The web giant Google has just one-upped Apple on mobile in a magnificent way: today the company announced its own parental control software dubbed Family Link. A free service for Android, Google’s Family Link app helps parents to manage their kids’ devices.
Parents can download Family Link app on their devices running Android KitKat or higher. An iOS version is not yet available, said Google.
Once the app is in place, it allows parents to set up a Google account for each of their kids. Afterward, Google’s Family Link app helps parents use a row of parental controls to allow or block apps which are installed by their kids from the Google Play Store.
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Parents are also able to set daily screen time limits for their children via the app, and check how much time they spend on their phone on a daily or monthly basis. This Google’s parent app for Android even lets parents remotely lock out the device when they want their kids to go to the bed or do something else with their time.
Currently, Google’s Family Link app is still in testing; however, parents can request an early invite to try the app out. It’s intended to be used for those children under the age of 13, Google noted.
Kids can log in the app using their credentials. A child’s phone or tablet must be running Android Nougat or higher. Once signed in, kids can access Google services such as Maps, Gmail, Chrome, and Photos. But it ties their smartphone or tablet to their parents’ devices, and parents get notifications about almost everything their kids do.
Family Link isn’t the tech goliath’s first attempt at child-friendly controls in Android. In Android Jelly Bean, it commenced Restricted profiles, which locked down potentially harmful features. However, it was basically an all-or-nothing affair.
Targeting services at 13-and-under crowd is a daunting task. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act confines the information that companies can collect from users 12 and under. It requires parents’ permission before kids can share their confidential data such as location.
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Google believes that this new app for parents can be a part of the solution. Amar Gandhi, Google’s Director of Management said,
“This is a problem we think Google can solve. A lot of the people who worked on this project are parents. We never think tech is a substitute for parenting, but we do think technology can help.”
While Google’s Family Link app helps parents to keep a tab on their kids’ activities on Android, they can also track their kids’ online behavior on a PC by taking a quick ride through our collection of parents control software for Windows and Mac.