TOP-6 best tools to lock down a kid's device
- 2019-09-26 13:25
Thanks to the Internet, we got free access to any information of our interest. However, this is not always good, especially when it comes to children. Their curiosity for everything new and untapped ability for critical thinking can do great damage to their psyche. Therefore, it is obvious that you, as a caring parent, want to block them from harmful content. There are several ways of how to do it. The first approach is the easiest: a lot of modern devices have already had the in-built tool for managing the access of children to the phone. Another way is to use external applications to get more features and blocking options. We will consider both approaches in this blog post. Stay tuned!
Android Screen Pin
Android Screen Pin is the feature that is included in the modern Android devices. It allows you to lock only certain apps while others remain unlocked. It is very useful when you give a tablet or mobile phone to the toddler to play the games. With Android Screen Pin, you can set a password to Google Play, messages, and phone calls. As a result, a kid can’t accidentally make a call, write a strange message to your colleague, or make the in-app purchases for games. Another useful feature is to lock the apps or the whole device when the children need to do housework or other family tasks.
Where to find:
- Go to the Settings menu;
- Find the tab Security or Security & location -> Security, and tap on it;
- Press Screen lock. If you have already set up a password to lock the screen, the device asks you to enter it;
- Then, follow the instructions, and do not forget to save the changes.
Although Android Screen Pin is a free in-built tool on Android devices, it is not so much flexible compared to other tools described below. For example, it doesn’t filter the content and must be set up on the child’s device. Also, there is no remote control.
Platform: Android, iOS
FamilyTime provides you with additional features and extended options compared to the Android Screen Pin tool. As there is a third-party app, you need to install FamilyTime on the device before using it. It is completely free, and you can download the application on both iOS and Android platforms on Apple Store or Google Play, respectively.
The app allows you to control the child’s device remotely and securely. Besides this, there are other important features:
- Limit screen time: you can set up a certain amount of time when your children can use the device. When the limit is over, the phone or tablet blocks automatically, so the kids can access it anymore;
- Scheduling of the screen time: parents can decide the time their children can access the device and block during, for example, the family time;
- Internet filters: users can block the websites of a certain category;
- SafeSearch: turning on this feature, you can provide safe browsing for your children;
- Application blocker: parents can block different kinds of apps on the device, including social media and games;
- The tracker of children’s location: it allows you to see the places your children visit. FamilyTime notifies you every time the kid leaves the safe area;
- Usage monitoring: you can always see what applications your child uses. It also shows you the time of usage;
- Emergency Alerts: the kid can press the SOS alert, and you will be notified about this immediately;
- Reports: get the full statistics of what the child uses or what kind of information they browse on the Internet;
- PickMeUp: the option to share a current location;
- SafeDrive: if you have a teenager with car and driving license, you can set up the speed limits, and the app automatically notifies you if these limits are exceeded.
Note that with FamilyTime you can add as many children’s devices as you want.
Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Chrome
WebWatcher is a monitoring app for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and Chrome. The app was developed by Awareness Technologies. Initially, it was used in a counter-terrorism activity for Windows PC, but today its benefits are leveraging by parents from different parts of the world. WebWatcher helps you to become a responsible parent in the digital world. It tracks and records all the children’s activity, starting with text messages and call history and ending with location notifications and photos. Even if your children use different devices, you still can connect all of them from your secure account and manage their activity remotely.
The full list of what you can monitor in your child’s device:
- SMS and MMS including deleted texts;
- Screenshots (their number is limited to 1 000. In order to see more, you need to purchase the app);
- History of web browsing;
- Call logs;
- The location;
- Social networks and messengers: TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber, Snapchat, Tinder;
- Application usage.
Note that it can vary depending on the platform. But the basic options are the same on all devices.
Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Kindle
Qusodio provides you with a simple tool for managing the children's activity on a particular device. It allows you to see how much time your kids use the mobile phone or a tablet, block certain applications, and filter the content.
How it works:
- First of all, you need to install Qusodio on your device;
- Then sign up, and tap the “Child’s device” menu item;
- Follow the provided instructions;
- Once you finish, the number of websites will be blocked automatically;
- Now, you can view the child’s activity and daily reports.
The app is completely free to install. But it offers additional in-app purchases and premium subscriptions. The difference is that free plan allows you to monitor only one kid’s device from different parent's devices while the paid plan allows you to monitor as many kid’s devices as you want from the unlimited number of parent’s devices. The app is available in several languages, including English, Spanish, and German.
Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Apple OS X, Fire OS
Net Nanny is one of the most famous feature-packed parental control apps. The initial version was launched almost more than 20 years ago — in 1995. It was just a web browser that filtered IRC and web content, hid profanity, and blocked strange images. The latest version was released in May 2019. Now, it allows you to do much more. But the headline feature remains the same: Net Nanny is a powerful web filter with which you can block the weapons, pornography, and other harmful content for children. Among other options:
- Monitoring the child’s activity with amazing accuracy;
- Set up the limits that you can change just in a few taps;
- Divide the whole Internet content into the categories and block the defined categories;
- Build white and black lists for websites;
- Receive daily reports;
- Get the notifications about flagged words and other undesired content;
- Block the applications on your device;
- Track the current location;
- Set up different rules for different devices.
Net Nanny received a lot of different rewards and positive feedback from the critics. The application took the first place in TopTenReviews.com in "Internet Filter Software" and fourth in "Parental Control Software" in 2017. If you are looking for the best web content filtering apps, we highly recommend you download and install Net Nanny. Besides, it is completely free.
AppLock by DoMobile Lab is one of the most downloadable lock apps on Google Play. It has more than 100 million installs. Isn't that a reason to become one of its users too? The application works in more than 50 countries and supports 45 languages. AppLock can block the contents of different types. It could be:
- The social networks or messengers like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram;
- Mailboxes: Gmail;
- Messages: SMS;
- Call log;
- Gallery files: images, videos;
- Other applications installed on your device.
AppLock ensures full security and prevents unauthorized children’s access to blocked apps. You can set up the password, the pattern, or lock with a fingertip. If somebody tries to crack the phone and pick up a password, the application automatically takes a photo of them. AppLock provides you with the great and extended customization options compared to other applications listed below. Users can select the favorite image and set it in the background, create the blocklists, and so on. To make AppLock invisible for children, you can hide the app’s icon in the settings.
Besides the applications locking, the title has the option that allows you to switch on an incognito regime in the browser, as a result, the history of your queries will not be recorded. As you can see, there is an excellent app not only for child protection but also for adults.
There are a lot of different locking applications for different platforms and at various prices. But before using them, do not forget about one important thing. As a parent, you always need to remember that you set up the lock on the children’s device on your risk. What you think you mean well may not be understood by the child and become one of the biggest grievances against you. This is especially true for adolescents.
Also, there are a lot of forums and groups where teenagers discuss possible and effective ways to get around parental control. Locking applications is an incredible tool to protect children from harmful content, however, it should only be used in conjunction with accompanying conversations with the child. Try to convey to them as accurately as possible why you are doing this and what goals you are pursuing. Share your experience in the comments below. What apps did you use? What was the reaction of a child?