Google launches Family Link to help parents manage their kids’ Android devices

Smartphones and tablets are used by everyone today. Kids aged 12 and below like my small brother are highly likely to be the first to ask if you a have nice game on your smartphone once they see you using one. In case you do, they go right ahead to ask you if they can spend a couple of minutes playing the same game. What if you bought the said kid their own tablet or smartphone so that they could stop bothering you all the time?

That sounds perfect because it can work but there is a catch. Google won’t let anyone under 13 years to register for a Google account. Google aside, it is not really a good idea to let under-13s to be all alone on the internet in this day and age when there are all manner of risks online. At least some adult supervision is required.

Which is why Google is launching Family Link, an Android app/tool that lets kids under the age of 13 to set up their own Google account with the help of a supervising adult/parent/guardian. The adult/parent/guardian then gets to set up some rules on what the kid can and cannot do with the Google account and on the Android app. Like app restrictions (what they can download and what they cannot), usage limits (between what time and what time they can use the device, when to go to bed…) and what not.

Here’s what Google says of Family Link:

“When your child is ready for their first Android device, Family Link lets you create a Google Account for them, which is like your own account, and also helps you 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.”

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Family Link is currently under testing and as such, like with most Google services under testing, access to it is restricted to users in the United States (*whispers* you can get it on APKMirror anywhere you are but I am not sure if it will work as intended). However, when it finally exits beta and becomes available to everyone, it will definitely be a huge boost to efforts to protect children online in Kenya like the Communication Authority of Kenya’s Child Online Protection Campaign dubbed “Be The Cop”.

Access to Family Link will be limited to devices running on at least Android Nougat even though select Marshmallow devices will be allowed.

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