Google’s Family Link App

Google recently launched a mobile app that lets you set digital rules for your child’s access to their smartphone, tablet or devices. Known as the Family link app, it can guard anything including what websites they can visit or what apps they can download, and even how many hours they can use their devices. Since the minimum age to sign up on google in most countries is 13, parents can use Google Family Link App to set up accounts in devices of kids younger than that.

It’s an amazing way to provide your child with a smart device and still keep them from being distracted by it or accessing something they aren’t supposed to.

This is certainly a great initiative by Google to help proactive parents monitor and control the use of gadgets by their children. Following are the basic features of the Family Link App.

Control over your child’s applications

The basic concept of the app is the granular level of control available to parents. They can select exactly how much access their child has to the Play Store. Approval for all apps is required including for paid apps, or those with in-app purchases. A maximum maturity rating for the apps they can access can also be set.

Parents receive a notification whenever their child downloads an app they can block with their device if not approved, and even set the maturity rating for books, movies, and TV shows which are available via Google Play.

Block access to websites on like YouTube and more.

Family Link also allows control over app behavior. Blocks for particular websites on Chrome can be set up, for instance YouTube or other vulgar sites.

More over, it offers a feed for each account linked to the parents Google Family Link app showing any activity on their children’s devices. This information includes history of time they’ve spent using specific apps over the past week, month and more.

Locate your Child’s phone

Through this app, you can easily keep a track of your child’s device location. For this you’ll have to enable location services through the Settings card in your Family Link app. Then you should be able to view the location, assuming only if the device isn’t switched off, connected to the Internet, or has not been used in a really long time. You can even trigger an alarm on the device to locate it if it gets misplaced.

Monitor your kid’s screen time

The app allows you to monitor, manage, and restrict your kid’s total screen time, setting daily, weekend, and bedtime limits. Every time once the limit is crossed, the device locks itself automatically. You can even manually lock your child’s device whenever you want though.

Once locked, either due to crossing of limit or if you did so yourself, children won’t be able to unlock the device, see any notifications, or use any other apps.

However, they will still be able to receive phone calls and dial Emergency to make a call. This is only possible if you have a calling plan and if you feed in an emergency number.

Chromebooks support

Google recently added support for Chromebooks for users of Family link. This allows parents to see how much time their kids spend using their Chromebooks, and so time limits on their children for those devices can be set.

Parents may also use Family Link to form a list of websites their kids can visit via their Chromebooks, along with establishing limits on which applications can download to Chromebooks from the Play Store.

Also, family Link can be used to restrict in-game purchases by kids along with the ability to actually hide certain apps from kids for age purpose.

Things that could have been better

Google Family Link App is a dream come true for a lot of parents. However, it isn’t perfect and there are a few restrictions, limitations, and missing features that are worth highlighting. For starters, the Google Family Link app is not compatible for any existing Google accounts whether by children.

The only way a child under 13 could possibly have a regular Google account would be by lying about their age, hence the app can’t identify lies.

Except that, the Google Family Link can’t work on accounts provided through work or school for both the child or the parent. The parent will require a personal Google account to be able to access the Family Link and create an account for their kids.

A few parents out there aren’t basically happy with the restrictions which end at 13 years old. Although the child will be given the option to continue with Family Link app after they hit the age of 13, Google’s age restriction limit suggests that they will be able to set up a regular account on a different device.

Using Google Family Link only allows download of the Youtube Kids app on a child’s device. Since some parents prefer the regular app for slightly older kids along with right filters and restrictions in place.

Final thoughts

Everyone has heard and read nightmares about kids who build up huge bills on their parent’s credit cards because they spent Money on apps or in-app purchases. This is just one of the most fundamental things that Google Family Link will help you avoid..

Control over what your child can access to and the ability to monitor and limit usage will certainly be favorable source of peace of mind as a parent. Since nothing is perfect, there are definitely some glitches to work out, but Google’s Family Link is amazing for everything it has to offer even now.

Samantha Kindler

Samantha Kindler is a world traveler, with four continents conquered and three remaining. She lives in Hawaii, where she enjoys hiking and has the beach available to her throughout the year. She recently got the opportunity to spend over ten months in Korea and fell in love with their minimalist way of life. She has driven to 49 states with her father, but upon visiting Hawaii, she just wanted to stay.

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