Google is Bringing Parental Controls to Android

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 9 Comments

Google is Bringing Parental Controls to Android

Google today announced a new Android app called Family Link that lets parents create Google accounts for their children. However, it requires the very latest Android version, 7.0 Nougat.

“The devices we carry every day open up a world of information for us to explore, sparking our curiosity and creativity,” Google VP Pavni Diwanji writes. “But when it comes to our kids using those same devices, it’s tricky. We want them to explore and be inspired as they embark on their digital adventure, but every family feels differently about what their kids should and shouldn’t be able to do on their device.”

To respond to this need, Google has created the Family Link app for Android. This app lets a parent create a Google Account for each of their children. This account works much like the parent’s account on compatible devices, but it provides parental control oversight so that you can do things like “set certain digital ground rules that work for your family – like managing the apps your kid can use, keeping an eye on screen time, and setting a bedtime on your kid’s device.”

To use Family Link, you will need an Android 7.0-based device, and you must create your child’s Google account using that app. From there, child account management works much like it does with other parental controls systems, like Microsoft Family. You can approve or block apps, monitor screen time and set activity limits, remotely lock the device at bedtime, and so on.

Family Link has a few usage limitations for now. The app is US-only for the time being, as is so often the case. But it’s also in an early-access program, so you will need to request an invite. Google says it will expand the app availability over time, and improve it based on user feedback.

You can learn more at the Google Family Link website.


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