How to set up parental controls on your smartphone

Did you finally give in and purchase a new phone for a young person in your family — and you’re a little nervous about it?

We get it. There’s a lot of questionable content on the Internet, and there are real concerns about the social, emotional and educational issues that arise from excessive screen time.

The good thing is that there are tools that allow parents and caregivers to set boundaries and parental controls as your children test out their first phone. Here’s how to get started.

Set up Parental Controls on iPhone

On Apple devices, we recommend that you first set up Family Sharing so that you can manage your child’s screen time, purchases and other actions from your device. With Family Sharing, you can share subscriptions and locations, limit purchases, and of course, set up parental controls.

  • To set up Family Sharing, go to Settings > > [your name] > Family Sharing, then follow the instructions to set it up.
  • You can now add a family member to your family group. You may also need to create an Apple ID. Here’s how.

Now, you can set up parental controls. To set up Screen Time for a member of your family:

  • Go to Settings > > [your name] > Family Sharing > Screen Time.
  • Tap the child you want to set up Screen Time for.
  • Tap Screen Time, then follow the onscreen instructions.

You can now go to your child’s device to set up Screen Time, safety, communications, content and privacy settings. Here’s a detailed explainer from Apple to adjust these settings.

Set up Parental Controls on Android

Like Apple devices, you can use the Family Link app on Android devices as a central place to control parental controls. This will allow you to create an account for your child, manage your child’s screen time and apps, know their location, and restrict access to certain content. Here’s how to get started:

  • Download and install Family Link.
  • Open the app on your device and follow the on screen instructions to get started.
  • To begin managing the parental controls on your child’s device, follow these steps from Google to limit screen time, allow or block apps, and find their location. You will need access to your child’s device to complete the steps.

For additional information and troubleshooting, browse this help guide from Google.