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Google Intros Family Link, Offers Control Over Your Kid’s Device Usage

For anyone who has kids, you may know the struggle that is keeping your children in line with their smart device usage. With tablets and smartphones, kids can access any number of naughty things, but Google’s new Family Link would to like to solve potential issues. 

With Family Link, a parent is granted administrator level permission to a child’s device. With this, parents can approve and disapprove application download from Google Play, set appropriate screen usage times, plus overview which apps a child is using. Making this process a breeze is Family Link’s single application, downloadable straight from Google Play.

Now if managing your child’s smart device usage interests you, you can sign up for beta access, with launch taking place later down the road. From what we can see, anyone with a child under 13 years of age can be granted access. Once you are invited by Google, you will download the app, then get everything setup.

We’re just getting started, and we’ll be asking parents using Family Link for feedback about how to improve the experience before we make the app broadly available.

Google goes on to clarify that it is ultimately the parent’s job to manage what their kids view on their device. As Google puts it, “[Family Link] can’t make the apps or services on their phone that were designed for adults kid-safe.” And yes, that is absolutely right.

For an invite to Family Link, follow the link below.

Family Link Sign-up | Play Link

Via: Google
  • Raven ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    As the parent of a 10 year old with a phone, this is a fail out of the box. I like that they are trying, but the need to think about reality a bit more first. I created her a gmail address back when she started Kindergarten at 5 to secure a decent address for her and share some family photos and other things with. Now that she is 10, I would love to be able to add time and install controls only because she tends to download some foreign made games that with some nasty adware embedded even though they are rated for Everyone. The fact that I cannot just add in her existing gmail account is an instant fail in my book.

  • DAn

    3yo Son: “Dadddddyyy I want my tablet”
    Me: No, you already had it for 2 hours today
    Son: “Daddy I want Peppa Pig!”
    Me: No
    Son: TABLET
    Son: BLAZE Daddy!
    Me: NO!
    Son:Daddy I want my tablet
    Me: Here

  • James Arthur

    The app has 2 MAJOR fails.
    1. Requires a new google account instead of being allowed to designated accounts under your control for the child to use.
    2. Android Nougat (7.0) or higher

    Until #1 is fixed, this app is useless.

    • pseudoswede

      Because Google fails to allow proper integration with Google Apps, I had to create new Google accounts for my kids (and say they were 18) so that they could utilize Family Apps and Google Music Family.

      • Armaced

        I think you have to say they are 13 before they are even allowed to have a Google account. For the family accounts, the sweet spot seems to be between 13 and 18, where they are old enough to have an account, but not old enough to be granted automatic purchasing power against my credit card.

  • b00sted

    Anyone know how to set a kids account that you setup before? My 6yr old I setup but put in my bday. Now I can’t find a way to add him as a child. If I change is bday it flags account for deletion.

  • Bill Banks

    For my kids to run this, they would have to have a better device than I have. I don’t think Google thought this one through very well.

  • Murphy’s Magnet

    I hope they update this to work with Marshmallow. We use Mobile Fence right now and like it a lot, but this could be a bit easier to use.

  • sodsavage

    I would like to see them pull in Android Device Manager capabilities so you can track the device from this app. Would be nice to even include a route/map and timeline of destinations for the past X amount of hours/days.

    • JRomeo

      seems ironic that adult accounts would get this not child accounts.

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  • Bigwavedave25

    I wonder if you can link existing Google accounts in and assign as “kids” accounts. I didn’t check the “rather not [create new account for my kid]” checkbox. Both my kids already have their own google accounts with countless youtube subscriptions…

    • Murphy’s Magnet

      I was just trying to sign up and it will only allow me to create accounts in family link. Any other option than “yes” won’t allow you to continue.

  • Marcjc

    Just a heads up, a requirement for the kids device, straight from the signup page, “Family Link on your kid’s device requires Android Nougat (7.0) or higher.” I am sure like me, most of us give our kids our old devices, not buy them new ones running the newest OS. Hopefully this will eventually be available on older OS levels too.

    • stetsonaw

      Agreed, my kids tablet doesn’t even have Marshmallow.

    • Murphy’s Magnet

      Google thinks that parents buy their kids top of the line smart phones and tablets. I’m sure every Googler’s 12 year old has a Pixel.

    • ScoobySnack

      Maybe they’ll bring Nougat to the N7 now. That’s what my kids use.

      • PoisonApple31

        Your kids use the Note7? OMG! j/k

    • 7.0 will eventually be an “older OS level” 🙂

      • Big EZ

        By the time this is out of beta we’ll be on truffles and Nougat will be old news.

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    • This is weird because the parent’s device only needs KitKat, this seems to be totally backwards SMH!

    • Raven ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Is true although my daughters “old device” is my wife’s old Droid Turbo 2 which was recently updated to Nougat 🙂