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How to configure an under-14-proof Android smartphone

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How to configure an under-14-proof Android smartphone

It’s a moment that comes in every parent’s life, and that always comes first. It is the moment when you decide to give your son or daughter his first smartphone. And it is a delicate moment, if only for the fact that technology gives great possibilities but also exposes you to great risks, which the youngest are not always ready for.

Based on our experience, in this guide we explain how to set up one Android smartphone that is suitable for a person under 14that is, that allows it to be exploited without running unnecessary dangers.


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The screen that allows you to define the age range for video content and apps

The screen that allows you to define the age range for video content and apps

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How to do it, with the help of Google

To do this, we decided to use Family Link, the Google app which allows parents to supervise the use of a child’s smartphone (e which in 2019 was the subject of review bombing by kids who felt spied on).

If the smartphone chosen is used, it is necessary to make sure that there are no old Google profiles: it is better to delete all data and proceed with a reset (obviously not necessary if the device is new). Directly from the phone, you can then proceed to creation of a profile during the first configuration: once the date of birth has been entered, you will be asked to confirm that it is for a minor, communicated that the main settings will be adapted accordingly and asked to choose the Google account of a supervisor (a parent, that is).

It is important to remember that the mailing address on Gmail it can be used for a long time over the years, even when the person for whom it is being created will grow up, of age and will overlook the world of work: it would be better to bet on a combination of first and last name (if available) instead of nicknames that could be embarrassing in the future.

From then on, the procedure wizard is relatively simple, and you need to:

  • indicate the age range of the minor to establish a such as Play Store apps, content, search results and YouTube videos will have access;

  • possibly block and make invisible some apps on the smartphone;

  • decide whether or not the minor will be able to intervene on these settings;

  • determine how long yours will be kept chronology navigation.

The settings for the daily time limits

The settings for the daily time limits

The screen from which to decide the time when the phone will lock for the night

The screen from which to decide the time when the phone will lock for the night

Above all, the hours of use must be indicated: from what time to what time the smartphone will be accessible (both on school days and on weekends) and for how many hours a day it will be (again, on both school days and weekends). Setting a limit of daily hours is important, because the problem (that it is a problem that adults have as well) is to end up kidnapped by the mobile phone and neglect everything else. Especially in the beginning.

Once this is done, you can complete the configuration, choose a telephone operator, give the smartphone to your son or daughter and install the Family Link app also on your smartphone (and on that of the other parent, possibly), which will serve as a control and supervision tool. It should all work correctly, even if we have had it problems with Chrome (partially solved by installing Firefox): to avoid them, the advice of Google Italy is to click on any link during the configuration phase, before its completion.

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How Family Link works in everyday use

One thing to understand right away is that all settings can be changed at a later time, from the age range to the time to turn off and go to sleep, up to the authorized apps and time limits. And also it should be emphasized that we speak of actual time: if you allow 4 hours a day, the timer will only count the hours of real use of the smartphone, not even the standby period. In short: if the phone is turned on at 8 and not used for 5 hours, at 13 the 4 hours of our example will still all be available. In any case, at least until bedtime, the phone can still make and receive callsregardless of how long it has been used.

The parent can’t see remotely what happens on the child’s smartphone, however, can:

  • know which apps are installed (and also to establish that permission is asked before each installation);

  • which are the most used and how long;

  • know the position in real time Of the device

  • make it ring

  • to block.

In practice, this will result in a dialogue (even at a distance) between parents and children which should lead to negotiate proper use of the smartphoneextending or restricting the limits according to the needs, situations and also the maturity and competence demonstrated by the minor. The aim is to find a balance, which leads the under 14 to move with greater awareness in the digital world, until they are autonomous and can uninstall Family Link. Which while they are supervised, they obviously cannot do.

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