Being a parent in the digital age certainly brings with it some interesting challenges. But fortunately, you now have a new tool to add to your arsenal in the form of Android Family.
Now that Google has officially lifted the ban on children under the age of 13 opening accounts, they have introduced a new tool called Family Link, which allows parents to have full control over the information their children access via their Android tablets and phones.
To make full use of Family Link’s parental controls and monitoring functionality, you will need to first open a Google account for your child. If your kid already had an “illegitimate” account in use; i.e., provided the wrong date of birth during registration, you will not be able to transfer it.
Unfortunately, Family Link is only available to select audiences in the US and is only available on Android. However, Google is hoping to roll it out on a wider scale in the near future.
If Family Link is available in your region, you can request a Family Link account and then install the app on your phone. From there, you can create a Google account for your child. When your child signs in from his or her phone, the Family Link app will automatically install itself.
So what does Family Link offer?
Family Link allows you to keep a close eye on what your children are doing online and set restrictions on the type of content they can access. In addition to showing you what apps your kids are using the most often, you can also track their physical location. While you cannot see your children’s online activity in real-time, the Family Link app gives you a great overview of how your kids are typically using their phones.
Additional functionality includes the ability to lock your child’s phone remotely, change the unlock code, cut screen time off after a certain number of hours or at a given time, and limit access to certain applications, all handy tools to have when your kids are refusing to go to bed on time.
However, you will not be able to achieve all this stealthily. The app shows kids exactly what you can see, so your children will know you have been checking up on them!