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You got your kids some gadgets for Christmas..now what?


The gifts have been opened, the boxes have been set out with the recycling, and your tree may or may not be down lol...around this time of year there are alot of gadgets given as gifts. Lots of tablets, laptops and of course smartphones! But if you've got kids then of course there's concern of what they're being exposed to and what they can access with a device, so I've gathered ways you can safeguard and enable ALL the parental things on your kids devices.

Enabling parental controls on an iPhone or iPad

iPhones and iPads are at the top of alot of kids wish lists, but giving your kids access or rather exposing them to the internet, world of social media as a parent can be terrifying, believe me I know. But did you know you can enable parental controls on them? You can restrict App Store purchases, web content, explicit content, and manage the time allowed on certain apps even the device itself.

Enabling parental controls on iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.

  2. Tap Continue, then choose "This is My iPad or iPhone" or "This is My Child's iPad or iPhone."

  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode, then turn on Content & Privacy

To control/restrict App Store purchases:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time. 

  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If prompted, enter your passcode (you created this during the Privacy and restrictions setup)

  3. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.

  4. Pick a setting and select "Don't Allow" (it's set to allow by default)

Want to restrict some built-in apps like wallet?

To change your Allowed Apps:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.

  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

  3. Enter your Screen Time passcode.

  4. Tap Allowed Apps.

  5. Select the apps that you want to allow.

Now of course we know once kids get a hold of a phone or tablet they're always on it, you can manage that too by turning on screentime:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.

  2. Tap Turn On Screen Time.

  3. Tap Continue.

  4. Select This is My iPhone or iPad or This is My Child's iPad or iPhone.

You can configure this on the device directly or setup Family Sharing so that you can manage it from your iPhone or iPad. For a little more insight into iOS parental controls check here on Apple's Knowledge Base.

Can you restrict or enable parental controls on a Android device? Yes, yes you can.

My son currently has an Android, (iPhones are expensive so his first one out the gate wasn't gonna be that...budget lol), so I definitely had to figure this out ASAP because kids do wild stuff on this here internet, and adults do too. Android as we know is apart of the Google Family, so you can manage all the things just by having a Gmail account. More specifically using this Gmail account and Family Link. Your child of course will need to have a Gmail account and their device must be running Android 5.1 or higher.

For me my main concern was being able to use the location feature in Family Link. He catches the bus to and from school on his own now, and stays after school sometimes. You can set screen limits, app time limits, manage Google Play Stores downloads/purchases, and lock or unlock their device. Now because everything is linked to the child's email these controls also carry over to their Chromebook, if they have one or use one.

To set Screen limits:

  1. Open the Family Link app .

  2. Select your child.

  3. On the "Daily limit" card, tap Set up or Edit limits.

  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to set daily limits.

Don't want to limit the screen time completely but certain apps?

  1. Open the Family Link app

  2. Select your child. 

  3. On the "Today's activity" card, tap "Set limits"

  4. Next to the app you want to select, hit the hourglass symbol

  5. Set the daily time limit, then hit "set"

Parental control settings in Google Play store:

Now this one is rather simple, you simply set the content rating you want to allow for purchases or downloads. But you can set it to have you approve purchases as well. This will send a request to you to approve a download from Google Play if you have this feature enabled.

  1. On your computer, visit the Google Play My Account page.

  2. Click Family Group.

  3. Click a family member's name.

  4. Select All content, All paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

Inside the Family Link app though I can view my son's location, app usage time, I can even make his phone play a sound if he can't find it or isn't picking up because it's on vibrate or silent.

Want to keep an eye on your kids with devices but still give them some privacy?

Now of course a HUGE concern for us is social media and the potential for cyberbullying, child predators, etc. And while we do random phone checks and things, we got a surprise we didn't like before so we're trying to avoid that and teach some lessons at the same time. So I installed Bark on my son's phone.

Bark-monitoring-for-parental-controls

Photo: Bark Website

Bark allows me to monitor his social media accounts, as well as texts and email. Now this isn't an app that's sending me all his messages and posts, it's sending me things that get flagged as dangerous, sexually explicit, violent, or suicidal. So it'll send me an email and the content shows up on the dashboard for me to review. This means I don't have to go and ask for the phone all the time, and can just start a conversation...and believe me I have. Like hey dude, you don't see anything wrong with this post or what you said? He'll ask why or give me that perplexed teenager look like "what do you mean?". But either way we can talk about it, instead of me being caught off guard. Now this isn't free, it's $9/month but they give you a week trial to test it out.

* I'm a Bark partner and the link that is included is an affiliate link, but the views are my own and I love the visibility I get with using Bark *

Now we know not all the tech gifts are phones or tablets..maybe you got the kids a console...like a Nintendo Switch

So alot of kids, young and old (I'm actually eyeing one for the house lol) got Nintendo Switches' for Christmas. For some parents it's your first rodeo into the land of video games and for others you just want to keep an eye on the little ones. Well the Nintendo Switch comes with parental controls you can set.

You can set game time limits because well kids will sit there for hours if you let them. You can set what games they can download as well, or choose to just get notifications of what's been downloaded. You can manage the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls from a free app that is available for iOS and Android.

So did you buy your kids any gadgets or devices for Christmas? Do you monitor your kids devices?

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