I have an older Samsung Infuse smart phone, circa 2011. It doesn’t have cellular service and was just sitting around in a drawer for a year or so. It didn’t have any personal information on it anymore, as I had already backed up everything important when I got a new phone. So as an alternative to buying a new tablet or other new device for our boys, ages 9 and 12, I decided to see if I could turn my old phone into something that would safely play a few approved games. Instead of giving them access to a “smart phone,” I felt more comfortable starting out with a “safe phone.”
To accomplish this, I did some research online and found an app called “Kids Place.” Kids Place is an Android parental control app that essentially creates a lock to childproof your device. When it’s enabled, you see a new home screen (it essentially “takes over” the device’s normal home screen and set up).
It was super easy. First, I removed the SIM card and all unnecessary apps, files, and photos from the device. You don’t have to do that, but I wanted to create as much available memory as possible. Then—using Wi-Fi access—I installed the app from the Google Play store. When you open the app, you simply check the features you want enabled or disabled and create a PIN code to lock your preferences. You can control which apps are allowed, whether or not the device has Wi-Fi access, and create time limits. You can also set it up for the Kids Place home screen to be the default when the device is turned on, even if the battery was removed.
I then downloaded a few parent-approved game apps to the phone. Now we call this device “the game phone.”
The Kids Place app has been a safe option for when I want to allow my kids to have a little fun screen time without the risk of accessing anything off-limits. It turned my old “smart phone” into a “safe phone.”
I can’t say whether or not this app would be fool-proof in a tech savvy teen’s hands, as there may be ways to override or “break” the application, but for younger kids who aren’t defiant, it works great.
Kids Place has been a good compromise for our boys who are longing for device independence, but not exactly ready yet. Our game phone is one way to help keep them in the slow lane as they steadily progress toward eventual technology acquisition.
Boys especially like devices for games, and parents like to know their kids are not being put at risk while playing on a device. For those two objectives, Kids Place has been a win-win for us!
There are many more features of Kids Place that we haven’t needed but are worth noting, including blocking phone calls, texts, and app downloads. You can get more information by going to Kiddoware.com.