Phones have been invented and developed across the years to serve us with the convenience of fast and reliable means of communication. At present, they are not only used for communication but even for shopping, banking, and entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, sometimes the easiest way to shush our babies from obnoxious tantrum noises is handing our phones. And sometimes, it serves them beyond entertainment and much to our distress. They may accidentally spend some dollars, sneak into our messages, or view some unlikable contents. These, thus, should urge us to a baby proofing phone scheme.
The best and probably the most essential baby proofing phone tactic for any phone is to set up a screen lock. This means that not our babies and not anyone will be able to use even a bit of our phones. However, since we do have times when we like to hand over phones to our babies, this might not always work. We may have to utilize our phones’ built-in features or install some other third-party applications. These features and applications will allow our babies to have access to the phone but to a limited degree.
For the built-in features, for Android phones, we have three options. These include the “Pin an App” feature, “Multiple Users” feature, and the Google Play password. “Pin an App” sets a single app for our babies to use while “Multiple Users” will allow more. Google Play, conversely, is specific, but its password protects the app to block other app purchases. For iPhones, on the other hand, we have the “Guided Access” feature and the “Restrictions” feature. “Guided Access” will restrict a single app in use, while the “Restrictions” block unauthorized purchases and adult contents.
We can commit not to hand down our phones to our babies. But admit it or not, phones are actually helpful in some ways with all the educational apps circulating all over. We can commit, though, to watch our babies the entire time they are handling our phones. However, we are adults and parents that do have more responsibilities than just watching our children. So, as a solution, we can just baby proof our phones as a compromise.
Apparently, both Android and iOS, actually have built-in features for our baby proofing phone project. These are listed and discussed in the following.
Android Phones (and Tablets)
Screen Lock is probably the most basic security system phones have. And probably, it is the most basic among the baby proofing phone schemes. It is built primarily so that we can keep our phones’ privacy anytime, anywhere. At home, keeping our phones or screens locked means that they are totally off-limits to our babies. This is helpful in the sense that our babies might grab them just as they wish. And as much as possible, we want to keep our babies’ screen time counted.
As of the moment, there are about six locking systems in many android phones. These include the classic number pin, password, and pattern. Also, right now, there are face recognition, iris recognition, and bio-metrics unlocking settings. These are convenient such that figuring out how to turn on the phone is probably just a no-brainer to our babies. Setting up these security systems will completely deter them from exploring our mobile devices.
The lock options mentioned, of course, can be accessed through the phone’s settings. Usually, the pin, password, and pattern can be found under the Security or Lock Screen. The bio-metrics, on the other hand, is often under the “Bio-metrics and Security” or some other variations.
Pin an Application
The thing about screen lock is that, as mentioned, it means it totally sets our phones off-limits to others. However, we do have times when we hand them to our babies for valid reasons, probably for entertainment or education. Of course, once our phones are already unlocked, then all of our apps and files are unlocked as well. Then, our babies are free to do whatever they want as they please when our eyes are off them.
As a compromise, we can give our babies screen time, but we can limit their access to the apps. In fact, we can open an app for them and pin the app so that they cannot exit it. This means that they are only going to be in the same single app for their screen time. This baby proofing phone strategy is especially helpful for when we are in a public place. The magical entertainment quality of phones is going to shush loud babies in an instant.
To set the app pinning feature, we can, of course, go to the Settings and then the Security. Then, we have to scroll to find the Advanced or Addition Options or some other variations. Within it, we will have to search for keywords similar to “Screen Pinning” or “Pin Windows.” It should then be turned on so that it will be available for us anytime when we need it.
After turning on the screen pinning feature, we still have a couple of things to execute to pin an app.
- First, we must open the app we want to pin. Of course, it will be the one we want our babies to use.
- Then, we can open up our recent apps. Often, they can be accessed by pressing the Overview button. Recently used apps will then be shown in stacks. We want to make sure that the one on top is our kids’ app.
- Next, if the kids’ app is already on top of the stack, we can look for the icon of a pin. In some devices, there is just an options icon, and from there is the pin icon. Obviously, we will have to tap the pin icon. And that is it. The app will permanently be on the screen. Once our babies are done with their screen time, then we can just unpin the app back.
Any android device with at least the 5.0 OS, can have multiple user accounts set. This feature is widely present in tablets, and perhaps relatively so in phones. The feature will allow us to set an additional user account or “guest account”. Others even offer a “restricted account” option that asks to specify if it is for an adult or a child. Of course, for the child account, it will provide restrictions automatically for us. The user, the baby thus, can only use none other than approved apps.
- To set an additional user account, we have to go to the Settings and then to the Users.
- Then we tap that which says “Add User” or other variations.
- If the option is present, tap anything similar to “Restricted Profile”.
- After this, we can select the apps that we approve of for access from the list.
After setting the restricted user profile, we can then switch between users anytime. Simply swipe down and tap the Switch User icon located at the screen’s top right corner. This will vary, though, depending on the device. But the general method should pretty much be the same.
Google Play Lock
Google Play is just a single app, but our babies can go on a spree through it, accidentally purchasing apps. This can potentially happen even with a screen lock on. Perhaps, there will be a time when our babies will sneak our phones from our hands. That is why our Google Play accounts should be included in our baby proofing phone project. Conveniently though, we can protect our Google Play apps with passwords to prevent the shopping spree scenario.
- From our trusty Google Play Settings menu, look for Parental or User Controls and turn it on. After, we can set up the content restrictions. This will avoid accidental installations of inappropriate apps.
- Also, we can look for the “Require password for purchases” or other variations and turn it on. This will prevent our kids from installing new apps or unauthorized buys.
iPhones (and iPad)
As android phones, iPhones also have a Screen Lock as the most basic security system. Setting it up, again, keeps our phones or screens locked and totally off-limits to our babies. Similarly, this can be set up with touch or face recognition, pin, and password. These lock options should be accessed from the general Settings, Security or Screen Lock, or something like it.
Guided Access Feature
Probably, one of the best baby proofing phone features for parents is the iOS Guide Access. It is an extensive option that locks almost the whole of our phones. That while still giving someone access to the screen.
When using Guided Access, we are disabling parts of the screen and of the phone, generally. For instance, when our kids are to watch videos, we can give them that, but we block the search bar. In other words, they will not be able to search for other potentially inappropriate videos.
- To set it up, in the Settings, we go to the General, and then to the Accessibility. Finally, we then look for the Guided Access. We have to scroll all the way down for this, under the Learning.
- Of course, we tap the Guided Access to enter its settings. Then we turn it on.
- Next, we go one screen back to turn on the Accessibility Shortcut. This will let us enable the Guided Access mode by tapping the home button thrice. Then, the Guided Access is finally set for use.
- To use, we must open the app our babies are going to use.
- As mentioned, triple-tap the home button. This will launch the screen where we can customize the Guide Access for the current app.
- According to the instructions, circle the zones on the screen that are to be disabled. As mentioned, we can trace around the search bar for Youtube, for instance. The area will then gray out as we trace around it.
- Lastly, we have to press the Options in the bottom left of the screen. This is where we can disable physical buttons like the sleep or wake button and the volume. Also, we can set a time limit from this. Once enabled, the phone will lock automatically as the time runs out. In the main settings for the Guided Access, additionally, we can enable audio notification. This will alert us when there is just about 30 seconds before the phone will lock.
- When we are over Guided Access, we can triple-tap the home button again. We will have to enter the passcode or use the face or touch ID. And then at the upper left, tap End finally.
This feature will allow us to block adult content and unauthorized app store purchases.
- From the Settings, we can go to Screen Time and then look for Content and Privacy Restrictions.
- Obviously, we tap Enable Restrictions to activate. Then from this are “iTunes and App Store Purchases”, “Allowed Apps”, and “Content Restrictions”.
- The “iTunes and App Store Purchases” option will allow us to install or delete apps and make in-app purchases. Also, it has an option to ask for a password before purchase or download.
- The “Allowed Apps”, on the other hand, enables us to disable certain apps totally. For example, we can disable Airdrop, Wallet, FaceTime, and others.
- Lastly, the “Content Restrictions” is basically for restricting adult contents, websites, or R-rated movies. Not only can we restrict the internet content here, but also the apps and gaming. We can even block our babies from playing multiplayer games or adding friends.
For more control, we can actually install third-party applications on both Android and iOS.
Android Phones (and Tablets)
For android, a wide variety of third-party application locks can be downloaded from the Play Store. For example, there is this one called “App Lock” which allows us to lock individual Apps. The protection, of course, is by requiring a password when opening specific apps. For example, we can individually lock our messages, social network apps, banking apps, shopping apps, and the like.
In addition, there are also available parental control apps like this one called “Kids Place Parental Control.” It is a sandbox app that displays only the apps that we approve of. In fact, it even blocks access to an unapproved app that an approved app is trying to open. For instance, we can approve the camera access but not for Facebook. Therefore, our kids cannot post photos on Facebook using the camera. In case they try, they will be redirected to the Kids Place dashboard. It also limits accessibility for some parts of the phone like the Notifications bar or the Recent Apps button. Similarly, this parental control app will require a pin or password for exit and adjusting settings.
iPhones (and iPad)
Like the android, iOS also has third-party parental control apps that can be downloaded and installed. However, like many other utility apps, these parental control apps will only give us less direct control. This is if relative to Android. This thing about iOS is intended so that the phone is significantly safer.
One parental control app, for instance, is this one called “Qustodio.” It features web content filtering, app blocking, and a detailed log of activities. This app also allows us to monitor our kids’ activities from anywhere. We may just have to pay a bit much for this app though. But it should be better than keeping our phones open for unauthorized purchases done by our babies.
How can we protect our phones from physical damages from the grasp of our babies?
So we have tackled how to protect our babies from inappropriateness from our phones. We also tackled how to save our money from accidental, unauthorized purchases. However, as our babies may have no concept yet about the expense, our phones might look just like other toys. This means that they may come flying out in one toss, risking breaks and cracks.
To prevent this scenario from happening, it is important that our phones are equipped with protectors. Some people skip this essential, but we are calling it essential because it really is. We have to armor our phones with cases so that their parts are still together in case they fall off. Also, our screens are the most vulnerable to breaks and cracks. This is why we need to secure them with screen protectors. These even protect our screens from our sharp nails.
What other hazards do phones pose to our babies?
Aside from inappropriate content, our phones pose physical hazards to our babies. First, it can be as hard as stone if it hits our baby’s head. Therefore, we should watch when they are raising our phones over their heads. Also, our phone chargers pose a strangulation hazard and electrocution when plugged. This tells, thus, to keep our phone chargers hidden from the grasp of our curious little ones. We should also never place our babies charging phones as they may grab the plug and shock themselves.