Ah, kids. They are little bundles of joy until they start begging to use your phone to play. You hand over the phone with trepidation of just what you will get back once they are done playing. Before you give any kid that phone, use these tips to toddler proof your phone. Whether you use an Android phone or an iPhone, you will find useful tips to keep that precious piece of technology safe in those tiny hands.
Using a case not only protects your phone from your kids, but also from any time you might drop it accidentally. You can find expensive tough cases that guarantee to survive high falls or you can settle with a cheap rubber case that will let your phone bounce when it drops so it doesn’t take such a hard fall.
Even with a protective case, the screen of your phone might need a little extra protection. Little fingers are often sticky and that mess will get all over the screen. A screen protector covers the screen and prevents it from getting smashed and sticky. There are cheap protectors and fancy ones that guarantee that the phone would even survive a hammer.
Make sure to set the initial home screen lock. This is something you probably already have on your device, but it really needs to be something more than just swiping a single direction to open the home screen because a toddler will figure that out. Use a password or design code. Choose something that a toddler can’t figure out by swiping around the screen. A screen lock means your kid can’t get into the phone without your permission first.
Set Password or Turn off In-App Purchases
Probably the scariest thing for parents is when a child starts spending money making purchases on a device without your knowledge. Many apps include in-app purchases and a child could easily hit a few buttons to buy something they need in the game without even knowing they are spending actual money. A toddler can easily hit buttons and start buying apps willy-nilly.
You have two options to prevent this unwanted spending. You can turn off in-app purchases completely or set passwords for every purchase. Turning off in-app purchases means a child can’t buy extra lives or something they need in a game. The app just won’t let them. The problem is that this setting prevents even you from making purchases. You would have to turn it off before making a purchase.
If you don’t make in-app purchases then that option is perfect. If you do want to be able to make purchases but not let your kid make purchases then you can set a password. You will be prompted to enter the password for every purchase, whether it is an app purchase or in-app purchase. Your kid will have to ask your permission to buy something and toddlers won’t be able to figure out your password by just typing random buttons.
Keep in mind that iPhones have the ability to allow purchases without a password for 15 minutes after an initial purchase is made. If you let a child make a purchase they can then continue to make purchases for 15 minutes without your knowledge. You can easily turn off this feature.
Set up Content Filtering, Restrictions, and Parental Controls
Both Android and iOS devices have built-in options to protect your kids from using inappropriate material. These options allow you set what your kids can search for in app stores. It also limits what apps appear in a search based on search terms or ratings. This keeps your kids from seeing low rated apps that might be spam.
On Android phones, content filtering and parental controls are found in the Google Play Store account settings. Parental controls are found right in settings and content filtering is found under Use Controls.
In iOS devices, restrictions are found in settings right in the device. It works for all apps and not just the app stores.
App Locker App
When it comes to a toddler, chances are that the kid isn’t going to be going to the app stores and looking for things to download. They just want to hit the screen and make things happen. If that is the case for you, then you might consider an app locker app. These apps allow you to lock specific apps so they only open with a password or passcode. You can lock every single app you don’t want your toddler to open, such as app stores, emails, certain games, SMS, phone dialing, and even device settings. Hand over your phone and your toddler will have fun tapping the screen or using apps you are going with your child playing with and not fearing the repercussions.
Android Restricted Users
This is by far the best option but not every device has it. Certain Android devices will let you create separate users. When you give someone your phone to use, you can change it to that special user settings to protect yourself. You can even create a restricted user. Restricted users can’t open certain apps (that you set yourself) or use certain parts of the phone. Create a restricted user for your toddler and only allow friendly apps to open with those tiny fingers. When you kid wants to use the device just simply switch to their user profile.
Unfortunately, not all Android phones have this option. To check if yours does, go to Settings and then scroll and tap open the devices option. You will see a Users option and when you tap that you will the option to add a new user. If you don’t see these options then your device doesn’t have them.
It might seem like a lot of steps to take to protect your phone from toddler fingers, but luckily most of them only require setting them once for full protection. These steps toddler proof your phone from both breaking the device and making unwanted purchases.