How to protect kids from mature Android apps

With the latest update to the Android Market app, you can now set restrictions on what apps can be downloaded. We'll show you how to set a secure PIN and limit what your kids can download.

Google has been requiring developers to provide content ratings on all apps in the Android Market since last November. With the latest update to the Android Market app, you can now set restrictions on what apps can be downloaded. Here's how to set a secure PIN and limit what your kids can download:

Step 1:
Launch the Android Market app, hit the Menu Key and select "Settings."

Android Market settings
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 2:
Tap the drop-down arrow to display the content rating list.

Android Market Settings App List drop-down
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 3:
Select the highest maturity level you want to allow the Android Market to download, then hit the "OK" button. Here are the definitions of each level.

Android Market allow apps rated
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 4:
Tap the padlock icon to set a 4-digit PIN.

Android Market settings padlock
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 5:
Enter a 4-digit numeric PIN and hit the "OK" button.

Android Market settings PIN
Screenshot by Ed Rhee


The Android Market will now only allow the download of apps rated up to the level you've set. Restricting apps from the Android Market is a good first step to protecting your children from inappropriate apps. However, apps can still be installed outside of the Android Market, so it's probably a good idea to remain vigilant over what your children are doing on their phones.

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