How to safely leave a device in children's hands

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

A practical guide for Apple and Android.

By now keeping children away from smartphones or tablets is completely impossible. These devices are not toys and, if you are not careful, there is a risk that they may put them in contact with applications and contents that are not suitable for them. Smartphones and tablets can access any website, view videos, install applications and games with explicit content and much more.

What does the house of Cupertino offer?

Apple offers a proprietary system that allows you to activate a parent control on the iPhone and Ipad without having to resort to third-party applications, as happens for the Google home system. Integrated into the control panel of all IOS devices is the "restrictions" option that allows you to block certain apps and functions, including access to explicit content in the iTunes Store and access to browsing with Safari. By enabling these restrictions, we can choose which applications to let the child use and limit their use, disappearing from view from the "Home". We can also prevent the child from downloading or uninstalling applications, and prevent him from making purchases in the app.

By activating the various filters for explicit content, we prevent you from coming across songs or shows that are not suitable for your age when browsing iTunes. Finally, we can choose to restrict browsing for Safari, avoiding access to sites with violent or explicit content. thus being able to surf safely.

The restrictions also allow us to safeguard privacy and prevent apps from accessing your personal data as well as geolocation data.

The counterpart of Mountain View

As for Android devices, the choice of application for parental control becomes wider, there are many applications designed to protect children in the green robot operating system.

By inserting the search phrase "parental control" in the Play Store we will find ourselves in front of a long list of applications that match the description. The most popular app in 2020 is Net Nanny (also available on IOS), which offers the right mix of filters and restrictions to model the level of restriction on the device according to the child. Net Nanny also allows us to remotely control the device, allowing us to intervene even if we do not have the device directly in our hands. Like this, we also find Kaspersky Safe Kids which promises the same functions for just over ten euros a year, allowing control over an unlimited number of devices.

Besides these there are many other valid applications that adapt to our every need, for a quick comparison I can name applications such as Norton Family Premier, Qustodio and MMGuardian. All of these have the basic restrictions functions necessary for a complete control of the device.

App comparison

To choose the application in the best possible way, I can suggest which parameters to consider for a correct evaluation:

Installation: How easy it is to install and configure the device and if there are compatibility problems;

Functions: How reliable is control over applications;

Filters: What kind of filters can be activated and where to activate them;

Time management: what kind of settings are there to also limit the time of use of the device;

Text management: if there are implementations that allow the reading of messages in any application;

Geolocation: Check if the application allows geolocation in case of emergencies.

All this obviously compatible with how much you want to spend to obtain all these functions.

The best of the apps, however, can never completely replace the presence of a parent. Using the devices together with your children will not only allow a more careful management, but will make you discover what are the things that intrigue them. Maybe the answers they ask too often for devices can be found in their parents.

Alessio Romeo

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