Making an Android device kid safe

No money, no time, no additional equipment. But there's a birthday boy desperate to get on his new Nexus 7 that He's just got and you've had zero time to e-safety up the home.

Step 1: Download applock from the play store

This is an incredible app, simple and effective. Choose a pin then simply select from the list of installed apps what you want to be locked and what you dont. If a selected app is opened a lock screen with the pin will be presented.

Good ones to lock down:

  • Settings,
  • Google plus,
  • Gmail,
  • Gdrive,
  • Play store (theres wiggle room on this one),
  • Application installer,
  • YouTube

Step 2: Play Store

You can simply block this, or you can change access levels and lock out the settings.

Open the play store app and click menu-> settings...

There will be a section called user controls, click on Content Filtering. You can choose from everyone, low maturity, medium maturity, high maturity and all. Choose as you see fit.

Below this is the Set or Change PIN setting click this then add a pin, once in place you can check the pin to purchase preference if you want to add your card details. Now google play is filtered and locked down. (Personally I did not add a card and will be using the play gift cards instead)

Step 3: OpenDns

Next we need to filter the internet, the simplest way is to use openDNS family shield. The family shield is a pre-configured DNS service that blocks the obvious stuff such as porn. What we need to do is enter 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123 as the DNS servers for the device. There are several ways to do this and a few apps for rooted phones.

On some devices you can go to settings -> wireless and networks -> wifi-settings -> menu -> advanced settings. From here you can click Use static IP, input the appropriate details but use the DNS servers from above.

Other devices (The Nexus line for example) you can only issue a static IP when you connect to the network. So go to your network settings and the click forget on your home ssid. Then click on it again to rejoin, only this time check the advanced options box which will allow you to issue a static IP and enter the DNS servers.

You can also sign up to OpenDNS to have more control over the settings, details can be found here :

http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/

Step 4: Settings profile Lite

Additionally you can install this app from the play store, it allows you to set times on the wireless or sound etc. Great for limiting use when not being around. Once set up as you need, just lock the app with applock.

Step 5: Panic and plan ahead

Your not about to win parent of the year just yet, being paranoid is a good thing in such matters. What's safe today might not be safe tomorrow, how long until the little buggers guess the pin was your birthday. Its only going to get worse as they get older also, so start looking into alternative measures, such as firewalls with content filtering.

I for one cant wait for the day they work out how to get the openDNS off, only to be greeted by a different looking block screen.