The internet can be as harmful as it is helpful sometimes. But in the age of smartphones, completely controlling the internet is impossible.
What is possible though is helping kids have healthier relationships with their phones. This includes apps, messages, and other corners of the web.
One way to achieve this is with Android’s Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls app. Better yet, parents can run it alongside other parental control apps, like MMGuardian.
So let’s take a deeper look at Android’s new parental control app and how parents can use it to keep their kids safe. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s inside this guide:
What is Android’s Digital Wellbeing?
Google released an app called Digital Wellbeing and it’s built for Android devices. Users can add Digital Wellbeing to older devices via the Google Play Store. Newer devices come with Digital Wellbeing already installed.
Digital Wellbeing is similar to Apple’s Screen Time app. And it gives users more control over how they use their devices with features like:
- Unplugging features
- Productivity features
- Balance features
- Parental controls
We’ll cover each of these features in-depth in a minute.
What’s great about Digital Wellbeing for parents though is that it helps them answer important questions about their kids like:
What does my child use their phone for?
The better you understand how your child uses their phone, the better you can help them stay safe.
Video games, social media apps, and chat boards come with their own risks. But by knowing where your child goes online can minimize those risks.
What distracts my child the most?
Between homework and virtual school, there’s a lot kids need to get done at home. But apps like TikTok, YouTube, and others can get in the way. If you can find out what’s distracting your child, you can help them succeed academically.
What’s the last thing my child does on their phone at night?
If your child stays up late scrolling, that can impact their academic performance, mood, and overall health. And if your child receives suspicious messages late at night, that could be cause for concern.
Android’s Digital Wellbeing App features
As mentioned earlier, Android’s Digital Wellbeing app has four major features. The first three you and your child can set up on their phone together. The last option is for parents only.
#1: Unplugging Features
Turn down the blue light and make adjusting to bedtime easier with warmer tones on the screen.
Parental Use Case: Let your child ease into each evening with screens that aren’t as harsh on their eyes.
This mode switches a device to “Do Not Disturb” which silences notifications. Plus, Bedtime Mode switches the phone screen to grayscale.
Parental Use Case: Don’t let app notifications and messages from friends disrupt your child’s sleep schedule.
Work Profile lets users separate work and personal apps (like emails, calendar, and so on). Switch between profiles automatically with a schedule, or manually at the end of each workday.
Parental Use Case: Enable this on your own device to spend more quality time with your kiddo after work. Or, separate your child’s virtual school apps from personal ones.
#2: Productivity Features
Flip to Shhh
Turn a device over (so the screen faces down) to automatically turn on “Do Not Disturb.”
Parental Use Case: Kids can turn their phones over for a distraction-free family dinner.
Choose apps to pause temporarily when in Focus Mode. This keeps distractions at bay, and notifications to a minimum.
Parental Use Case: Your child has more time to focus on homework when TikTok isn’t an option …
#3: Balance Features
Check out usage stats, notification counts, and phone unlocks from the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard.
Parental Use Case: Get a better understanding of how and why your child uses their phone.
Set daily limits for apps and websites to pause use and switch off notifications.
Parental Use Case: Help your child develop a healthy relationship with their phone by limiting certain apps.
#4: Parental Controls
Connect your child’s device to yours and set “digital ground rules.” This includes screen time limits, app and website usage, and remote locks.
Download the Family Link app or tap Digital Wellbeing > Parental Controls to start.
From there you can decide which apps your kid can download from the Google Play Store. You can also control in-app purchases, and hide apps on their device.
Parents can also grant “Bonus Time.” This gives children a few more minutes on an app or website to finish an assignment, a mobile game, and so on.
Parental Use Case: Set boundaries with your children when it comes to how, when, and why they use their phones.
How to enable the Digital Wellbeing app
If you and your child have Android devices, the process is straightforward. Here are the steps to set up Digital Wellbeing:
- Open the device
- Open device settings
- Tap the “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls” icon
- Select “Your Digital Wellbeing Tools“ to sign in or create an account
- All access to the device’s usage information
From there, tap through options to set usage alerts, screen time limits, and so on.
NOTE: If you or your child has an older Android device, head over the Google Play Store. Download Digital Wellbeing and follow the steps above.
Can I use other parental control apps at the same time as Digital Wellbeing?
Yes, you can use more than one parental control app at a time (and you probably should). When you couple Digital Wellbeing with a sophisticated parental control app like MMGuardian, you get extra control.
This means more safety, more insights, and better protection for your child online.
For example, your child can quickly silence their phone with Digital Wellbeing’s Tap to Shhh feature. And you can control who can call or text your child’s phone with contact management tools via MMGuardian.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial to try MMGuardian on your child’s device. Plus, you can learn more about MMGuardian parental control app for iPhone and MMGuardian Android Android parental control app.
Summary: Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls
It’s tough keeping kids safe online, especially in the age of smartphones. Even though it’s impossible to totally restrict the internet, it’s possible to manage it.
Tools like Digital Wellbeing and MMGuardian work well alongside one another. Together they put parents in control of their child’s safety with features like:
- Contact management
- Web filtering
- Safety alerts
- Screen time limits
- Location tracking
- And more
Download Digital Wellbeing for Android phones from the Google Play Store — and sign up for a free 14-day trial of MMGuardian for iPhone or Android today!