What parental controls can I use on a child’s phone to block apps with in-app purchases?

It’s no secret that children love to play games on their phones, but the increasing popularity of in-app purchases has created a new challenge for parents. Kids often make these purchases without realizing the financial consequences, leaving parents to deal with the emotional fallout and unexpected bills.

These purchases can quickly add up, leading to unexpected expenses and potentially strained family finances. In addition to the financial impact, the emotional consequences can be significant. Children may feel disappointed or embarrassed if they’ve made a purchase without permission, while parents might experience frustration and anger. Fortunately, there’s a solution! Parental controls offer a way to protect your children from these potential pitfalls and put your mind at ease.

Built-in Parental Controls on Mobile Devices

Both iOS and Android devices offer built-in parental controls that you can use to restrict app access, limit screen time, and manage in-app purchases. Here’s how to set them up:

iOS (iPhone and iPad):


Remember to periodically review your child’s device and adjust the settings as needed. These built-in parental controls provide a solid foundation for managing your child’s digital experience.

Third-Party Parental Control Apps

Third-party parental control apps offer more comprehensive features and customization than built-in options. These apps often include advanced settings for blocking in-app purchases, limiting screen time, monitoring app usage, and even tracking your child’s location.

Here are some popular options:

App Name Strengths Weaknesses Pricing
mSpy Comprehensive monitoring, in-depth app blocking, detailed usage reports, remote control features May be considered intrusive by some parents, expensive Subscription-based, starting at $29.99 per month
FlexiSpy Similar features to mSpy, including call recording, social media monitoring More expensive than other options, may have limited compatibility with some devices Subscription-based, starting at $68 per month
Google Family Link Free, easy to set up, good for younger children, basic app blocking Limited features compared to paid apps, not as advanced in monitoring and control Free
Norton Family Strong reputation for security, web filtering, content control, time limits Limited app blocking features, may not be as customizable as some other options Subscription-based, starting at $49.99 per year

Consider the following factors when choosing a third-party app:

Remember, parental control apps are just one tool in a larger strategy for managing your child’s online experience. Open communication and education are essential for promoting responsible digital citizenship.

Tips for Effective Parental Control Implementation

Tips for Effective Parental Control Implementation

Parental controls can be powerful tools, but they are most effective when used in conjunction with open communication and ongoing monitoring. Here are some tips for successful implementation:

Remember, parental controls are not a replacement for open communication and active parenting. By combining these strategies, you can create a safe and healthy online environment for your child.

In today’s digital world, it’s more crucial than ever to equip yourself with the tools to protect your children. Parental controls are not just about limiting screen time; they’re about safeguarding your child’s emotional well-being and financial security. Unintended in-app purchases can lead to unexpected financial burdens and emotional distress, especially for children. By implementing the parental controls discussed in this article, you can take proactive steps to ensure a safe and positive online experience for your child. Remember, taking the time to set up these controls is an investment in your child’s well-being and peace of mind. You can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, knowing that you’ve taken steps to protect your children from the potential pitfalls of in-app purchases.