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How to monitor content for your kids

Whether you use iOS or Android devices, both platforms have features that let you safely supervise what children are viewing and consuming

Some parents choose to hold back technology from their children, fearing it could take over their lives, but some experts say early exposure may actually be better for them – kids can either become comfortable with tech or risk falling behind. The good news is that smartphone makers have made it easy for children to use devices while still allowing parents to monitor everything closely. Whether you use iOS or Android devices, here are some of the features available to you.

Android

For parents and their kids using Android devices, Google has created Family Link. To use it, a parent first creates a child Google account linked to their own and sets up a new device with it. The parent then installs the Family Link app on their device and is given full control over their child’s.

A parent can’t see the child’s screen remotely, but he or she can control privacy settings within apps, choose what can be installed and monitor activity usage based on total screen time (and in which app).

The Android device is fully functional, but if a child wants to do something outside of preset permissions (such as download content higher than a certain age rating or in-app purchases), the parent receives a push notification for approval.

Parents can also set bedtime schedules, limit the number of screen hours a day and temporarily lock the device for, say, dinner.

iOS (iPhone and iPad)

Apple has put numerous features into iOS that let parents control what kids are doing on an iPhone or iPad, but they’re a bit more scattered throughout the platform.

The main area to note is Restrictions under General in the Settings tab. There you can block purchases (including in-app), restrict content based on rating or control whether the child can even delete apps.

Parents can also use Find My Friends to monitor where exactly their child is at all times, choose the specific websites they can visit and share photos or videos through albums. Family Sharing also allows parents to share their downloadable content or app purchases with family members.

Final analysis

Choosing which operating system is right for a child is ultimately up to the parent, who should consider which ecosystem they subscribe to already and privacy policies that best suit the family. This isn’t an exhaustive list of features, however, as both options give a significant amount of control to the parents while allowing children to familiarize themselves with technology.

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