5 Apps to Protect Your Children on Their New Devices

With Christmas already in the air, you may be looking at purchasing a new device for your child. Although choosing the right one can be an exciting time, it is also essential that you understand the risks involved with giving your children a smartphone.

Unlike in the days of the Nokia 3310, most phones nowadays offer a portal into the internet world. Although this has significantly improved many people’s lives, allowing them to be connected 24/7, it can quickly become a problem for children.

So, whether you have used our phone recycle services to upgrade them to a new one, or this is their first phone, why not make sure it is set up for them ready on Christmas morning? We explore many helpful apps you can download to help keep your family safe and promote a healthy relationship with their new phone.

Parental controls from Apple

Apple has a range of facilities already built into their devices with the latest IOS software. For example, through the settings and the Screen Time category, you can set it as your child’s device and restrict content based on their age within apps, books, TV shows and movies. This is great for preventing younger children from accessing content which may be deemed inappropriate.

Through Apple’s already built-in services, you can block individual apps you may find inappropriate, restrict the device usage and monitor what they are up to whilst they are on it. All this can be installed during the set-up after purchase. It can also be used to block the child’s device entirely if there is a reason you wish for them not to have access to it without the need to remove it from them.

Family Link from Google

If you are a family of android users, then the best app for parental control of your child’s device is Family Link. The free app allows complete monitoring of your child’s devices, from their tablets to their phones. In addition, it can be great for families with multiple children with multiple devices as each family member gets their own account, and you can assign the parent roles to each member responsible for the welfare of the younger ones.

To use this app, each child will need a google email address. If you have purchased a new device for the first time, this will need to be set up throughout the installation of the phone. Keep the login details on hand, as these will be required for the family link app. Once everyone with a device has an email address which has been used to set up their android phone or tablet, you can begin setting up the family link. The installation is fairly basic and offers a range of benefits to monitor and keep your children safe online.

The permission levels are based on their ages, and you can limit apps, websites, and content they can access from your own app. They cannot access any new content without permission, and you can set screen time limits whilst still offering access to chosen apps. So, for example, once their screen time is up, you can set it up so they can still access the likes of WhatsApp or any educational apps. This app allows you to locate the device too, so if your children are a little older and venture out alone, you can be sure of where they are by tracking locations. This is good for when they happen to lose their phone too.

FamilyTime can offer excellent location tracking

If you have a teenager, you will understand the struggle to track where they are. Luckily with the FamilyTime app, you can set Geofences. This allows you to get instant alerts for when your teenager or child enters or leaves a particular pre-set area. You can select as many of these as you wish, and it’s excellent for understanding where your child may be if needed. You can also locate other family members on an enjoyable and helpful map, and it offers some of the best tracking and accuracy available.

This app also has standard parental controls, such as limiting content, screen time, and website access. It also allows you to monitor all their activity, with live updates of things that may interest you as the parent. You can even lock their device with the homework time function so that you can be sure that your child really is upstairs finishing their schoolwork and not being distracted by messages.

This app has many helpful features, and as a parent, you will wonder how you managed without it. They even provide a watch list, so if you know there is potential contact from someone you may wish to protect your child from, you can set up alerts for when they attempt to contact you. This app is also helpful for older teens with the Teen Safe Drive function. This allows you to monitor your teens’ driving, perhaps on a motorised scooter or when they have just passed their test. If they exceed your set speed limits, you will receive a notification, allowing you to have cautionary discussions when they return home. This app costs, but for its features, you may find the price worth it for your child’s online safety.

Safe Family by McAfee

McAfee has been known for providing online security for many years through firewalls and virus protection. However, you can now download their Safe Family app, which helps to keep your child safe on the internet.

Again, this app offers the basic parental controls of limiting screen time, apps, websites and much more, but the difference is the ability for your child to request individual apps. For example, if you have restricted their Netflix usage due to incomplete homework, they can send you a message request once they have completed it. Within the message, you can allow your choice of access for your decided amounts of time. This function offers seamless communication and is excellent if your child is under the care of another family member without the paired account with controls.

The app can also be downloaded on a windows device, which means you can restrict what they are doing on their laptops and mobile devices from the same app. However, not all the features are available for each software system, so it may be a good idea to check what capabilities it has for IOS, Android and Windows to make sure it is the right one for you and your family.

Family Safety by Microsoft

If you want a platform which protects everyone’s devices from harmful contact, including any console from the Xbox one series, then the Microsoft Family Safety app is perfect for your family. Once again, this app offers essential protection with app and game limits, but these can be applied across windows, Xbox, and android devices. In addition, you can also limit their games consoles and laptops entirely, which is perfect for allowing downtime.

The Family Safety app also provides copies of any screenshots your child may be making on their game console and delivers a filter from harmful online content accessed through Microsoft Edge. This app is ideal for children with an Xbox as it offers a complete package of parental control, including activity reports, allowing you to assess their usage of their devices.

Like the previous app, Microsoft Family Safety also provides safe driving monitoring. This allows you to see how often your family member has picked up their device whilst on the road, whether they have driven within the speed limits and a full report on their driving history. Being a Microsoft product, it will also monitor their use throughout the Microsoft Office package, so you know if they really are completing their homework on their device or being distracted by other things.

The importance of safety online for children

The internet is an incredible beast; it offers a fountain of information at the touch of a button and can provide access to millions of pages and platforms which can offer children an in-depth into any subject. Unfortunately, with the good always comes the bad, and unsupervised, children can quickly end up in danger or into the content they may be too young to know or understand.

Now more than ever, it is vital to protect your young ones against the dangers of the internet and the access a device can bring. For example, if your child suffers from bullying, they may not be forthcoming due to embarrassment. The ability to monitor their messages with the various apps above allows you to keep up with elements of your child’s life they may not feel comfortable sharing. For more information on the importance of safety online, visit the NSPCC website, which can provide additional tips and tricks to help keep your youngsters safe online through their many devices.

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