Even though children may be technically capable of using an Android phone or a tablet for various reasons including online learning, that doesn’t mean they need full access to everything available online. After all, there are still some things on the Web that kids shouldn’t see. Also, there’s a potential for youngsters to spend a lot of time on the device or online as long as there is data connection on the device. Because of this, parents need to know how to set up parental controls on their Android devices in order to help appropriately guide their wards and prevent abuse.
There are a handful of way to safe and monitor children’s activities online. We shall discuss a few of them quickly.
Setting Up Google Family Link
For users of Android devices, the most common ways to set up and configure the device for parents to be able to monitor and/or supervise their children is through the use of Google Family Link Account. The Google Family link is designed to help young children and teens control their digital habit, with the help and supervision of their parents. With it, parents can set digital ground rules to help guide their children as they learn, play, and explore online.
To use the Google Family Link, parents will have to download and install the app on both their device and on their children’s device.
Here are some of the things you can achieve with using the Google Family Link tool.
1. Configuring Parent’s Device
Once you’ve installed Google Family Link on both devices, it’s very easy to set up by following the below steps:
- Open the parental app and walk through the navigation screens to notify the app that this is a parent’s device. (Note: if you select “child or teen,” it will automatically redirect you to download the Family Link app for children and teenagers.
- Select the Google Account you’d like to use to monitor your child’s activity. Note: if you have both personal and business Google accounts set up on your phone, you will need to select the personal account.
- The app will ask if your child has a Google account. Select “Yes” or “No.”
- Move to your child’s device but keep the app open on the parent device, as you’ll need the setup code from your device.
2. Configuring Child’s Device
If you are turning on your child’s device for the first time, you will need to turn on the device and create a Google account before you can set up Google Family Link. The device will walk you through this process and will suggest parental controls when you specify that the Google account is for a child.
Once your child’s device is operational (or if you are installing Google Family Link on a device that your child is already using), follow these steps to set up Google Family Link:
- Open the kid version of Family Link on your child’s device.
- The app will ask you whether this device or another is the one you want to supervise. Select “This Device.”
- Select your child’s Google Account you want to supervise.
- Enter the code from your parent device when prompted. This will link your child’s account to yours.
- The device will ask you to verify that you want to set up Google Family Link to supervise your child’s account. To opt in, you’ll need to enter your child’s Google account password.
- The app will ask whether you want to join the family group. Push Join.
From here, the app will explain how the Family Link app works and ask you to again agree to the supervision. Once you click “Accept,” the device will prompt the child to get their parents so that they can finish the setup process, which involves naming the device and looking through the apps that are currently installed.
After you finish, you’ll receive a message that the devices are linked, which means you can now head back to your device to control your child’s device.
Now that both devices are set up and connected, any settings you apply within the parent’s app will automatically transfer over to the child’s device, and you’ll be able to monitor their activity on the device from your own phone.
Google Family Link Parental Controls
Once your devices are linked, it’s very easy to establish parental controls within the Google Family Link app. You can block specific apps, limit screen time, and even lock your child’s device entirely.
1. Viewing Your Child’s Online Activity
To view your child’s activity from your device, just:
- Open the Family Link app and press View on your child’s profile card.
- Scroll down to the “App Activity” section. You can see the current day’s activity from here or push “More” to see activity for other days, the week, or the entire month.
- From here, you can also view individual app activity and set individual app limits.
2. Blocking Apps
- Open Google Family Link.
- Click on the child’s profile you’d like to make edits to.
- Once the profile menu opens, scroll down to the “App Installs” section and click “View All Apps.”
- Scroll through the apps your child has installed.
- Select any apps you’d like to block, then toggle off the “Allow app” option.
3. Limiting Screen Time
- Open the Family Link app and select the child’s profile you’d like to set limits to.
- Select the card titled “Daily limit” and click “Edit limits.”
Note: if you did not set up any limits when you first installed Family Link on your child’s device, you may instead have to press “Set Up” instead of “Edit limits.”
3. From here, you can check the days you want to set limits to, then use the “+” and “-” buttons to add individual limits for each day. You can also click to set the same limits for each day or individual limits for different days of the week.