Articles on: Android

How to install parental controls for Android

It’s easy with Safe Surfer to install an effective porn blocker on an Android device. Along with protecting your privacy, we also use our own behind-the-scenes technology to block porn and other harmful online content. This guide will efficiently walk you through how to install protection.

Step 1: Download the Safe Surfer app

Unlock the Android device you would like to protect, then tap the Google Play app.

If you can’t see the Play app, try looking inside the device’s app drawer (that is, the app library). You can access the app drawer on the home screen by swiping from the middle of the display to the top. Once you are inside, the contents of the app drawer can be browsed by swiping horizontally.

After opening the Play app, tap the Apps menu on the bottom bar. Tap the search bar at the top, type “safe surfer”, then tap the search icon on the keyboard.

Our app listing will appear at the top of the search results. Tap the Install button.

Step 2: Open the Safe Surfer app

Once the Safe Surfer app has finished downloading, it will appear inside the app drawer. Tap the Safe Surfer app to open it.

Step 3: Install protection


Once you have opened the app, acknowledge the presented information by tapping the “I agree” checkbox. Tap the “Get started” button. Enter a name for this device, then tap the Next button. Sign in with your Safe Surfer account (as a parent or an accountability partner), then tap the Next button.

If you don’t have an account, you can easily make one from the “Create account” tab.


If you don’t have a Pro Surfer subscription, you will be prompted to get one on the next page. We recommend subscribing for the best protection experience—simply swipe horizontally to pick the total amount of devices you would like to protect under your account. Once you’ve selected a plan, tap the Get button to bring up the Google Play subscription panel. Select a payment method, then tap the Subscribe button.

On the following page, tap the “Protected person” option.

On the next page, scroll through the list of categories to select for blocking on this device. A category is blocked if the switch next to it is coloured red (as opposed to a greyed switch, signifying a category that is not blocked). If you would like to read details regarding what kind of content falls under a category, tap the three-dots menu at the upper-right corner, then tap the “Show descriptions” option. Once you have finished selecting categories, tap the Next button.

Set a PIN code (this is used for the protection system). Once you have entered a PIN, tap the Confirm button. On the prompt that comes up, acknowledge the presented information by tapping OK.

Enter the PIN code you set previously (you can ignore the “Start protection” option), then tap the “Get protected” button. This device is now protected, but there’s still a little more we need to do for the best experience.

Step 4: Finalise protection

Enable Private DNS mode

Most Android devices support a device feature called Private DNS. This mode tells the device to smartly enforce Safe Surfer protection by using a special link that talks with our servers. Not only does this enable us to significantly enhance the stability of protection, but it even encrypts background search requests for better online privacy!

If this device doesn’t run Android 9 or newer, you won’t see a checkbox to enable Private DNS. Simply go through the checklist as presented for the older automatic start installation method.

On the app home menu, tap the “Enable autostart” button. Tap the “Install permanent protection” checkbox. Tap the “Copy link” button at the bottom of the instructions.

Note: If the Safe Surfer flags icon stays in the status bar (at the upper-left corner of the screen) after tapping the "Copy link" button, you will need to turn off the VPN manually. Once you have been taken to the Settings app, tap the search icon and search for "vpn". Tap the VPN menu. Tap the Safe Surfer listing, then tap Disconnect. For the next step, you can now navigate back to the Settings app home by using the back button at the bottom of the screen.

On the Settings app home, tap the search icon. Search for "private dns", then tap the result. Tap the Private DNS menu.

Inside the Private DNS menu, tap the “Private DNS provider hostname” option. Long press the textbox, then release to make the context menu appear. Tap the Paste option to insert the link, then tap the Save button. A successful installation should look as shown below, with the link appearing under the Private DNS menu title. Once you have done this, navigate back several times to return to the Safe Surfer app.

Prevent uninstallation

Tap the “Stop uninstall” tab, then tap the “Stop uninstallation” checkbox. Tap the Activate option. Tap the “Protect sensitive device settings” checkbox.

Tap the “Installed apps” menu. Tap the listing labelled “Safe Surfer”. Tap the switch inside the bubble labelled “Off” (you can ignore the switch inside the bubble labelled “Safe Surfer shortcut”).

On the prompt that comes up, acknowledge the presented information by tapping Allow. Once you have done this, navigate back several times to return to the Safe Surfer app. All the checkboxes should be ticked. Tap the back arrow at the upper-left corner to return to the app home menu.

The home menu should report this device as being protected via Private DNS.

Restart the device. You can find the restart option by holding down the power button for a few seconds (on most devices), or by holding down both the power button and the volume up button (on some devices).

Verify the protection installation by visiting inside a web browser. This is a safe website designated for testing if pornographic websites are being blocked. This site should be blocked.

Enable Play Store parental controls

The following controls help hide Play Store content listings that contain sexually suggestive and/or sexually explicit content.

Go back to the device’s home screen and tap the Play app. Tap the profile icon at the upper-right corner. Tap the Settings menu. Tap the Family drop-down menu, then tap the “Parental controls” submenu. Tap the switch found next to “Parental controls are off”.

Set a PIN. This can be the same as the PIN you previously set for the Safe Surfer app. Tap the “Apps & games” menu. Set this category to either 7+ or 12+, then tap the Save button. If you are unsure, set it to 7+. In North & South America, this would be either E10+ (Everyone 10+) or T (Teen).

Depending on your region, you might have restriction controls available for the following categories:


If these are available, you should set them to an appropriate level.

Protection complete

Great work! This device is now fully protected. To start monitoring protected devices, visit our easy-to-use online dashboard.

If you have any other Android devices you would like to protect, simply start again from the top of the guide. If you would like to protect a different kind of device, visit our Guides page.

Disclaimer: Safe Surfer Limited is in no way associated with Google LLC or the Open Handset Alliance.

Updated on: 10/07/2023

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