Smart Speaker Parental Controls: How to Implement Them

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Some parental controls are already integrated into smart speakers. An image of Amazon – Set boundaries on your Google Nest or Amazon Echo so that your kids don’t have access to things they shouldn’t be able to.. When it comes to smart speakers, kids have become rather adept at using Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant like it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

It doesn’t matter if your kids know more about how your smart speakers function and what they can do than you do; you don’t want them accessing every feature or piece of information, whether it’s a song with unsuitable lyrics or a list of business meetings that you’ve got scheduled.

Although some devices are more extensive in this respect than others, almost every major smart speaker on the market has some parental controls you can enable. Set them up like this.

Nest Learning Assistant by Google

A Google Nest (formerly Google Home) speaker may be used to limit what children can access and hear via these devices. Start by opening the Google Home app on your phone and selecting Settings > Digital Wellbeing from the menu that appears. Any of your speakers may be given a downtime schedule or filters from the following screen.

Music, podcasts, news, phone calls, and text messages may all be filtered out. Alternatively, you may limit the speaker to “family-friendly behaviors,” if you so want. To avoid interruptions from other sources, you may disable everything except alarms, timers, and home automation on the speaker using the downtime schedule.

Google Home app filtering options. A screenshot from Google

The Nest speaker’s settings may be discovered by selecting it from the Google Home app’s home screen and then touching on the cog symbol (top right). Choose Notifications and Digital Wellbeing and you’ll have access to all the previous choices, as well as notifications, night mode, and do not disturb settings, among other things. Notifications and Digital Wellbeing

You may set up your children’s Google accounts and add them to your Google Family Link group if you want to go all-in with parental controls for your Google Nest speakers. Your children’s voices may be recognized by the speakers, and their replies can be tailored appropriately. You may add your kid to new devices by selecting Manage Settings, Google Assistant, and Add your child to new devices in the Family Link app.

The Amazon Echo

Even if you don’t have a child, Amazon’s Echo speakers include parental controls that are rather extensive. You can even purchase Echos that are particularly designed for children. Your young ones have already been added to this dashboard if they are members of your family.

Using the Alexa smartphone app, go to Devices, Echo & Alexa, and choose the speaker you wish to use. To access the device’s settings, tap the cog symbol (top right) and scroll down to Amazon Kids. Turn on the parental control function. If you don’t already have kid accounts connected to your primary Amazon account, you’ll be encouraged to do so right now..

Amazon has a whole system in place for keeping track of families. screenshot

Once you’ve done that, you can access Amazon Kids Settings on the same page to manage the activities that your children are permitted to participate in. These options include daily time limitations, the kinds of information kids may view, and so on. To customize your Echo speaker, just press and hold the speaker’s speaker button. An explicit music filter may be enabled, as can phoning and texting and other forms of communication.

For example, more choices for internet filtering are accessible when you sign into the web interface for your Amazon family. It’s also possible to access the Echo you’ve designated as kid-friendly from here, as well as add several children to the same speaker if necessary.

Apple’s smart speaker

If you possess a HomePod or a HomePod Mini, you won’t be able to install particular parental restrictions, but you can still make your Apple smart speaker more family-friendly. You can discover the HomePod or HomePod Mini in the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and then hit or double-click on its icon to activate it.

To access the HomePod or HomePod Mini’s settings, just click or press the cog symbol in the bottom right corner of your screen. The first thing to notice is the Allow Explicit Content toggle switch, which you may want to turn off if you have children in the vicinity of the smart speaker. Any audio that has been flagged as “explicit” in your collection will now be blocked.

The HomePod and the HomePod Mini have a smaller selection of features. Photo courtesy of Apple

The Personal Requests function may be disabled by clicking or tapping on it in the menu. This prevents your children (or anyone else passing by your Apple speaker) from sending messages, making phone calls, or generating reminders using the Apple ID that is linked with the HomePod or HomePod Mini. ‘ In the end, you’ll be unable to use these features, but it’s worth it if you don’t care about them.

If you’ve set up Family Sharing, you may wish to attach the speaker to one of your children’s Apple IDs. In the HomePod or HomePod Mini settings, press the Primary User item and choose a different member of your family (there’s also a generic HomePod Account option here) to use for music and podcast control. However, keep in mind that Siri will only utilize this account if it is unable to determine the speaker of the voice instructions.