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How to limit screen time with Android parental controls

How to limit screen time with Android parental controls

Controlling what your child can do on their phone (or tablet) and limiting the amount of screen time they can spend each day are two of the largest challenges facing parents today.

It appears to be an impossible undertaking, and it is unquestionably not simple. They’ll undoubtedly find another gadget or turn on the TV and watch Netflix even if you manage to ban one.

There is no quick fix, therefore you will still need to exercise some supervision (as well as conceal the TV remote) to make sure your child isn’t viewing inappropriate content.

Additionally, you should sit down with them and discuss the risks of unauthorized use as well as the reasons behind your decision to install an app that would give them access to usage limits on their priceless gadget.

There may still be disputes and outbursts, but since telling a kid to put down their phone and do something else rarely works, here’s how to utilize applications and settings on Android smartphones, Chromebooks, and tablets to limit their screen time.

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How to use Google Family Link to limit screen time

Google family Link was receiving a lot of TV advertising at the time this article was being written. It has been around for a while, but when it first came out, it received a lot of flak for being a very terrible app.

Things are considerably better in 2022, and Family Link satisfies our needs, in our experience. Here is a list of its attributes:

  • It offers a general screen time restriction that may change daily.
  • Bedtime can be set, beyond which the gadget cannot be utilized.
  • You can set a time restriction, prohibit it, or always allow any given app (including games and social media) regardless of whether the allotted daily screen time has been reached.
  • It enables you to accept or reject requests to download particular Google Play apps.
  • It allows you to view a child’s whereabouts right now on a map (requires mobile data)
  • To monitor and modify settings on a child’s Android device, parents can install it on their iPhone or Android device.

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Family Link is a good way to limit screen time and is completely free. Many commercial parental control apps do not accomplish all of the aforementioned tasks.

Family Link was made to work with kids’ Google accounts (i.e. accounts for children under 13). You may still limit screen time for children over 12 because it also works with pre-existing Google accounts of children of any age.

Please be aware that Google Family Link does not filter inappropriate content; you are responsible for deciding which applications you want your child to use. If you have more questions, here is a list of answered FAQs on Google Family Link.

Also keep in mind that Always Allowed apps will function even if the youngster has exhausted their daily screen time, but only until Bedtime kicks in. 

Apple’s Screen Time, in contrast, allows apps that are always permitted to operate independently of any screen time limits or bedtime restrictions.

You will need both your phone and your child’s phone to install and utilize the app. Here is the fundamental procedure, albeit the steps may differ slightly:

  • Search for Google Family Link in the app store on your phone (Android or iPhone).
  • To sign into your Google account, follow the instructions.
  • Follow the instructions to create a Google Family and designate yourself as the manager if you are not already the family manager (or one of the managers)
  • Choose a Google account that already exists that you want to manage, or make a new child account.
  • On the child’s phone, download the Google Family Link application.
  • To link the child’s device, adhere to the instructions on the parent’s phone (this requires the two devices to be within Bluetooth range)
  • Select the apps you want to allow or restrict from the list that is already on the kid’s smartphone.

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Following the conclusion of this initial step, you can utilize the Family Link app on the parent’s phone to:

  • Control parameters like download and purchase approvals
  • Set age restrictions for movies, TV shows, video games, and books.
  • Set (or modify) restrictions, such as Daily Limits (total screen time) and Bedtime
  • Set a specified time limit for each app using the app controls.
  • Check the phone’s location right now.
  • See how much time was spent on screens overall today (and historically)
  • To temporarily prohibit the child from using their phone, lock it.
  • When the child’s phone is lost, ‘ring’ it to find it.

Family Link employs a series of “cards,” much like other Google apps, so you must scroll up and down to find the part you’re looking for. It should list other gadgets the child has signed into than the one you just installed Family Link on. 

Before time constraints are applied across those devices, you must install the app and link them. They will have unrestricted use of those devices up until you do that.

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How to restrict content in the Play Store

You can impose similar limitations on the apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books your child can download from the Play Store even if you decide not to use Family Link.

Launch the Play Store app on their device and tap the profile image next to the search box to do this. Scroll down if necessary, select Settings, and then select Family.

Enter a PIN to prevent the youngster from changing the settings by selecting Parental controls and toggling them on.

After you confirm the PIN, you can access each section and impose the limitations you desire.

Books, Movies, TV, and Apps & Games are the many categories. Music is no longer one of the categories, which is unfortunate.

You can see the available age groups by tapping on one. Just select the oldest age you want the child to be able to access, then select Save.

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Your child will no longer be able to download any stuff that is rated higher than the setting you’ve set anytime they are in the store. 

Books differ slightly from other media in that the settings, rather than based on audience age, enclose content that is labelled as explicit.

Return to the Settings menu and select the Authentication heading if you wish to stop children from purchasing content without your permission.

Select Require authentication for purchases from the menu. Make sure the option is set to “For all purchases made through Google Play on this device.” They can no longer install apps or make in-app purchases without your password.

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