Parental Controls for Android

(In late 2012 the Android Market was replaced with the Google Play Store)

Android has no general built-in parental control features, but does include rudimentary controls in the Google Play store, and you may also put apps on your Android smartphone or tablet to help keep your child safe on the Internet.

See Parental Controls for some general advice about mobile devices.

Google Play App Filtering

Google Play is the latest version of the Android Market. It replaced the Android Market in late 2012, bringing with it storefronts not only for apps, but also for music, books, magazines, and movies and TV. Built-in content filtering is only available for apps. To enable app content filtering, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Google Play app from the home screen.
  2. Press the menu button. This is the button with three vertical dots in the upper righthand corner, adjacent to the search icon.
  3. Select the "Settings" option.
  4. Scroll down to User controls.
  5. Choose the "Set or change PIN" option to set a PIN in order to restrict access to the settings.
  6. Select the "Content filtering" option.
  7. Select the highest maturity level you wish to allow, without using the PIN to override.

For more information, see Google Play Application Content Ratings, or How to setup parental controls on Android.

Realize again that in the Google Play store, this only filters apps, it does not affect content in music, books, magazines, or movies and TV.

Google Play Block Purchases

If you have Google Play Store version 3.1 or higher, you can set a PIN to prevent accidental or unapproved purchases. Once you set up this PIN any purchase in the Google Play Store (app, book, movie, or any in-app purchases) will require you to enter this PIN. Note: this will not restrict any free apps. 

To set a PIN follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app
  2. Press Menu and touch Settings
  3. Press "Set or change PIN"
  4. Enter a PIN, and press OK
  5. Re-enter your PIN
  6. Check the box "Use PIN for purchases"

For more information on changing, resetting, or removing your PIN, go here.

Another way to restrict use of the Google Play Store is to use an app blocker and require a pin or passcode to even open the Google Play Store. This would then prevent any purchases or downloads. You can use an app blocker like Perfect App Protector, APP Lock, or App Locker II to do this. MobileMinder tablet edition also does this.

Parental Control Android Apps

Some Android parental control programs include:

For monitoring:

For filtering, see Android Content Filtering Browsers.

For tracking:

For gallery control

For anti-sexting and anti-cyberbullying

For personal safety