As of last week, Google Family Link is available in Australia. This new app, which is accessible on Android devices, will allow parents to keep closer tabs on their children’s browsing habits.
As it currently stands, only Australians aged 13 and above are able to sign up for a Google account to gain access to their own email account, the app store and the internet on phones and tablets. However, now that 50% of children between the ages of two and 12 have their own phone or tablet, younger children are able to sign up to these services simply by lying about their age during the set-up process.
Family Link is a way to help children gain access to their own digital space, with their parents being able to keep track of what they’re doing and impose usage restrictions.
How Does Family Link Work?
For Family Link to work the child will need a new or factory reset Android device. Google will ask the parent to create an account during the set-up process, at which point they will be required to enter the child’s birthday. If they’re under 13-years of age, the parent can create a Google account that’s under their management.
After the account is created, Family Link will automatically be downloaded to the child’s device, and the parent will be able to choose which apps and settings they want to provide access to.
Using the app, parents will be able to manage the amount of screen time their children has, with weekly or monthly activity reports available, as well as daily screen time limits.
Parents will also be able to control which apps can and can’t be downloaded, and allow the device to be remotely locked when it’s time for them to study, play or sleep.
However, Google does acknowledge that no app can make services that are designed for adults 100% ‘child-safe’, but that Family Link will help parents stay in the loop and set ground rules for how their children use their devices.
Any parent who requires assistance setting up Family Link on their child’s device can visit the Google Help Centre.