What is Google Family Link?

The app that gives your child freedom, but still gives you control...
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What is Google Family Link?

If your child is new to their Android phone – it may well be their first ever phone – you’ll want to make sure they’re safe while they explore. Google Family Link can help with that. Here’s how…

Let’s set those ground rules

Think of Google Family Link as your bit of control over your kid’s new phone – while at the same time letting them feel independent and free. They’ll get a Google Account that’s like yours, through which you can manage their apps, set a bedtime for their phone and limit screen time.

Stay in the loop

See how long your child spends on their favourite apps with daily, weekly or monthly reports, and if you’re worried about the amount of time they spend on their phone, you can set daily screen time limits.

When it’s sleeptime, playtime or dreaded homework time, you can remotely lock your child’s device, so they can’t let their curiosity keep them from life’s other important things.

When your child wants to download an app from the Google Play Store, it’ll be up to you whether you block it, or give them the green light. And in addition to download permissions, you can also hide and unhide specific apps when it's time to play, study or sleep.

How it works

Your child’s device will generally need to run Android Nougat (7.0) or higher, though certain child devices running Android versions 5.0 and 6.0 (Lollipop and Marshmallow) may also be able to run Family Link.

Then, you’ll need to download Family Link onto your device (you can do this on an Android or iPhone), and create a Google Account for them through the app.

Last of all, sign them into their new device, and you’re away. It’s as simple as that.

Need to know

Family Link doesn’t block inappropriate content itself, so you’ll have to check each app to see whether it has its own filtering options. That said, certain Google apps – Google Search and Google Chrome, for example – do have filtering options, which are available in Family Link.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that Family Link only works with Google accounts for children under 13 created via the Family Link app. When they get into their teens, they can – if they wish – switch to the standard Google Account.

When their 13th birthday is getting close, you’ll get an email telling you that your child will be able to choose whether they’d like to take charge of their own account. If they do, you’ll no longer be able to manage their account (unless they choose for you to continue managing it for them).

We think Google Family Link is a good way of being able to keep an eye on what your kids are up to, but at the same time giving them a great introduction to the world around them. Find out more about Google Family Link – and get started – right here.

Any thoughts about Google Family Link? Any tips you’d like to share? Tell us below the line.

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