5 Security Tips to Keep Your Baby From Hacking Your Phone

Photo: Tanya Little / Getty

Kids (especially, toddlers), can be some of the most sinister phone hackers on the planet. Don’t even get me started on babies. They destroy everything they touch or, at least, cover it in a layer of slobber. Babies are inconsiderate jerks sometimes when it comes to the proper handling and safety of your phone.

Sometimes you just have to give them your phone, it's unavoidable. Maybe their battery dies and you are trying to avoid a meltdown while waiting on an appointment, or maybe you just use your phone to distract them so that they don’t see you eating their last chicken nugget.

Whatever the case may be, you know they are going to get a hold of your phone and you’re very nervous about it. What’s a parent to do?

How Can You Keep Your Kids From Jacking up Your Phone?

First Things First, Upgrade and Patch Your Phone's OS

In order to protect your phone from your kids, you should be running the latest and greatest version of its operating system. This will give you access to the most recent version of the parental controls that are available for your device

Here's How to Attempt to Babyproof Your Phone:

For Android Phones and Other Android-based Devices

Guest Account Mode

Android phones have a couple of great parental control features that parents should appreciate. Guest account mode allows you to setup a profile that is just for your kids to use. When using their profile, they can’t access the data in your profile, so they are less likely to screw it up.

To enable Guest Account Mode (Android 5.x or higher)

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the notifications bar

2. Double-tap on your profile image

3. Choose “Add Guest”

4. Wait a few minutes for the profile setup process to finish.

When your child is done using your device, follow steps 1 and 2 above to get back to your profile, and then wipe all of their snot off your phone.

Screen Pinning:

Have you ever wanted to hand your kids your phone but you wish you could just lock them into using the one app that you had open when you handed them the phone? Android’s Screen Pinning feature allows you to do exactly that. You can turn on screen pinning and prevent your child from exiting the app (until a passcode is given).

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the notifications bar

2. Touch the time and date area in the notifications bar and then touch the gear icon to open settings.

3. From the “Settings” menu, choose “Security” > “Advanced” > “Screen Pinning” and then set its switch to the “ON” position.

You will then be provided with the instructions you need for using the screen pinning feature.

Google Play Store Purchase Restrictions:

Unless you want your child going on an app store shopping spree, you’ll want to make sure you’ve locked down the Google Play store so that purchases must be authorized by you and not made instantly by your slobbering toddler.

1. Open the Google Play Store app from your home screen

2. Touch the Menu button and choose “Settings”

3. Scroll to the “User Controls” submenu and choose “Set or Change PIN”.

4. Create a PIN that you don’t give to your child. This should help to prevent them from making unauthorized purchases (unless the guess the right PIN or watch you enter it).

For iPhone and Other iDevices:

Turn On Restrictions

On your iPhone or other iDevice, you’ll need to enable restrictions in order to use parental controls. This is done from Settings > Enable Restrictions. You’ll be prompted to set a PIN code that is just for you to remember. This shouldn’t be the same as the device unlock PIN.​

Check out Apple’s page on restrictions for full details on all the various settings that are available to you. Here are a few that will help keep your kid from messing up your phone

Restrict In-app Purchases

To prevent yourself from ending up with a huge bill for various in-app purchases that seem to be popular in most games on the app store, including “freemium” titles, make sure to restrict the in-app purchases feature by following these instructions.

Turn On App Installation Restrictions

If you don’t want your child filling up your device with fart sound machine apps,  remove their ability to install apps by using the installing apps restriction.

Turn On App Delete Restrictions

Some kids will go on an app deletion rampage if you let them. Set the “Deleting Apps” setting to prevent them from removing your apps (they will be prompted for a PIN code if they try to delete an app).

Restrict Access to The Camera

Are you tired of a bunch of blurry pics of your child’s nostrils? Turn off access to the Camera app in restrictions and you won’t have to worry about them using up all your precious gigabytes with their endless poor-quality selfies.