Child protection apps & Co. – how can I make my smartphone & tablet safer?

Many parents are uncomfortable with the thought of their children being able to access any content on the Internet. The use of parental control software seems helpful in regulating children’s access. In practice, however, things look different: Filters often block even harmless content, or questionable content is not filtered out. This makes it all the more important to engage with the content together with the children. However, filters are useful as a supplementary measure to parents’ active involvement with their children’s media consumption.

Directly in the operating system

monitoring appsMany restrictions can be activated directly in the operating system of mobile devices. A very good app for monitoring is Mspy.

Apple iOS

On the iPhone, for example, you can set time limits for apps, restrict apps or specific content, disable app purchases or in-app purchases under Settings -> Screen Time. Also, be sure to set a “screen time code” so that your restrictions cannot be changed by your child.

In the screen time settings, you can also find the “Set up screen time for the family” feature (almost at the bottom). This tool allows you to view your child’s usage behavior in real time from your own device, and also set time limits for certain apps if needed. Prerequisite: you must set up family sharing to do this!

Google Android

In the Play Store, you can set parental control settings and various content restrictions for movies, series or music, for example. To do this, go to the Play Store menu -> Settings -> Parental Controls. You first set a pin code so that your child cannot change these settings. Then you can set, for example, that your child can only download apps with the PEGI 3 release. Disable in-app purchases under Menu -> Settings -> Authentication required for purchases!

About third-party apps

Both Android and IOS allow the installation of third-party parental control apps. These usually create a safe environment in which the child can move around and only access pre-determined apps. The respective stores offer various paid and free parental control apps. The SIP-BENCH III project, which tests different tools and makes recommendations on its website, provides guidance on which app is the right one.

Family Link

One possible free parental control app is Family Link from Google. The app allows you to monitor and restrict your child’s usage behavior. The only requirement: you need a Google account. The app needs to be installed on your device and the child’s device, and it takes about 15 minutes to set up!

You can:

  • Keep an eye on your child’s usage behavior,
  • Block app downloads,
  • set daily limits for usage,
  • lock the device for a certain period of time,
  • track your child.


Family Link does not block or filter inappropriate content!

Directly with the mobile providers

Basically, all mobile providers offer the possibility to deactivate services such as premium rate numbers or “purchase on cell phone bill”. These are often also summarized under the term “parental control blocking” and can be easily done online or directly in the store.