As much as we love our smartphones, the horrors they bring with them are also unimaginable, especially for our kids. Keeping them away from smartphones altogether is no longer an option in current times. One mistake could cause them to go viral and lose dignity. Online predators could reach them through different means. If nothing else, you could easily find countless instances of cyberbullying against children.
Currently, we have two major operating systems that govern the smartphone space. That is either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android OS. iOS is entirely limited to Apple’s devices which means Apple gets to decide what features to provide their users, especially for monitoring, access restriction, and other features for child use. Since Android is an open-source OS, many companies use it in their smartphones and each of them offers a wide range of personalized restriction options. While we will explore some of them here, our focus would primarily be on features that are provided in stock Android.
Android is quite limited in terms of child protection options when it comes to the stock operating system. It may be considered a drawback but Android actually allows smartphone manufacturers to define their own level of security. The basic functionality required to implement the said security measures is still present in the security suite of the operating system. That means if a company wanted, they could make their android device extremely secure or not add any features at all.
Regardless, there are still some things that you can do in Android to beef up the security of your device and make it safe for your kids.
Google Play Restriction
One most commonly implemented feature in Android is the ability to restrict application installation on Android devices through Google Play Store. This is the primary store built into the Android OS to install applications on your smartphone. By adding a password feature, the app store restricts users from installing any applications unless they provide a password. Any adult can set this password, making it impossible for the child to install anything unwanted or without the permission of their parent/guardian.
Third-Party Apps Blocking
One of the best things about Android is its openness, not only in terms of the OS you use but also the applications that you install on it. One does not necessarily have to install an app from the Google Play Store only. The OS also allows direct installation of apps that are not published on the store which is an extremely convenient feature for many people.
However, this feature also means that a child can install apps from other sources when the Google Play Store is not accessible. Thankfully, this feature can be disabled in the settings as it is a stock feature present in almost every version of Android. In some instances, you can also add a password protection layer on it to further prevent the child from accessing this option. On the flip side, parents can also use this feature to add custom-built apps to the smartphone that their kids can use for their benefit.
The best thing about Android OS is that it gives applications deep access to root systems on the phone, allowing them to effectively manipulate different functions that can make the device more secure. That is exactly what third-party security applications do and nowadays, you can find a wide range of options to choose from. You can set multi-level security options and even define your own protocols to make the phone safe for your kids without hampering their usage experience.
Spyware and other apps can access your private data by using your smartphone’s built-in hardware, including a microphone, camera, GPS, etc. While this was a major concern in previous Android versions, the newest iterations have added the option of controlling these features much more directly. This means you can now choose what app uses what feature in your smartphone, including the apps built into the system by default.
The primary difference that sets iOS apart from any Android device is that the hardware and software come from the same company. Apple also has a much stricter policy when it comes to OS access and manipulation. While the reasons behind that may be varied, it does still lead to a higher level of security on the smartphone at a basic level.
Application Tracking Control
The most praised security feature that Apple has introduced in its smartphones so far is app tracking. This allows you to see in detail what hardware and permissions each of the apps use and individually control what they should or should not be allowed to do. You can actively change these permissions in the settings menu and even stop apps from requesting permissions entirely so that your child does not change any settings while using the smartphone.
App Store Security
Apple also keeps up with its tradition of better basic security by making the App Store much more difficult to get into. Not only do developers need to pay higher fees, but they also need to go through a much stricter approval process before their apps can get published. This means any applications that may contain malicious code or features will automatically be barred from the store.
Password Protection on App Installation
iOS also allows you to add a password requirement any time your kids try to install any application on their smartphones which means they cannot do it without your permission.This is a basic feature available on all the latest iOS versions and on every device model running them.
Parental Controls and Application Monitoring
There are some basic parental controls given in iOS that you can activate on a device that you want to give to your child. However, these only let you stop FaceTime usage and allow you to decide what websites can be opened on the Safari browser.
Apple’s iCloud service also allows parents to monitor the activity on the device that they have given to their child. Things like your children’s emails, contact lists, notes, and photos can be viewed through this service.
Whether you opt for Android or iOS is entirely up to you. We have shared the security features in each OS that allow you to make the device secure for your children. If you want basic and easy-to-use security, then iOS could be your choice but if you want greater control and customization, then Android can be a better option. Ultimately, your decision should be based solely on what you think is the best way to protect your children.