Apple's iPhones sport much better parental controls than Android phones

Parental control settings in iPhones are much better and varied compared to those in Android phones, says Brian X. Chen in The New York Times. If you're hesitant in allowing your child to access online content, apps and games, gifting him or her an iPhone will surely soothe your nerves.

The Family Sharing feature in Apple devices as well as parental control settings in iTunes lets you view and control what your child sees and plays. Once you set the controls in motion, you child won't be able to access apps with mature content, make in-app purchases or use mountains of cellular data on videos and games without your permission.

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“We want every customer, young and old, to have a positive and safe experience online with our products. That’s why we’ve built parental controls into iOS devices, Apple TV and Macs, so parents have easy-to-use tools that protect their children online,” sais Apple in a statement.

Given that children are getting increasingly exposed to mature content available online and even indulge in sexting, if you gift them iPhones, you will be able to disable cellular data usage in video apps like YouTube and also set controls on in-app purchases where every time your child tries to make a purchase, you will receive an notification in your iPhone which will detail out the nature of content and the cost and will let you allow or deny that purchase.

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In contrast, parental control settings in Android phones are woeful at best. "While it may be tempting to save money by buying cheaper Android devices for children, parents who want tight control over their children’s activities on smartphones will be better off buying iPhones for the family. Apple’s parental controls were detailed and took a while to set up, but they accomplished all of the restrictions that I wanted. The Android system was sorely lacking in features for regulating minors and only offered incomplete solutions for a small number of restrictions, said Chen.

On Android phones, there are no mechanisms to block content within websites and vault apps and downloading apps can only be blocked at "certain maturity levels." You will also struggle to disable usage of cellular data for certain apps.

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However, the best way to monitor your children's online behaviour is to communicate with them directly and make them understand right from wrong. No matter how strong parental control settings within devices are, there will always be loopholes that your children may exploit sooner or later.

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