Keeping track of your child's digital adventures can be a challenge. Worrying about how much screen time is certain and whether phones ruin the art of conversation. Limiting the time spent on the various gadgets, following their activities, and preventing them from doing something they should not do are all difficult tasks. Luckily, you can get help that costs you nothing.
Google's Family Link service, designed for parents of children and adolescents, lets you control nearly every aspect of your child's digital experience. You can approve or block apps and games you want to download from the Google Play Store, see how much time your kids spend with their favorite apps, remotely lock their devices, filter out certain content, and even track their location. Let's take a closer look at the first steps.
Setting Up an Account
Family Link is now available in at least 30 countries, including the US and UK, as well as Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium and Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark , Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. You can get started on the Family Link website, but there are some requirements.
Before you can use Family Link, you need the following:
- A Google Account for your child (you can create this in the Family Link app if you do not have an Android device yet)
- An Android Device for your child running Android 7.0 Nougat or later (some devices running Android 5.0 and 6.0 also work).
- Your own Android device (with Android 4.4 KitKat or above) or iOS device (with iOS 9 or higher)
- Your own Google Account
Family Link does not support Google Accounts that work beyond or the school will be provided. You need a personal Google Account, such as: For example, a Gmail account to create an account for your child.
Note : You can use the Family Link app on an iPhone as a parent to check your child's activities on an Android device has an iPhone. If your child uses an iPhone, consider Apple's screen time and family sharing instead.
Download the Family Link app for Android or iOS on your personal device from the Google Play Store. In Android 1
One Family Link account per device is allowed.
When When you add a child profile, Google will try to automatically select the appropriate settings based on age. However, it's worth making sure everything is set up the way you want it.
How to Filter Content
Once you've successfully added your child, you'll want to tap on his profile in the Family Links app and tap Manage Settings to decide on what content it can access and which filters to apply. There are sections here for Google Play, Google Chrome, Google Search, Assistant, Android Apps, Location, Account Information, and more.
If you tap on Google Chrome Filter you may choose to Try to block mature websites that are trying to block or grab violence or sexually explicit content and only allow certain websites to by creating a list of approved sites. This latter option also allows your child to request access to specific websites.
You should also check out the Google Search filters and turn on SafeSearch . Again, Google warns that it can not be guaranteed that anything your child does not want to see filtered out, but it does seem like a pretty decent job.
How to Manage Your Child's App Access
One The best features of Family Link are the features that let you manage the apps your kids download and use. When trying to download an app from the Play Store, a pop-up notification will appear with the name of the app, the publisher of the app, the average star rating, and the number of downloads.
Important: You'll also see an age rating based on the content ratings provided by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). For example, apps like Google Maps get the rating "G", while some riskier titles get "E" (from six years old) or "T" (from 13 years old). The maturity rating system may vary from country to country. In the UK, Pan European Game Information (PEGI) ratings are displayed instead. With app information and maturity, you can decide whether to approve or reject the installation.
You can change the approval process and rules and control what your child can search through the family on the Google Play Store Link the app to their profile by clicking Manage Settings> Google Play Controls tap.
However, approving app downloads is not a limitation of the features of Family Link. Once an app is installed on your child's device, you can control its permissions. For example, you can deny the Facebook app access to the device's camera and contacts, or prevent a game from connecting to the Internet. Go to Manage Settings> Android Apps and tap an app and then tap Permissions . If you change your mind about an app and want to allow or block it, go to Manage Settings> Android Apps tap the app and turn on Allow App on or off ,
You can approve each app individually, but this is not required. With Family Link, you can set general content restrictions (that is, nothing about "G") for downloading or buying apps, games, movies, TV, music, and books. You can also set restrictions on in-app purchases and paid content.
The US also features a map with apps recommended by teachers and suggestions for age-appropriate apps, and games your kid may enjoy and even benefit from.
How Your Child Spends Time
Family Link provides a convenient way to see how your child spends his digital time. You'll receive a weekly and monthly report showing how much time your child spent on each app they accessed. Your app activity is listed in their profile and you can tap More to access the full list of apps and games they use in the last 30 days. If your child has spent more time in Candy Crush than in the School Math App, you will see that.
How to limit your child's on-time.
Using Family Link, you can limit the time your children spend on their device in two ways: by setting a Daily Limit and by setting your child's bedtime . Both appear as tabs in your child's profile in the Family Links app.
Using the Bedtime function, you can tap Edit schedule to select a time slot in which your child has won. & # 39; will not be able to unlock her device. You can set certain limits on weekdays (eg from 9pm to 7pm, Sundays to Thursdays) or on weekends (from 10pm to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays). You can also override the limits on certain days of the week.
The Daily Limit option is slightly less detailed. Tap Edit Thresholds and you can set a daily usage limit – a set number of hours and minutes your child may use daily on their device. As with bedtime, the amount may vary from day to day.
If the daily limit and bedtime are not enough, you can lock your children's device at any time with the option Lock Now . You will be immediately hit by your tablet or smartphone and will only be able to access it if you disable the setting.
This also works if your child's device is not connected to the Internet. The access code of a specific parent limits the device features until you manually unlock them.
How to Track Your Child's Location
View your child's profile at Manage Settings> Location and make sure that Show your child's location is checked , The prerequisite is that your child's phone is switched on and connected to the Internet. Otherwise, the last known location is displayed. After switching on the profile, a "Location" tab should be displayed in the profile with a map showing the location. You can tap on it to expand and enlarge it. If the location is not real-time or new, it will be greyed out and you should know when it was last updated above.
Some Useful Extras
If your kids have a habit of misplacing their phones, you should open the Family Link app and navigate their profile. Then find the phone tab that shows your device. There will be an option Play sound that you can tap to find it. You can also tap Settings and remotely access some settings on your child's phone.
Check its profile in Manage Settings> … More and Block Photo Sharing Prevent Google Photos from signing in to devices not monitored by Family Link (eg iPads), and Manage Google activity related to your child's privacy and data generated and stored by Google.  Sharing Content and YouTube Restrictions
You can share purchased content with your family group by opening the Google Play Store, tapping the Hamburger menu in the upper-left corner, and selecting Family Library . Tabs list all apps Movies & TV or books that you share. Tap the gear icon in the upper-right corner, and you can choose to have everything you buy automatically split or when it's shared. Your child's age restrictions will continue to apply, so you will not be able to access inappropriate content even if you have them set to auto-sharing.
One problem with YouTube is that Google applies the age restriction automatically and you can not override it. This means that children under the age of 13 can not install the YouTube app. You must use YouTube Kids instead. In addition, they are denied the use of YouTube Premium. This is very annoying when you pay for a premium account to access music and avoid advertising. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way out, but hopefully Google will change that in an update. We'll keep you up to date.