Google has now publicly made its Family Link app available in the United States, which allows parents to gain more control over their children's devices.
In this era, modern technology and children are simply difficult to separate entirely. So as a recourse, parents must protect kids from the many hazards of going online.
Google Comes Out With Parental Control Tools: Here's How To Get Started
Here's how Google can help: parents just have to create a Google account for their children and download the Family Link app. Previously, parents had to submit a request to participate since the service was invite-only. That changes now.
Family Link lets parents monitor their children's smartphone usage. For starters, they can control what apps the kids are allowed to download from the Play Store, monitor their total screen time and the apps they open and use, set time limits for usage, and even lock the devices remotely when it's time to sleep or study.
Family Link is available on both iOS and Android, but it is designed specifically to monitor and manage a kid's Android device. Previously, Family Link required both the parent and the child to have Android devices.
Not only does the app give parents extensive control, it also offers them an informative look at the types of apps that are catching their kid's attention via weekly and monthly activity reports.
Where it lacks is in generalized content filtering, notes TechCrunch, but it does offer filtering within Google's own apps such as Google Search and Google Chrome. On top of Android and iOS, Family Link also works within a web browser, so a parent can always monitor what their child is up to even when they're in front of the desktop at work.
With Family Link, Google might be directly targeting Amazon's Fire Tablets, which are famously kid-friendly. Those tablets also offer parental control over usage, and it even lets parents know what websites kids are accessing and books they're reading.
Google, by contrast, doesn't offer that kind of granular access to information, saying some messaging apps and music players won't be entirely tracked. But still, it's far better than having no set of parental controls at all.
Google Family Link Requirements
For kids, Family Link requires an Android phone running Nougat, but certain devices on Marshmallow are compatible as well, such as LG Stylo 2 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Luna, and more.
For parents, Family Link requires an Android device running at least KitKat or an iPhone running at least iOS 9. That's basically it.