Google Family Link allows parents to create Google accounts for their child, control smartphone activity

Kids these days are spending way too much time on their smartphones and Google might have a solution

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Highlights

    • Family Link brings parental control to Android smartphones
    • You can now create a Google account for children under 13
    • Requires device running Android Nougat to setup

From bringing premium smartphones to delivering specialized internet-based products and services, Google Inc. has spread across all facets of our technology dependent lives. The Mountain View company have now taken a major step towards helping parents control the amount of time and information gathered by their children by means of a smartphone.

Family Link, the Google’s new system for parents, allows them to make a Google account for their child under age 13, which was earlier against the rules as per government regulations. With the Family Link app, the parents will be able to approve or deny app installation, and monitor how the child is accessing the phone. Parents can even set daily screen-on time limits and force the phone to be locked down at a specific time.

Pros of the new Family Link app-

  • Parents will have full control over approving or blocking downloads the child requests.
  • They will be able to see usage times for apps, total screen-on time and can set total usage limits as well.
  • Parents can remotely monitor app usage and force ‘SafeSearch’ to be on, lock down the Play Store content restrictions.
  • They can control app permissions, set the screen lock, and find the device’s location.

Cons of the new system from Google-

  • The Google Family Link app is available only in the US as of now.
  • Currently, the app is invite-only early access beta program which means the parents can only take a look until it is officially rolled out.
  • To have an access to the new app, the user (Parents) need to have an Android phone running the latest OS Nougat.
  • Moreover, the app doesn’t provide a child-friendly version of Google apps, or lock specific apps such as Hangouts.

We had seen a similar feature be implemented by Microsoft in the now defunct Windows Phone 8.0 OS, called Kids Corner. The concept behind the feature was that in case you end up handing over your phone to your child, they should not be able to access apps or information that they shouldn’t. Kids Corner allowed you to set what apps and what kind of connectivity the child would have access to, once the feature was activated. Google’s approach is similar in concept, but very different in implementation. Currently, the feature is in Beta and available only in the US, with no word on when it would be available globally.