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Parents Guide to Android

Parents Guide to Android

Parents Guide to Android

It’s no secret – I love Android devices. I love the flexibility Android devices offer users. But, that flexibility sometimes presents parents with challenges when it comes to setting up parental controls for Android devices. Don’t let the length of this Parents Guide to Android Devices overwhelm you. While this article might seem long, it’s chocked full of images to walk you step by step through setting up parental controls on the Android device your child will be using.

Last year I wrote a Parents Guide to Android which explained two parental control options for Android devices. The option you selected was determined by the operating system you were running on your Android device. But those days are over! Android now makes it easy for parents to set up parental controls on any Android device. And, if you have a child under 13, you can sign up for Google Family Link.

Why use Family Link?

The age requirement for a Gmail account in the past was 13+. Using Family Link, parents can establish a Google account for their children under 13 so their child’s account can be added to the Family Account. Parents can then monitor their child’s account.

Does this mean parents can’t monitor accounts for kids over 13 years?

Not necessarily. But Google gives kids the option to manage their account at the age of 13. So, it’s important you establish family guidelines early on with your kids regarding devices. And continue having discussions with your kids as they get older.

We will cover both options in this Parents Guide to Android!

Are you running an older version of Android on the device your child is using? Don’t worry! Here are instructions for setting up parental controls for Android devices running Lollipop or Marshmallow.

Why do I push setting up parental controls for Android devices?

It’s simple. Our kids are incredibly tech-savvy. It’s tempting to put off setting up parental controls on your device when your kids are very young. However, a toddler can manage to use your Android smartphone or tablet in ways you didn’t know were possible.

Setting up parental controls on your Android might seem like a pain. But 15-20 minutes for a one-time set up really isn’t much time when you consider the risk of accidental purchases or, worse yet, exposure to adult content your child faces when set in front of a device with no parental controls in place.

And, I’m convinced once you see how intuitive and easy it is to monitor the content and activity for your child, you’ll be asking why you weren’t taking advantage of these parental control options for Android devices sooner.

So let’s get started!

Parents Guide to Steam

Parents Guide to Android

Parental Control Options for Kids Over 13

Add New User Account for Your Child

Android devices running the operating system 4.2 or higher (Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, Oreo) can have extra user accounts. If you purchased a device specifically for your child, be sure to set up your parent account on that device first. Then add your child’s account. This is incredibly important.

To Add Your Child as a User, First Set Up a 2nd User on the Device

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen, then tap the Gear icon. This takes you to your Settings menu.


2. Scroll down the Settings menu and tap on Users & accounts.
3. Add an account.
4. Read the new user information and click OK to continue.
5. Confirm that you want to add a new user by tapping Set up now.

Now you’re ready to set up your child as the new user.

To Set Your Child as the New User

1. Unlock the phone by swiping across the screen.
2. Read the information about second user accounts, then tap Continue.
3. If the new user has a Google account, now’s the time to sign in. If they don’t have a Google account, select Create Account.
4. Enter the password for an existing Google account or verify your email if you are creating a new Google account and tap I Agree.
5. If you are creating a new account, finish the process by creating your password.

 

Allow or Opt Out of Google Assistant

The Google Assistant can answer questions, search the internet and perform simple tasks like setting an alarm, or sending a message. Decide if this is a feature you want available for your child. If you want to opt out, simply hit skip when the first screen comes up.

If you want to make Google Assistant available for your child, simply hit next and proceed through the screens. Be sure to read through the list of Google Services and untick any you don’t want. Press “I Agree” as the final step.

Set Up Ratings and Preferences in the Google App Store

Here is where you really refine the settings for your child. You can select the ratings for movies, books, and music that are appropriate for your child. You can also prevent them from downloading paid-for apps and buying in-app purchases. And, double-check to make sure safe-search is selected to help filter out inappropriate content when they browse and search websites.

To Set Ratings on Content for Your Child

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap User, then tap the child’s account.
2. Open the Play Store.


3. Tap Menu > Settings.
4. Tap Parental controls.
5. Tap the switch to turn parental controls on.
6. Type a PIN then tap OK; type it again and tap Continue. The pin number will be required to change the settings. So be sure that you remember it, but do not give the pin number to your child.

7. Tap a content type to set an age rating for it or restrict what can be seen.

Note: There are no specific age ratings for books and music. Instead the restrictions are remove sexually explicit content.

To Prevent Your Child from Making Purchases

If you want to make sure your child can’t purchase “in-app” or “paid-for” apps, music, or movies in the Google Play Store, you’ll want to restrict purchases.
1. Open the Play Store app.
2. Tap the Menu icon (three lines in the search box) then tap Settings.
3. Tap Require authentication for purchases.
4. Tap For all purchases… to type your Google password every time you want to buy something.

 

Parental Control Options for Kids Under 13

Add New User Account for Your Child

Just like setting up an account for your kids over 13, you’re going to set up a new user account on the device for your under 13-year-old child. Again, you’ll want to set up your parent account on that device first. Then add your child’s account. This is incredibly important.

The difference is the account for your child under 13 will now be eligible for Google Family Link. Take that option. Using Family Link gives you access to more parental control options. And, your child won’t have access to apps like WhatsApp and Uber which are available to kids over 13 in the Google Play store because they are rated for “Everyone.”

To Add Your Child as a User, First Set Up a 2nd User on the Device

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen, then tap the Gear icon. This takes you to your Settings menu.

2. Read the information about second user accounts, then tap Continue.
3. If the new user has a Google account, now’s the time to sign in. If they don’t have a Google account, press More options to make one.
4. Enter the password for the new Google account and tap Next.
5. Press I agree to finish adding a Google account for the new user.

To Set Your Child as the New User

1. Unlock the phone by swiping across the screen.
2. Read the information about second user accounts, then tap Continue.
3. If the new user has a Google account, now’s the time to sign in. If they don’t have a Google account, press More options to make one. Notice you have the option to make one for your child. Select that option.
4. You’ll see the Create a Google Account for your child screen. Select Yes, Continue.


5. Enter your child’s name and hit Next
6. Enter your child’s DOB and gender. You can select “I’d rather not say” for gender. Then hit Next.
7. Choose a Gmail address (username) for your child. Then hit Next.
8. Enter the password for the new Google account and tap Next.


Linking your Child’s Account to Yours

1. Next you’ll link your child’s account to yours by signing into your Google account.
2. You’ve now made it to the Family Link screen. Here you see what you can manage using Family Link. Click Next.
3. You are now set to be the Family Manager. Click I Agree.
4. The final step is to verify parental consent. Google does this by processing a small ($0.01) charge to the card you have attached to your Google account. Click Next.


5. Be sure to read the Family Link Disclosure for Parents.

Set Up Ratings and Preferences in the Google App Store

Here is where you customize the settings for your child. Using Family Link, you can select the ratings for movies, books, and music that are appropriate for your child. You can also prevent them from downloading paid-for apps and buying in-app purchases. And, double-check to make sure safe-search is selected to help filter out inappropriate content when they browse and search websites.

You can also monitor how much time they spend on their device and check on their location when they have their device with them.

1. Review the settings for Google Play. The settings for Google Play give you the ability to customize the settings for apps, books, music, movies, and TV.
2. Review the settings for Google Chrome. Here you can block mature sites. Or, hand select sites for your child.
3. Review the settings for Google Search. Safe Search might not catch everything, but it will catch sexually explicit and violent search results.
4. Once all your settings are set and Family Link is on your child’s device, you are ready to go.


5. Your child will have their own kid-friendly screen for Family Link. They can edit their photo and can easily see the content and time they have available.

Note: Parents can use Family Link with kids under 13 years of age. Once a child turns 13 years old, they receive an email from Google asking them if they want their parent to continue managing their account or if they want to manage it themselves.

Switching Between Users on Your Android Device

Regardless of whether you are using Family link or just have a 2nd user set up on the Android device your child will be using, you’ll need to know how to switch back and forth between users on the device.

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.
2. You’ll see the Notification Panel. Find and tap the User icon of a white figure on a colored circle.
3. Tap a user account to switch to it.

Be sure you guide your kids as they grow and develop. Have open discussions about their screentime and the content they view.

I hope this Parents Guide to Android  had encouraged you to use parental controls for Android devices to protect young kids from content that’s harmful. And, teach your kids how to be safe, kind, and wise online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parents Guide to Android

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