Teens want to connect with their friends, and in this current digital age, most of them connect using their smartphones. But a smartphone can be a fun toy and a dangerous instrument. A distraction while in the car can cause serious accidents. An instrument of gossip and cyber bullying, your teen may find themselves under peer pressure, or the subject of ridicule. Furthermore, it’s difficult to filter what they look at and who they interact with via their smartphone. Luckily, smartphones have parental controls that help you keep track of what your son or daughter is up to. Here’s how to get the most out of them:
Each operating system has a different feel. For iPhones, first visit Settings, then General. Within this menu, you’ll find Enable Restrictions. At this point, the list of apps on the iPhone will appear. You must click and set custom restrictions for every app. Limit what content your teen can view and engage with. Make sure you lock the settings so your teen can’t reset the phone.
For Android users, tap the Profile tab in the notice bar, then the Add User option and OK. Create a new profile as prompted. Then tap the gear tab near the user account you’ve just created. You can restrict the phones use of SMS (messages) and phone calls. You can also disable the Google Play Store so your teen can’t make unauthorized purchases. First, open the Play Store through the app. Tap Menu and then Settings. Enable the button that says, “Password – Use password to restrict purchases.” You’ll be prompted to enter your Google password.
Not only should you consider the dangers of what your teen may find online, you should also protect them from someone who might find their phone and gain personal information about them with it. This is why you shouldn’t settle for an older phone. New smartphones, like the Apple iPhone SE have fingerprint technology as well as the option of six-digit numeric codes that even the FBI would have incredible difficulty cracking.
Parental Control Apps
Like phone settings, apps vary with operating systems; the best parental control app for Android is not the same for iPhone. For instance, the Norton Family Premier app for Android was rated best parental control app overall by Tom’s Guide, while the iPhone version of the app, is rather limited. Norton Family Premier on Android devices allows you to set times of use, or overall timed use per day, put restrictions on the web, messaging and much more.
PhoneSheriff for iPhone GPS tracking logs internet history, monitors your teen’s texts, calls, photos and even their address book. You can check up on you teens phone use with the PhoneSheriff app, or log in on your computer at their website. Enable specified notifications that alert you whenever you teen, or one of their friends, uses keywords in texts. View and block websites they visit in real time, and disable their phone completely — and remotely if necessary.
Parental control apps are as extensive as you need or want them, to be. However, build trust with your son or daughter and, once they demonstrate they can use a smartphone responsibly, loosen their restrictions.