How to Childproof Your Android and Make It Kid Friendly

Things to do before letting your child use an Android phone or tablet

What to Know

  • To set up parental controls, go to Google Play Settings > Family > Parental controls > On, then set the desired restrictions.
  • You can also lock the device with a PIN and create a new user.
  • Install third-party apps to set additional restrictions such as limiting screen time and blocking access to specific websites.

This article explains how to set up parental controls for smartphones and tablets running Android OS.

Put a Lock on Your Smartphone or Tablet

Lock your Android device with a PIN or password. After you activate the lock screen, you will be asked to enter the PIN anytime you activate the device or attempt to make major changes, such as altering important Android Settings.

It's also possible to lock specific Android apps.

Create a New User on Your Device

Set up an Android guest account to allow or disallow access to certain apps on the device. By default, Android will block access to almost everything, including the Chrome browser, so you must manually select the games and apps your children can use. In the Google Play Movies & TV app, you can restrict access to content based on parental rating. If you have kids of varying ages, you can even set up specific profiles for each of them that are age-appropriate.

Set Up Parental Controls in Google Play

You can restrict downloads from the Google Play Store so that kids can't purchase content without your permission. The restrictions in the Google Play store extend to movies, music, books, and apps. To set up parental controls in Google Play:

  1. Tap your profile icon in the upper-right corner.

  2. Tap Settings.

  3. Tap Family, then tap Parental controls.

    Profile icon, Settings, and Parental Controls in Google Play
  4. Set the Parental controls toggle to the On position.

    You will be prompted to enter your device's PIN or password to make changes to parental controls.

  5. Scroll down to toggle restrictions for each section. For Books and Music, the only option is to restrict adult content. Apps, Games, Movies, and TV use standardized age restrictions.

    These restrictions only apply to apps available in the Google Play Store. These settings will not restrict access to pre-installed and side loaded apps.

    Parental Controls toggle and restriction options in Google Play

Best Apps for Childproofing Your Android Device

Some apps allow you to set additional restrictions such as limiting screen time and restricting access to specific websites. For example: 

  • Applock lets you lock almost anything on your phone or tablet, including phone calls, individual apps, photos, and Google Play.
  • Kids Place Parental Control displays only the apps children are allowed to open on their guest accounts. 
  • Screen Time Parental Control disables access to all apps after a specified time.
  • McAfee Safe Family offers several childproofing tools, including a website blocker.
Was this page helpful?