose to enable purchases and hide them behind your usual passcode, but bear in mind that there’s a 15-minute window after authorising a payment in which unlimited additional purchases can be made. This window can be turned off in Restrictions, too.

Get in Contact

WiesGuys support and repair android and iPhones, so if you would like any help or advice, or are struggling with something else, then get in contact on 0808 123 2820