That’s what most of us say when we don’t want our kids to use our mobile devices.
And it’s true, a $700 phone is definitely not a toy. That said, phones and tables are undeniably a source of entertainment for children. The occasional cartoon, a game now and then… Kids are increasingly comfortable with technology and are very skilled at using electronic devices.
When they play under parental supervision, there’s no problem. But the truth of the matter is that we often hand over our cell phones when we need to occupy little ones as we rush to finish the dishes or change the younger sibling’s diaper. It’s also a go-to solution for long car rides.
You may be glad to know that you can limit how your phone is used by deactivating features and restricting access to certain applications. All this results in a “safer” environment for your kids.
Here are a few free solutions that you might find useful.
Apple owners will be interested in a cool feature that can temporarily turn your device into a single application: Guided Access.
It’s great because young users can’t open anything that hasn’t been authorized by you. All they get is one game or application (like YouTube), and if they want to access something else, they will need your passcode or fingerprint.
To access this feature, go to: Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access.
You’ll notice that Guided Access offers other types of configurations, such as disabling certain commands or areas of your screen. It’s up to you to decide what you’d like to lock your kids out of.
Android offers several different application management options.
Samsung’s Kids Mode, which is available in the Play Store (where you buy apps for Android phones and tablets), allows you to set limits on how your device is used and decide which content your children can access. Obviously, the user can’t exit this mode without your PIN.
Play Store actually has many applications that provide parental control. Note that free applications sometimes play ads or prompt you to pay for the “premium” version. Take the time to test the app before passing it over to your son or daughter.
One thing is for sure: if you give an Android phone or tablet to your child, make sure you restrict downloads in Play Store to age-appropriate content.
You can do this by going to: Play Store: Menu > Settings > Parental control.
When you activate Parental control, you will have to create a PIN and select the right classification level for games and apps.
Google has also just released FAMILY LINK, a new app that helps you analyze and supervise device usage. But the problem is that it’s not available in Canada yet. But keep an eye out for it, as it looks promising for restricting access and analyzing use.
How much time does your child spend in front of the screen?
What are their favourite apps?
FAMILY LINK can even lock the device at certain times of day or manage purchases. In short, it’s very interesting, but not available in Quebec at the moment. It will come.
Finally, it’s helpful to remember that kids are supposed to be bored sometimes. Letting them use your phone while they wait for the adults to finish eating might seem like an easy and practical solution, but idle time may also help develop their creativity ;-)