February 13, 2016
Gone are the days when smartphones or tablets were just for adults. Children and teens now have almost unrestricted access to those devices and, with Internet access becoming easier as the days go by, this means that there is more to worry about in terms of what kids do on their mobile devices, both online and offline.
No matter the amount of times that you look over your child's shoulder, knowing exactly what they are doing with their phones is really not easy. So how do you monitor the activity of your child without physically seeing their mobile devices every now and then? The answer lies in the system that the child is using and, if it is Android, know that there are several ways to do it – let's look at them.
Use a Specific App
One of the best things about Android is the vast number of apps available to use. So, it comes as no surprise that there are apps for this specific purpose on Google Play Store.
A very popular parental control app for Android is FamilyTime (available for iOS as well) and, recently, some new features have been announced. Access Control, for example, brings a set of features that allow parents to limit their children's screen time, as well as the possibility to remotely lock their phones and tablets. All this comes in addition to the preexisting features like tracking and message and call monitoring.
Create a Restricted Profile (Only Works for Tablets)
If the tablet is running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or a later version, then you can simply create a separated profile with restricted permissions, which is very easy to manage. Just head to Settings and scroll down to the Users tab. You are then presented with the list of all users, so just click on “Add user or profile”. A popup will appear for you to choose between “User” and “Restricted profile”, so go ahead and choose the second.
After giving a name to this new restricted profile, you can choose which apps that user has access to, and for some apps you can have a more detailed control over what it can and cannot do (this applies for the apps where a small gear icon is present).
This feature was introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop back in 2014, and is very handy to have. Screen pinning allows you to pin a single app to the screen, blocking the access to anything else on the phone. While it hardly works as a permanent solution on the child's phone, it is useful for a certain amount of time and, for example, to stop your kid to snoop around when he asks for your phone.
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