Family Link helps you keep an eye on what your children are doing on their Android tablet or phone
With increasing numbers of kids owning or regularly using a smartphone it’s never been more important to control what they do with their devices. Google’s Family Link aims to help parents regain a little bit of control.
The app has just had a big update aimed at teenage children. For the parental control features you can use either an Android or Apple device.
Your children will need to be using an Android phone or tablet for Family Link to work. For parents whose children have iPhones or iPads you’ll need to use Apple’s parental control features.
The devices you’re controlling will also need to be running Android version 7 or above. Google says that some phones with Android versions 5 and 6 may also be able to use Family Link.
The app setup is simple enough. You’ll need a Google account first and once you’ve signed in you’ll also need to either create Google accounts for your children or sign in using their existing accounts.
You’ll need to install the Family Link for children and teenagers app on their device too.
There are three main features included. The first allows you to monitor what your kids are using their phone for and how long they spend in each app.
Parents are also given the option to approve every app download. You’re also given control over in-app purchases and the ability to hide certain apps.
Teacher recommended apps is the third feature, but it is only currently available to US residents at the moment.
Family Link won’t stop kids from seeing inappropriate content online though. You can, of course, block access to web browsers and social media apps which will be of some help.
You can check on your children’s current location in the app too
You’ll also get a notification on your phone when an account under your care attempts to download a new app. You can either approve or deny this, giving you a lot of helpful control.
In case you need to stop children using their phone there’s also a lock feature. You can also set a bedtime, after which the phone will stop working until a predefined time the next day.
The app also allows you to see live location data for your kids so you can make sure they are where they are supposed to be.
Google’s update comes hot on the heels of Apple’s Screen Time, which allows people to monitor their own use and gives parents control over what apps their kids use.
Big tech companies are coming under increasing pressure to keep children safe as smartphone use increases with children. Google’s Family Link certainly seems to be a helpful step toward that goal.