Parental control measures built into browsers are not new to the market. However, besides not enabling parents to exert control beyond blocking typical adult content, these methods are also quite easy to double cross.
With Family Link, Google has introduced a potentially revolutionary parental control option to the market, the USP being that it lets children use full versions of all Google apps instead of watered down kiddie version, but allows parents to limit usage according to their requirements.
So what exactly does Family Link let parents do?
Family Link allows parents to monitor what websites their children are visiting as well as how much time they’re spending on these sites.
Like existing parental control measures, it allows parents to block certain websites and apps completely from their children’s phones.
Another feature that sets Family Link apart is that it allows parents to approve downloads initiated by their children from their own phones.
But by far, the most useful feature of Family Link is that it lets parents control how much time their kids spend on their devices – parents can either set automatic bedtimes on their apps, programming the device to shutdown at specified time. Alternately, for stubborn kids who refuse to put their phones down during mealtimes, parents can manually turn off their kids’ devices from the dinner table.
And how does it work?
Family Link is a two party system – meaning that both the parent and the child need to have separate Android devices with the app installed on both. So, lending your tablets to your kids won’t work with this. After setting up both accounts on the devices, the parents can remotely control their child’s device activity from their app. Currently, Family Link is only available for Android devices, but Google says it is working on an iOS version as well.
An inherent flaw in the system is that it requires parents to give their children a separate device – something that is probably not affordable for most families, that is, if we’re discarding the notion that parents do not generally want to give off devices to their children until their teens. So, whether Family Link manages to stir up as much of a storm as Google claims it will is yet to be seen.