How to set up Android parental controls

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It can be a headache for parents trying to keep kids safe online, but parental controls can help limit the content they'll see. These tips work for almost all Android phones, but if their phone is newer (running Nougat 7.0 or higher) Google Family Link might be a better option - it's a full parental control suite in one handy app. Samsung users can also take advantage of Kids Mode to give their youngsters a safe place to play and learn.

Adding a new user account

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Phones and tablets running Android 4.2 (or newer) can have extra user accounts. Set up your phone with your own account first, then add one for your child to use - which you can control. They'll be able to have their own wallpaper and apps without changing how the phone works for you.

Adding a second user

 
 
 
 
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1.

Swipe down from the top of the screen, then tap the Cog icon to visit the Settings menu.

2.

Scroll down the Settings menu and tap on Users & accounts.

3.

Here, you can see any accounts already added to your phone. Tap on Users.

4.

Press Add user to create a new user account.

 
 
 
 
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5.

Read the New User information, which explains how different user accounts work. Tap OK to continue.

6.

Confirm that you want to add a new user by tapping Set up now.

7.

Now you're ready to set up the new user. Unlock the phone by swiping across the screen.

8.

Read the information about second user accounts, then tap Continue.

 
 
 
 
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9.

If the new user has a Google account, now's the time to sign in. If they don't have a Google account, press More options to make one.

10.

Enter the Password for the new Google account and tap Next.

11.

Press I agree to finish adding a Google account for the new user.

12.

The Google Assistant can answer questions, search the internet and perform simple tasks like setting an alarm, or sending a message. It can also recognise your voice commands. Press Next to learn more.

 
 
 
 
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13.

Read through the list of Google Services and untick any you don't want. Press Agree when you're ready to continue.

 
 
 
 
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14.

Before you finish setting up, you can add another email account and review any additional apps you might enjoy. Press No, thanks to start using your new user account.

Switching between users

 
 
 
 
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1.

Swipe down from the top of the screen.

2.

You'll see the Notification Panel. Find and tap the User icon of a white figure on a coloured circle.

3.

Tap a user account to switch to it.

You can add more than one child account, and each one has its own settings. You'll have to connect to Wi-Fi for each user account you want to access the internet, and any parental controls you add will only affect the user you set them to.

Lock down the App Store

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There are a few things you can do to make sure anything your child sees, and downloads, is age appropriate. You can also stop them from downloading paid-for apps and buying in-app purchases.

Filter content

 

Choose what content your child can download from the Play Store by setting up parental controls in their user account.

 
 
 
 
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1.

Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap User, then tap the child's account.

2.

Open the Play Store.

3.

Tap Menu > Settings.

4.

Tap Parental controls.

 
 
 
 
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5.

Tap the switch to turn parental controls on.

6.

Type a PIN then tap OK, type it again and tap Continue. That'll stop your settings from being changed, keeping the Play Store age-appropriate.

7.

Tap a content type to set an age rating for it.

8.

Some content types have a tickbox to restrict what can be seen.

Prevent purchases

Change the Play Store security settings in your user account to stop users buying 'in-app' content or 'paid-for' apps.

 
 
 
 
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1.

Open the Play Store app.

2.

Tap the Menu icon (three lines in the search box) then tap Settings.

3.

Tap Require authentication for purchases.

4.

Tap For all purchases... to type your Google password every time you want to buy something.

Disable third-party apps

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Apps can be downloaded from other places as well as the Play Store. This setting is off by default, but check to make sure.

 
 
 
 
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1.

Tap Apps > Settings.

2.

Tap Security.

3.

The Unknown sources switch will be blue if it's on. Tap to turn it off if you need to, then tap Home.

Hopefully, that's the parental controls sorted out. If you need more help though, you can get in touch with an expert from Team Knowhow here.

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