Many parents would like to give their smartphones and tablets to their children, but some may be afraid that their kids will download and view inappropriate content. Others may worry that kids will spend too much time using them during the day. Today, Google announced plans to launch a new app, Family Link, that will offer controls specifically for parents to keep content on their phone or tablet away from their children, along with ways to limit their time on those devices.
The app will be released for devices that have Android 7.0 Nougat or higher installed. Once the app is in place, parents can set up a Google Account for each of their kids. After that, the Family Link app can then be set up so that parents can allow or block apps that are downloaded by their children from the Google Play Store.
Parents can also set daily screen time limits for each of their kids via the app, and monitor how much time they spend on the device on a daily or monthly basis. The app also lets parents remotely lock out the device when they want their kids to go to bed or do something else with their time.
At the moment, the Family Link app is still in testing, but parents can request an early invite to try the app out. The app itself has been designed for parents with kids 13 years of age and younger. Google is also looking for feedback from those early testers so they can improve Family Link before the company officially launches it sometime later this year.
This is certainly a welcome move by Google to help parents be more proactive in their efforts to monitor and control the use of phones and tablets by children. We have certainly read a lot of stories in the past about kids who have run up huge bills on their parent’s credit cards because they were spending money on in-app purchases. The Family Link app could keep those kids from downloading those kinds of “free-to-play” games entirely, if the parent wanted to make that choice.