Home / iOS / Hands-on with Google Family Link: The best parental control service yet

Hands-on with Google Family Link: The best parental control service yet


google-family-link.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Google Family Link is a new service the company soft-launched in March. It’s designed to help parents keep track of what a child under the age of 13 is doing on an Android device, ranging from app installation to amount of time spent using any given app or the device overall.

As soon as it was announced, I signed up to take part in the beta and have been using it with my kids ever since. In short, Family Link is everything I hoped it would be.

Requirements

Initial setup of Google’s Family Link is rather painless. The parent needs an Android device with Android 4.4 KitKat or higher. The child, however, will need a newer Android device running Android 7.0 Nougat or above. There are currently nine Android Marshmallow-compatible devices listed on the Family Link FAQ.

Hopefully, Google continues to add devices running older versions of Android to the list, instead of forcing parents to go buy brand new Android devices to meet the requirements. Nougat is currently installed on just 2.8 percent of Android devices.

Eventually, Google will release an iOS Family Link app for parents to monitor, approve, and control a child’s device. During the beta period, however, it’s Android only. Another limitation at this point is that Family Link requires you to live in the US.

It’s time to take control

Setting up your child’s device is simple. First, you need to sign into the Family Link Android app as a guardian and then create an account for each of your children in the Family Link account.

One pain point of the current process is that if you’ve already set up a Google account for your child, lying about his or her age to get around Google’s age policy, you cannot convert that account to a Family Link account. You and your child will need to start with a fresh account.

The Android device you plan on using for your child cannot be set up beforehand.

Singing in takes a few extra minutes than the typical process due Android force-installing the Family Link account and the parent being required to sign in and set control limits on the device. The Family Link app walks you through it, eliminating any potential headaches.

It took roughly 15 minutes for me to create, sign in, and set up three different Family Link accounts and devices.

Just what can you control?

family-link-controls.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Where Family Link truly shines is the amount of control over a device provided by the service. It’s far more robust than I anticipated, giving me granular control over most apps and services on my kids’ devices.

For example, I gave each of my kids access to the Play Store with authority to install any free apps or games. I set the allowed app rating limit to “Everyone 10+.” They were then able to browse the Play Store and download free apps without having to enter a password.

Every time they install a new app, I receive an alert on my phone. I can view the Play Store listing, and if I don’t approve of the app, I can disable it with a tap. Nearly instantaneously the app icon will be hidden on his or her device — without any physical interaction on my part.

In contrast, Apple’s Family Sharing service is an all-or-nothing approach. Either the child has access to download paid and free apps without a parent’s approval or a parent has to approve every single app before installation.

As someone with three kids can attest, kids download a lot of apps, and having to approve each and every one is a time consuming and tedious process. Not only that, but it requires I give my kids their account passwords, which is something I’m not quite ready to do yet.

The only time I have to approve an app before installation when using Family Link is when it’s a paid app.

Of course, if you’d rather accept every app or none at all, you can adjust your Family Link settings to your liking. You can even give one child total control over app installs while locking another completely down.

Beyond app purchases, you can also do things like set which websites a kid can visit in Chrome or block YouTube Kids channels or specific searches.

Family feed

google-family-link-2.jpg

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

A feed is created for each Family Link account within the app, making it easy to keep tabs on what your kids have been doing on their devices.

A breakdown of the time spent using specific apps over the past seven and 30 days makes it easy to see if he or she was doing homework or playing games.

You can also view the device’s current location (assuming it’s connected to the internet) and sound an alarm to locate it.

Another one of my favorite features in Family Link is scheduling, daily limits, and locking a device on demand. Parents can schedule dedicated downtime for each kid, whether it’s for homework, dinner, or bedtime. Once the scheduled time arrives, the device is locked, and the child cannot use it — at all — until the time expires.

Daily use limits are a nice touch, as well. You can allow your kid to use his or her device for an hour during the school week and three hours on the weekend, and Family Link will keep track and lock the device for you.

When you lock a device on demand, it defaults to unlocking at 6 am the next morning.

Scheduling is yet another area Family Link beats Apple’s Family Sharing solution for managing a child’s device. The only way to remotely lock an iOS device is through the Find My iPhone app as a preventative theft measure.

Family Link truly is a dream come true

When Google first announced Family Link, I quickly expressed my excitement about its potential. After using it since shortly after its beta announcement, I can confidently say it is everything Google claims it is.

In fact, I wish Apple would copy Family Link features and implement them into iOS — only because my kids just got an iPod Touch for Christmas, and the idea of trying to sell and purchase devices just to have better control over their tech use is far too much work.

If you’re interested in giving Family Link a try with your family, you can sign up to take part in the beta on the Family Link website.

VIDEO: What’s the right look for your Android phone?



Source link

About admin

Check Also

septimius07610x436.jpg

Apple iPhone 8 to have stainless steel and glass design: Report

CNET/CBS Interactive Apple is testing an iPhone 8 model with an overhauled look that includes ...

12 comments

  1. An fascinating dialogue is value comment. I feel that you need to write extra on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but usually individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  2. I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I extremely loved the usual information a person provide to your guests? Is going to be again frequently in order to check up on new posts

  3. Great work! That is the type of information that are meant to be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this publish upper! Come on over and talk over with my website . Thank you =)

  4. Thanks , I’ve just been looking for information about this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

  5. You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most persons will approve with your site.

  6. I’m impressed, I need to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that is both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you might have hit the nail on the head. Your notion is outstanding; the issue is some thing that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I’m extremely happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  7. [url=http://abcnetwork.org/home/node/979]abcnetwork[/url], [url=http://vogueacademy.co.za/activity/p/11470/]vogueacademy co[/url], [url=http://www.treeclimbing.net/user-profile/userid/32316.aspx]treeclimbing[/url], [url=http://kaoslinux.com/cara-menghilangkan-benjolan-ambeyen/]kaoslinux[/url], [url=http://mpchouses.com/groups/manchester-united-fodboldtroje-pearlines/]mpchouses[/url], [url=http://obviouscaptions.com/3860]obviouscaptions[/url],

  8. [url=http://formacio.cerdanyolaoberta.cat/forum/cerdanyola-course-test/topic/30250/maglietta-milan-ejsduane]formacio cerdanyolaoberta[/url], [url=http://tiepthidiemden.org/UserProfile/tabid/844/userId/35577/Default.aspx]tiepthidiemden[/url], [url=http://www.stuntfm.com/google-primer-app-is-part-of-the-companys-digital-unlocked-initiative-to-empower-smbs-in-india/]stuntfm[/url], [url=http://playeatpartyproductions.com/groups/divise-calcio-personalizzate-tarah/]playeatpartyproductions[/url], [url=http://forrest2a.blognet.me/maglia-arsenal-bambino-poco-prezzo/]forrest2a blognet[/url], [url=http://whitewinetruecrime.com/about-caitlin/]whitewinetruecrime[/url],

  9. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  10. I would like to express appreciation to this writer just for bailing me out of this particular setting. After surfing around through the the web and finding views which are not productive, I figured my life was well over. Living devoid of the strategies to the issues you’ve fixed by means of your entire guideline is a serious case, as well as the ones which may have badly affected my entire career if I hadn’t come across your blog. Your primary know-how and kindness in maneuvering the whole thing was helpful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a thing like this. I am able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thank you so much for this reliable and results-oriented help. I will not hesitate to propose the blog to any person who will need guidelines about this area.

  11. Having so much content do you sometimes have any problems of copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  12. human hair weave are seriously actually cute! Beauty is painful anyway.Their being definitely cute matters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>