Google introduces Family Link, a parental control app

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March 17, 2017
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Google has launched “Family Link”, an application for parents that let them control the mobile devices of their children.

Family Link lets you create a Google Account for your children, which is like your own account. It also helps you set certain digital ground rules that work for your family – like managing the apps your kid can use, keeping an eye on screen time, and setting a bedtime on your kid’s device. The blog reads,

“The devices we carry every day open up a world of information for us to explore, sparking our curiosity and creativity. But when it comes to our kids using those same devices, it’s tricky. We want them to explore and be inspired as they embark on their digital adventure, but every family feels differently about what their kids should and shouldn’t be able to do on their device. That’s why we developed the Family Link app.”

While the app will help you set digital ground rules, it’s up to you to choose what’s right for you kid. Family Link gives you parental control but it will not block any inappropriate content once you approve.

How does it work?

First, your kid will need a new device that runs Android Nougat (7.0) or higher. Then, download Family Link onto your Android device and create a Google Account for them through the app. Finally, sign them into their new device. You can then use Family Link to help you:

  • Manage the apps: Family Link allows you to approve or block the apps your kid wants to download from the Google Play Store.
  • See how much time your kid spends on their favorite apps: This includes weekly or monthly activity reports. You can also set daily screen time limits for their device.
  • Set device bedtime: You can remotely lock your kid’s device when it’s time to play, study, or sleep.

Parents across the U.S. can request an invite to the Family Link early access program. After receiving an invite, parents with kids under 13 years old can download and try the Family Link app. Once a kid turns 13, they can continue to use Family Link if they choose to do so. Teens with existing accounts, however, are not eligible to be managed by Family Link at this time.

This will be a test with a limited audience before making the app broadly available. Family Link is available for Android Nougat but not available on iOS at this time.

 
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