One of the biggest parenting challenges today is exposing our children to the technology safely. Google Family Link hopes to give kids the freedom to master modern technology skills, while helping parents make sure they don’t turn into mindless automatons.
A major problem parents face when attempting to limit their kids’ device usage is that parents don’t really know what a device is being used for at a particular moment in time. Is it an educational app, music, YouTube videos, or a game?
A new app from Google called Family Link promises to bring parental controls into the 21st century. Family Link allows parents to see what apps their children are using and also how much time they spend on each app.
Getting an account is a little tricky right now, but if your child has a newer Nougat-based Android device you might be in business.
How Does Family Link Work?
Family Link is only available on Android devices running the Nougat version of Android. Right now the program is open on an invitation-only basis, but you can request an invite on the Family Link website.
Once you have your invitation, you create a special Google Account designed specifically for a child. This account is very much like your Google account and can be used to purchase apps and keep track of digital music.
With the account established you install the app on your device and your child’s device to begin monitoring.
What can Family Link Do?
There are also a few other benefits. When you equip your child’s device with a Family Link account you can:
- Manage what apps your child is allowed to use
- Monitor how long your child has been using their device
- See weekly or monthly device usage statistics
- Know what apps your child is using and how often they use them
- Track some messaging and web statistics
- Set a device “bed time” after which the device will not unlock
These parental controls are light years ahead of anything offered on the iPhone. Unless Apple follows suit, Family Link could push youth into Android devices for their parents’ peace of mind.
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