• Parental Control and Data Usage Tips for Android

    This page provides basic tips on managing data and controlling the usage of your Android device. It includes the use of parental controls and “screen time” systems.

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  • Simple ways to improve device usage for Android users

    • 1 Built-in Parental controls for Android
      • Usage and parental controls are great tools for managing device access and online activity, especially for children/students. They help ensure online safety and focus, combating addictive behaviours. These controls are integral to cyber-safety programs.

        While we provide guidance, it’s essential to stay updated on these controls, especially with school-age children. Social media platforms typically require users to be at least 13 years old.

        Please note that operating systems and devices vary in settings. The images and steps in the headings below are a general guide only. We advise you to research these topics on a regular basis, particularly if you have school-age children.

        For more information:

        A note about Android parental controls:

        While iPhones and iPads are controlled by Apple, Android phones are manufactured by various companies like Samsung, Nokia, or Oppo. Since each phone implements the Android system differently, providing step-by-step instructions for every setting is challenging.

        Most Android phones come with built-in parental controls tailored to their specific interface. We recommend searching online for parental controls specific to your phone model to explore available options.

        Further information:

    • 2 Other parental controls for Android
    • 3 The Digital Wellbeing feature
      • Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature tracks your daily screen time, notifications, and phone unlocks. It also gives you access to parental controls, screen time, data tracking, and other usage systems.

        The Digital Wellbeing feature is accessible through your device’s settings. You need to turn it on. The first time you open Digital Wellbeing, you need to set up your profile.

        1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
        2. Tap Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.
        3. Under “Your Digital Wellbeing tools,” tap Show your data.

        For more information:

        The Digital Wellbeing feature

    • 4 Set ground rules with Google Family Link
      • The Google Family Link app lets you connect a child’s device to your own so that you can set digital ground rules. You can use it to create a Google Account for your child, manage the apps they use, keep tabs on their screen time, and set a bedtime after which they are unable to use the device.

        You can turn on Family Link in one of two ways

        • Open Settings.
        • Tap Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.

        Or download the Family Link app to your Android phone.

        For more information:

        Set ground rules with Google Family Link

    • 5 Other time-tracker apps
      • If you only need to track your time, parental control systems may be too restrictive. Consider using apps or software designed for tracking, recording, and managing your time, especially for work-related purposes.

        other tracking app

    • 6 Controlling Android Mobile data usage
      • There’s a range of ways to prevent your Android devices from using more mobile or wifi data than you’re expecting. Many of these relate to automatic or background functions of the device or its apps.

        Adjusting these settings could reduce the number of notifications, result in slightly outdated apps, or prevent news from refreshing. Finding the right balance may require toggling different features until you’re satisfied. After updating your device, you may need to reapply these settings. Using an app to monitor your usage could also be beneficial.

        For more information:

        Let’s start with a few simple steps:

      • 01
        Use home wifi

        Even if you have mobile access at your property, connect your mobile phone to your home or property Wi-Fi network, as this internet connection most likely has more included data.

        phone setting

      • 02
        Disable notifications

        Turn off “push notifications” for emails, social media and GPS apps.

        Notifications can use just a small amount of data each time, but your device is constantly checking to see if there’s anything to be downloaded, so it can rapidly add up. This can use both battery and data. Turning off notifications varies between Android versions. Use the Android support page to find the right instructions for you, or check in the manual for your phone.

        For more information:

        Android Help: Control notifications on Android

        phone setting

      • 03
        Disable autoplay

        Turning off video autoplay for social media. Change your settings in apps like Facebook and Instagram so videos do not automatically start playing.

        disable autoply

      • 04
        Use SMS

        Using SMS messages rather than apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, because these apps use data to send text messages.

      • 05
        Disable or defer automatic updates

        By default, your phone or device will automatically download and install updates to the operating system when it’s night-time, plugged into power, and connected into a wifi network. Updates can take up a lot of data, however. They’re not counted in data usage on an nbn® Sky Muster® Plus plan, but they are counted as data on any other home internet connection.

        To manage this, you can turn off automatic updates in Google Play, until you’re connected to a less-restricted network by:

        1. Opening the Google Play Store app on your Android device.
        2. Tapping the three bars at the top-left to open a menu, then tap “Settings.”
        3. Tapping the words “Auto-update apps.”

        Select “Don’t auto-update apps” and then tap “Done.”

        disable auto update

      • 06
        Stop apps using your mobile data

        Firstly, check what data is being used by apps.

        These instructions may vary slightly between different Android devices. If in doubt, find the user manual for your phone and find the instructions for turning off background data.

        1. Open Settings.
        2. Find the “Mobile network” or “Network” setting.
        3. Find the “Data” or “Data usage” setting.
        4. Look through your apps to find out how much data they’re using.
        5. Tap the “Use background data” button to stop individual apps from using data when you’re not actively using the app.

        For more information: How-to Geek: How to Stop Android Apps from Using Background Mobile Data.

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