February 21, 2024

Come the holidays, if you decide to ditch and buy a smartphone or tablet for your kids, you may be concerned about safety, supervision, and screen time.

Software can’t solve every problem, but it can help. Here are some tools available to help parents or caregivers guide their children as they take their first steps into the digital age on their own.

Before you fire up that gifted gadget, you might want to have a discussion with your teen or teen about setting ground rules for using a smartphone or tablet.

Common Sense Media has a A guide for parents and carers to discuss basic safety rules with their children before giving them their first mobile phoneincluding how to reply to text messages and what to do with other people’s photos.

For those offering standard smartphones, Apple and Google have redesigned their parental controls this year to make them easier to find and use.Apple’s dashboard is called family sharingand Google’s app is called family connection. Both are based on the same concept: an organizer can add multiple user accounts to a group — but some accounts control what other accounts can see and do.

For example, someone with an adult-level account can set up and configure a child account to restrict access to age-inappropriate content, block certain apps or purchases, and set time limits on daily use.

When the location setting is enabled, parents can also see the actual location of their child’s phone (and possibly the child) on a map. Parents or caregivers can also get reports on their child’s activities over the phone and can grant additional permissions remotely.

Adult Supervision is account-based, so parents must create an Apple ID or Google Account for their child to use.Credit…Apple; Google

These built-in tools have some requirements.Adults must set a special Apple ID or google account For children; children under the age of 13 cannot create their own accounts on most services because Federal Privacy Act.

Kids can contact their parents to request permission for more screen time or purchase digital goods, and the software can also alert them that their guardians are paying attention.Credit…Apple; Google

The system works best if everyone uses the same platform, although some parental oversight can be done through a web browser, and Google’s Family Link app for iOS were able Manage some Google apps on Apple devices.

Apple’s Family Sharing feature allows organizers to add five other members to a group.Purchased content, such as music and movies can share Between group members, where parents or caregivers can manage their children’s devices.

to Set up Family Sharing, open the Settings icon and select Home. Click the icon in the top right corner, then select Create Child Account at the bottom of the next screen.When you turn on your new iOS device for the first time, you also Option to set up accounts for kids.

After connecting the child’s account to the familygroup, the software guide you through Manage the account and apply Apple’s parental controlFor example, in the “Screen Time” menu, parents can restrict their children’s communication with other people on the phone through text messages, phone calls and FaceTime.

When you turn on Family Link, you have the option to set up an account for a Child or Teen.This app guides you By creating a child’s Google account or linking it to your home terminal. Then configure limits for that can Adjust settings as needed Sign in to the Family Link app as a parent.

Tablets running iOS or Android can also use Family Sharing or Family Link.Some parents choose smart watches to keep in touch with their children, while Apple Watch supports family sharing. But there’s life outside the Apple-Google universe, especially for those on a budget or giving devices to young kids.

Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets Can use Google’s Family Linkbut the company also has Samsung Kids App creates a child-friendly environment Apps, Games, and Other Parental Controls.

Amazon makes a variety of Fire HD tablets designed for younger children.Credit…amazon

Amazon includes parental control Because of its relatively cheap Fire tablets, and similar Amazon Home Features for sharing and restricting digital content among family members.The company owns its Amazon Kids Software with curated age-appropriate content and screen time limits; premium Amazon Kids+ Subscriptions are also available.

A dedicated phone that limits internet access and monitors communications, including text messages, promises a more holistic management experience for parents and children.This bark phoneThis Gabe phone and windmill Cell phones are an example.

If you live in a cross-platform home, or want a powerful tool to more closely observe social media usage, third-party subscription apps like bark, Internet nanny or Qustodio Provides extensive parental supervision.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to teach your kids to use technology in healthy ways, The New York Times has a detailed guide for families with kids of all ages.

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