Parental Controls Question


#1

My child’s phone is a Moto G 3rd Gen with Android 5.1.1. I have read posts on suggested parental control apps (i.e. qustodio, dinner time, etc…) and have tried about 5 different parental control apps. They all do a great job at blocking apps, controlling screen time, etc. However, there is one feature that NONE of them can block (that I am aware of). The google search bar (i.e. “ok google” bar) still allows a google search no matter what functionality I employ. In other words, a child can still search for topics and images and see all the image search results pages and won’t get “blocked” until they click on an image to take them to a website and the chrome app is launched.

Has anyone found a way to block the google search bar? Thank you.


#2

The Google Search bar is powered by the Google App on the phone. Blocking it would prevent the bar from working. However it also disables features like Google Now cards or voice “OK Google” commands.

Note, I’ve tested on a phone running Android 6.x and it works as described, but I can’t be 100% sure that it will work on 5.1.1.


#3

I’m not sure what all you are trying to control on this phone but I think here is one way to disable the Google search bar.

  1. Put the phone on the $10 unlimited talk & text option
  2. Turn WiFi off in the Settings app
  3. Lock the parental control app so that Settings cannot be accessed. I know Qustodio will do this, I do not know about any other parental control app.

Now the phone is able to talk and text over cell but there is no data access to the phone including to Google search.


#4

That doesn’t just stop the search app, it stops all internet access. It sounds like they’ve got internet access controlled in Chrome, and the concern is simply the work around that skips those controls. You could also smash the phone with a hammer, but both are a bit overly blunt attacks for what the OP is trying to accomplish.

In addition, disabling wifi on the phone permanently is a violation of the Republic TOS.


#5

Have you tried another launcher app? Nova Launcher has a Desktop setting to disable Persistent search bar that might work for you. Believe I had to upgrade to the Prime/paid version for the desktop settings and use it on several of my devices. …https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher

:flight_departure:


#6

This is a good idea, but other than blocking the Settings App, there’s really no way to keep a smart kid from switching back to the default launcher. Actually I’m not even sure if blocking the settings app will do because uninstalling Nova would automatically reenable the factory launcher, restoring the search bar.


#7

Thanks for the reminder on the TOS violation, @louisdi

I used this successfully on a non-RW phone in the past. I woke up this morning thinking “Hey! That violates the TOS!”

Thanks for the catch.


#8

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