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Android Parental Controls

Intro: Many adults love the flexibility and power of the Android operating system. At Protect Young Eyes, this combination of digital flexibility and power make it a difficult operating system for parents to control. This is why we as a general rule, Protect Young Eyes suggests parents “train” kids how to use the Internet during the teen years on Apple (iOS) devices. The Apple iOS is more of a closed box and easier for parents to control with Restrictions, Family Sharing, and Guided Access. But, if you decide to stick with Android, then follow the steps below.

Step 1: Set up OpenDNS on your home’s router.

Step 2: Recently (2017), Google introduced Family Link, which gives parents more control over their child’s device, including screen time, time of day controls, and app downloads. You can read more about it here.

Step 3: Find software that best fits your situation! 


  • Do you have teens and adults who want the best accountability with easy-to-use reports and amazing, free e-books to stay informed? Then Covenant Eyes is for you, which you can read more about by clicking here. Covenant Eyes also has a great “app lock” option for blocking Google Play, Chrome, and other apps on the device.
  • Do you just want to manage screen time or just block certain apps? The Our Pact might be a great option (either free or paid).
  • Probably the most complete filter + screen time + app monitoring for younger Internet users (up to early high school) comes from Circle with Disney, which you can read about here.
  • Do you have an extreme case (very rare) where your kid absolutely needs a phone but you need to spy on your kid due to his/her behavior? Then mSpy might work well. *Note that in two years of talking to parents, I’ve only ever recommended this solution ONCE.

*Don’t forget that most cell providers have their own suit of parental controls, but other than Verizon, they are pretty weak. Verizon Family Base. AT&T Parental Controls. T-Mobile FamilyWhere. Sprint Safety & Control.

Step 3: Review device activity and have intentional conversations with your son/daughter often.

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