Kids’ mobile phones are no longer just expensive toys. Phones help parents keep in touch, and kids to learn and develop in step with the times.
You’ve already read up on the pros and cons of kids having smartphones (as well as how to choose the right device). However, buying a phone for your child (or repurposing your old one) is only half the battle. The gadget needs to be configured properly, and that’s something you should do for yourself.
First, you will need to create an account for your child. On an Android device, it has to be a Google account, without which your kid cannot make full use of the phone. Here’s how.
Create a Google account on your child’s phone
In much of the world (including the US, UK, and Australia), users must be at least 13 to create their own Google account. Some countries have different age requirements, however; for example, a majority of European citizens are subject to more strict requirements. It’s not hard to fool the system by giving a false date of birth, of course, but that would violate Google’s terms of service and could result in the account being blocked.
What’s more, creating a separate child account tied to your own is really handy. It gives your little one access to all necessary services but leaves you in charge of the account.
Preparing a used smartphone
If you intend to give your child your old smartphone, start by resetting it to factory settings. That wipes the memory, including anything that isn’t for underage consumption. To do a reset:
- Open Settings;
- Go to System (usually at the very end of the list);
- Tap Advanced;
- In the drop-down list, select Reset options;
- Tap Erase all data (factory reset);
- Confirm the deletion and follow the instructions.
If you prefer not to reset your smartphone before giving it to your kid, you must first delete your account from it. Although Android supports multiple accounts, there really should be no other accounts on a child’s device.
If you attempt to create a Google account for your child on a phone with your own, you will see a warning message and not be allowed to continue. Either way, you will end up deleting any existing Google accounts from your smartphone. To do so:
- Open Settings;
- Select Accounts;
- Locate your account in the list, tap it, and select Remove account;
- Confirm the deletion.
Creating a new Google account for your child
Now, you can set up the new account. To create one on a used device:
- Open Settings.
- Go to Accounts and tap Add account.
- Select Google.
The new or reset smartphone just needs to be turned on and connected to a mobile network or Wi-Fi. After the system updates, you will be prompted to sync your data (skip this step for now) and sign in to a Google account.
The next steps are the same for both new and used devices. On the Google account sign-in page:
- Tap Create account;
- In the drop-down menu, select For my child;
- Tap Yes, continue;
- Enter your child’s first and last names, then tap Next;
- Enter their date of birth and gender, then tap Next;
- Create an e-mail address for your child or enter an existing one;
- Tap Next;
- Set a strong, unique password for your child’s account, then tap Next;
- Enter your e-mail address or phone number, then tap Next;
- Read Google’s terms of service, check the boxes to confirm you accept them and consent to data processing, and tap Agree;
- Enter the password for your account so that the system knows it’s really you creating the child’s account.
Google’s verification of the data can take some time, and you may also be asked to create a family group if you don’t already have one.
All done! Your child now has a Google account. They can use it without restrictions, but you’re actually in control of what happens with the account. For example, you will receive e-mail notifications if someone logs in to the account from an unknown device, tries to reset the password, and so on.
What’s more, with a family group you can manage your child’s purchases and share games, books, and TV shows with them. Here’s how to set up a family group and other important features on your child’s phone.
Protect your kid’s smartphone
Another must is, of course, protecting the device with reliable mobile antivirus and installing a parental-control application. To control your child’s smartphone and computer activity with the same application, you need a versatile solution such as Kaspersky Safe Kids.