How to Set Up Parental Controls on Your Child’s Phone

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

July 12, 2022

Parental Controls on your child's phone

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Having access to a phone opens your child’s world to numerous positives, but also to a wealth of information, images and pressure that they are too young to process. Setting up the appropriate parental controls on your child’s phone will help, as will open conversation and a mutual agreement about what is (and isn’t) acceptable.

From apps and games that zap hours of time to social media and the inherent pressures and exposure that come with it, or perhaps the seemingly-innocent messaging between real life friends, there is no doubt that maintaining some insight into your child’s phone behaviour is important. We’ve teamed up with Qustodio to provide some tested tips on setting up parental controls that work for your family.

Why Should You Set Up Parental Controls on Your Child’s Phone?

Your child or teen may feel like you are being a ‘mean’ parent or that you just want to snoop on them, but setting up parental controls is extremely important. Not only can it help to protect your child from cyberbullying or explicit content, but it can also prevent expensive mistakes like in-app purchases.

In short, parent controls are peace of mind. I once heard someone liken it to teaching your child how to cross the road. First, you teach them to walk and they cross the road holding your hand; you repeat the safety rules to them each time about looking both ways and crossing at the lights, but you don’t just send them on their way to navigate the traffic themselves. You cross the road with them time and again until you are both sure that the safety message has sunk in and that the risk has been reduced.

Parent controls on your child’s phone or devices are the hand-holding that’s needed as they navigate their online space, as they create boundaries in this ‘always on’ world, and as they learn the implications of circumstances none of us parents had to deal with as children. Phishing, scamming, sexting, cyberbullying, log ins, passwords, keeping their details secure…it’s a veritable minefield.

So, what can you do? Your child or teen will make mistakes with their online interactions – that’s hard to avoid – but setting boundaries and limits from day one with parental controls will help to better prepare you and them. Digital tools like Qustodio will help to easily manage your concerns, or you can use the in-built device settings to set screen time limits, filter explicit language and content, block certain websites and more.

Our Kids Are the First Fully Digital Generation

qustodio parental controls

Our children are experiencing life online as the first fully digital generation – they don’t remember a time without access to the internet at the tip of their fingers. And new research from Qustodio shows that 19% of 8-year-olds have their own smartphone, jumping to 69% of 12-year-olds and 91% of 18-year-olds.

This time online can open our kids and teens to a wealth of wonderful knowledge and experience, but unfortunately also to more risk and health side effects. Headline figures from Qustodio’s research include:

  • 50% of online exploitation victims are between 12 and 15 years of age
  • 50% of kids admit to being addicted to their smartphones
  • 42% of kids have seen porn online
  • 33% of kids have experienced cyberbullying
  • 73% of high school students don’t get enough sleep
  • 63% of children who have more than 2 hours of daily screen time show lower academic performance than those who spend less time online

For parents, these figures are terrifying and it can feel as if you are facing an uphill battle to retain any kind of control in the situation. But tools and resources, like Qustodio, offer a whole host of parental controls that are easy to navigate and monitor from a real-time dashboard. Qustodio’s features allow you to set consistent time limits on your child’s devices, track calls and SMS, see your child’s location, block apps that are not appropriate, filter browser results and block adult websites, monitor YouTube viewing and social posts, and set downtimes before bed.

In addition, a series of advice articles help you talk to your children about how to spot and avoid data thieves, groomers, sexual predators, and stalkers.

Parental Controls Made Easy

Over 4 million parents trust Qustodio’s parental control tools to keep their kids’ screen time safe and balanced on every device — all from a single dashboard.

Available for Apple iPhone and iPad, Android, Mac, Kindle, Chromebook and Windows.

qustodio for how to set up parental controls on your child's phone

Parental Controls on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Apple Family Sharing

With Family Sharing, up to six family members can share an iCloud+ subscription, apps, books, music and more, all while having different Apple IDs. You can set up an Apple ID for kids, set permissions remotely with Screen Time, and approve spending and downloads from a parent’s device with Ask to Buy.

When you share iCloud+, family members can’t see each others’ photos, files or documents. And when you share other subscriptions, such as Apple Music or Apple TV+, each person will see their own preferences and recommendations – not the whole family’s.

Ask to Buy

If you want to see and approve what your child downloads, set up Ask to Buy. Then, when they ask to buy apps, films or other content, an alert is sent to you to approve or decline it directly from your own device.

This feature is useful for many reasons – you can be ‘in the know’ as to the apps your child is looking to get, you can start a conversation about why some or all of those apps are being requested, you can decline apps you feel are not appropriate, and you can have a better idea of which apps need a time limit set.

Screen Time

Is your child spending too much time on social media, or on a game? Is their mood affected or their homework suffering? With Screen Time, you can keep an eye on how much time your kids are spending on apps, visiting websites and on their devices overall. Review your children’s activity reports and set time limits for specific apps.

how to set parental controls on your child's phone

One of the many additional benefits of the Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time is that you can limit your child’s ability to install or delete apps and disable in-app purchases.

You can also:

  • Disable built-in features (e.g. Mail, Siri or AirDrop)
  • Automatically filter website content to limit access to adult content in Safari and other apps
  • Prevent explicit content and set content ratings. This will limit music with explicit content and movies, TV shows or apps with specific ratings.
  • Restrict Siri functions to prevent Siri from searching the web when you ask a question or to prevent Siri from displaying explicit language
  • Restrict Game Centre features such as multiplayer games, adding friends, or private messaging
  • Allow changes to privacy settings (e.g. allowing an app access to your camera or microphone)


Are you looking for advice on how to deal with your tween or teen? Download our FREE e-Book which is full of essential tips to help you survive the teen years!

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Parental Controls for Android Phones and Devices

Google Family Link

Google Family Link is about guiding your child or teen to good content and make better decision about how they spend their online time – whether that is helping them manage their apps by approving or blocking app requests from their device or using the activity reports to see how much time they’re spending on different apps and websites.

Google Family Link for parental controls

Screen time limits allow you to set the amount you feel is right for your child, as well as a ‘bedtime’ setting. Whether it’s time to go and play outside, have dinner, or have screen-free time, you can also remotely lock your child’s device.

Being able to check in on your child when they’re on the go is reassuring for parents, so the location feature is useful. There is also the option to manage in-app purchases and get teacher-recommended apps your child might like.

Maintaining Digital Wellbeing

Excessive screen time and an increasing need for balance in our busy lives means that digital wellbeing – alongside physical, emotional and mental wellbeing – is something we should all become familiar with.

The earlier we can instil this in our children’s lives, the better so these tips from Qustodio are a useful place to start and apply to all ages:

  1. Turn off all screens (including TVs) at least an hour before bedtime to improve sleep quality. Fill that hour with a ‘wind down’ activity like taking a bath, reading, listening to music, etc.
  2. Set consistent screen time limits that are appropriate for your child.
  3. Take a break after 45 minutes of screen time. Sitting and looking at a screen for hours on end is not great for any of us, so get up and walk around, go outside, have a stretch and take a few minutes to recharge yourself.
  4. Keep phones off the dinner table and away from family time. Enjoy the moment, make eye contact, and spend some real world time together.

Like this? Share it with your network!

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Published On: July 12th, 2022 / Categories: Sponsored Posts, Technology / Last Updated: April 18th, 2023 / Tags: , , , , /

About the Author: Emily Manning

Emily Manning
Emily is the coffee-loving Editor of MyKidsTime. Mum of one daughter and two naughty Tibetan Terriers, she is particularly partial to Curly Wurlys and unable to resist pretty stationery and new cookbooks. As an avid foodie and domestic goddess-wannabe, she is most likely to be found in the kitchen.

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