Android is the mobile operating system from Google, and it powers smartphones and tablets. Though there isn’t a specific set of parental controls you can use, there are some things you can do to protect your child while they are using are the device.
These instructions apply to Android KitKat, which is version 4.4 – 4.4.4. This is an older version of Android, as it was released October 31, 2013.
How To Set Up Google Family Link
Google Family Link is an app that allows parents to view their child’s smartphone activity, manage the apps they can use and download, set screen time limits, lock their device, and even track their location.
Family Link does not block inappropriate content, but some apps have their own filtering options. Google apps, such as Search and Chrome, have filtering options that you can find in Family Link. For parents of teens 13 and older, Restricted Mode on YouTube is an optional setting that can be used to help filter out mature content. However, Google notes that these filters are not perfect, so explicit, graphic, or other content you may not want your child to see makes it through sometimes.
Kids and teens that use Android devices running version 7.0 or higher can use Family Link. Some devices running Android versions 5.0 and 6.0 may be able to run Family Link. Parents can use Family Link on any Android devices running versions 4.4 and higher as well as iPhones running iOS9 and higher.
Family Link also runs on Chromebook. With the Family Link app, you can choose what websites your child can access using Chrome, supervise your child’s app usage, and more. Family Link can be used with Chromebooks running Chrome OS versions 71 or higher.
Click here to learn how to set up Google Family Link.
Find Your Device’s Version of Android
To ensure that you’re following the right set of directions, you’ll first want to check the version of Android your device is running. If it’s not current, you may have the option to update. It’s best to update whenever possible to ensure you have access to all the latest features.
- From the home screen, press the Settings button.
- Scroll down and select About Phone.
- Scroll down to Android Version. The number under this heading is the version of Android running on your device (i.e. 4.0).
Set a Passcode on Your Device
Setting a passcode is important — it ensures that if the device is lost, it won’t be usable by anyone who doesn’t know the passcode. Remind your child not to share their passcode with anyone else, and make sure it’s not the same passcode you’ll be using for your parental controls.
- Go to Settings.
- Tap Lock Screen And Security.
- Tap Screen Lock Type.
- Tap Set Up a Passcode.
- Select a 4-digit PIN.
- Re-enter the PIN to confirm it.
- Go through additional security settings, if desired, for further protection.
Set Up Parental Controls for Apps
- Open the Google Play Store.
- Tap the three horizontal bars in the upper-left corner to open the Menu.
- Tap Settings.
- Under User Controls, turn on Parental Controls and follow the prompts.
- Set a parental control PIN for each Google Play account.
- Open the Google Play Store menu again.
- Tap My Apps & Games.
- Tap Installed.
- Delete any apps that are outside of the ratings you want for your child.
- Go back to Settings and then Parental Controls in order to set content restrictions for any future apps.
- Tap on each type of content and make rating decisions based on what’s appropriate for your child. Note that not all apps have age ratings, so be sure to also talk to your child about the types of content you allow.
- Go back to Settings in the Google Play Store.
- Turn on Require Authentication for Purchases to prevent in-app purchases.
Other ways to prevent app downloads
The Google Play Store isn’t the only place to browse for apps, so here’s a way to prevent your child from downloading apps from unknown sources:
- On the Home screen of the device, go to Settings.
- Tap Lock Screen and Security.
- Toggle Unknown Sources to gray, which means apps and content can be downloaded only from the Google Play Store.
Create a Restricted Profile
- Go to Settings.
- Tap Users (If you don’t see this, tap the General tab first).
- Tap Add User and tap OK to confirm.
- Tap Set Up Now.
- Follow the prompts to choose the content you want to be accessible to your child.