It is not new that tech devices are becoming a handy tool for everyone, kids and adults. However, kids stay up late at night, and racking up phone charges is increasing. That’s why excessive screen time has become one of the most common concerns of parents, as it can have a negative impact on kids’ health.
According to a recent study, children under the age of five were found to be 91.4% more likely to be exposed to excessive screen time, where they spend an average of 3 hours (IQR 1.36–5.04) watching screens each day, the majority watching television (66%), followed by mobile phones (30%), and computers (4%).
Further, exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online offenders are some things parents want their children to safeguard. But prolonged screen time is the main reason parents want to lock down a kid’s phone. It’s because they can’t take back their kid’s tech devices every day since they need those devices for educational purposes.
Then, is there any way to ensure that the kids won’t overuse their smartphones? Fortunately, by locking down the child’s phone, you can achieve that. But how to do that?
Continue reading the article to find the tips to lock down a kid’s phone.
Ways to lock down a kid’s Apple iPhone
There are several ways you can lock down your child’s phone to give you peace of mind. However, nowadays, devices’ inbuilt features help you to do that.
Apple provides several parental controls on iPhones, iPads, and iPods, which you can set on a child’s devices. So, if your child also has iOS devices, you can use the methods below to lock down iOS devices.
1. Guided Access
If you want to lock the device for the short term, you can go with guided access. For example, you can limit a child’s access to one app while you wait for a table at a restaurant. The steps to set guided access are as follows:
- Open Settings > Tap General > Tap Accessibility > Guided Access.
- Toggle on Guided Access and set the passcode.
- To enable it, go to the application you want to lock the phone to and click the Home button three times (on an iPhone 8 or earlier). On iPhone X or later, click the side button three times, and the Guided Access screen will show up.
- To exit, tap the Home button again three times (on an iPhone 8 or earlier), whereas on an iPhone X or later, click the side button 3 times and enter the password. Now the phone is no longer limited to a single application.
Some restrictions limit accessibility across devices. Using password protection, you can restrict app installation, disable in-app purchases, and restrict access to specific websites as below.
- If your child’s iPhone has an OS earlier than iOS 12, Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Toggle On. But if they have iOS 12 or later, click on Settings > Screen Time > Content and Privacy Restrictions.
- Here, you can create a four-digit PIN you can use to change your restrictions whenever you want and save it.
- You can customize the apps by selecting the content, apps, and accessibility level most appropriate for your child.
3. Set a Downtime schedule to restrict kids from using the device at night
You can set up Family Sharing to remotely manage your child’s phone and enable Screen Time on their device while keeping the settings secured with a passcode.
- Open the settings application from the kid’s device.
- Click Screen time.
- Click Use Screen Time Passcode and type a passcode.
- Click on Downtime and toggle it on.
- Set Start and EndTime.
Ways to lock down kids’ Android devices
For Android users, Google has introduced a recent update called ‘Screen Pinning’. It permits you to lock your android phone to a single application. To enable Screen pinning, go to Settings > Security > Screen pinning.
After you enable it, you can easily pin your screen at any time. The recent apps you accessed can be pinned, so launch the application and follow these steps:
- Click the Overview button.
- Choose an application and drag its title bar to the center of your screen
- Click the blue pin button at the bottom of screen
- Confirm you want to pin the application. You can make this step password-protected.
- Press Start
- To exit Screen Pinning, simultaneously touch and hold the back and overview buttons. Afterward, the screen will revert to the Overview.
RELATED: Parental Controls on Android: Setup Tips and Apps
Best parental control applications to lock down a kid’s phone
If parents pay less attention to their child’s online behavior, giving smartphones to kids can be turned into the wrong decision.
When they are not monitored, they may access inappropriate content or excessively use smartphones, which also hamper kids’ education and mentality. So, parents must monitor their children and lock the devices when needed.
Besides the device’s inbuilt features, parents can use third-party applications to lock the phone. And with the parental control application, you can lock phone screens along with monitor their phone activities.
The parental control application, Mobicip, can lock a few applications or your child’s entire phone. For example, you can restrict the use of website browsers while allowing access to phone calls and texts. You can monitor your family’s devices from your Dashboard and lock the phone anytime.
- Keyword monitoring
- Capture screenshots
- App lock
- Advanced filters
- Manage multiple devices
- Manage screen time
The child monitoring application, MobileSpy, belongs to one of the best ways to lock down a kid’s phone. You cannot monitor your child’s device remotely using the inbuilt features on the device. But with MobileSpy, you can monitor their activities remotely, limit their screen time, block certain websites, etc.
Since you can block certain websites using this application, you can peacefully give mobile devices to your child. Further, you don’t have to worry about your child’s screen time because you can manage it too.
- Call tracking
- Tracks all SMS and IM chats
- Real-time alerts and notifications
- Enable Geofence Alerts
- Monitor the child’s internet history
- Access pictures, videos, and any other files
- Social media monitoring
Compared to the previous application, Qustodio lacks the feature to take screenshots and has fewer filter categories. But what it has is a panic button that will alert you and allow your child to reach you quickly.
It helps you to lock down and monitor the movement of children’s phones. Besides being a kid phone lock application, it also allows you to set screen time limits for kids.
- Screen and App Control
- Track phone activities
- SOS and alerts
- Content blocking
- Lock entire phone or individual application
Protect your children from cyberbullying and harassment and ensure their online safety with this parental control tool. Compatible with Android and iOS devices, the fenced.ai application helps keep your child safe both online and offline.
Fenced.ai lets you keep track of your child’s smartphone usage. It includes various features such as location tracking, social media monitoring, limiting screen time, tracking contact details, etc.
- Monitor the child’s phone multimedia.
- Monitor your child’s calls and record them.
- Track the browser history of your child.
- Limit kids’ screen time.
- Alert you if your kids’ wifi changes.
Applock is not considered a parental control application. However, this application helps you to lock down individual applications on your child’s device.
Basically, it’s like a vault for the phone. When you use AppLock on your child’s device, they can’t access it until they hit the correct password.
But as a downside, parents can’t control when to unlock and lock applications from their devices. Due to this, you must have your child’s phone in your hand. Additionally, it lacks content filtering and time control features.
- Block individual applications
- Privacy Browser
- Random Keyword
- Secure vault
RELATED: The Best App to Block Distracting Websites/Apps
1. What are the best third-party parental control apps to lock down a kid’s phone?
Qustodio and fenced.ai are the best parental control applications because it offers features to limit screen time and track browsing history.
2. How do I lock down my kid’s phone?
If you want to lock down the kid’s devices, you can use either third-party applications such as fenced.ai, Mobicip, or the phone’s built-in features. For Android users, ‘Screen pinning’ and for iOS users, Settings downtime or enabling content and restrictions are helpful. Both the third-party apps and built-in features are effective to use.
3. Are there any free ways to lock down a kid’s phone?
You can lock down a child’s smartphone for free with its built-in features. There are also some free parental control applications available that claim to work effectively. For Android users, Google Family Link serves more features.
While surfing the internet, your kids may expose themselves to explicit content. Thus, they might be victims of cyberbullying, or online predators could contact them. You can prevent the child from becoming exposed to such risks by using a third-party parental control app or the phone’s inbuilt feature.
I believe you will be able to find the best tips or ways to lock down a kid’s phone after going through this blog. But be sure to use the app in morally correct and ethical ways. Overall, as a parent, always keep an eye on your kids to ensure their safety.