Posted By on 16 Mar 2017


Google is trying to increase its users by giving opportunities for the kids to have a google account now. Google has come up with its new Family Link app, which lets parents create a Google account for their kids. This account is completely controlled by parents, so that means they can manage the apps their kids use, monitor how long they’re staring at their device, and set a designated “bedtime” for the screen. They can remotely lock it, too.

google family link

Family Link app from Google 

Right now, the program is in a US-only, invite-only "early access" beta, and the child's device has the hefty requirement of running Android 7.0 Nougat and up.

In the US, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) restricts the collection of data on children under 13, requiring parental notification and consent. Previously Google complied with this law by banning kids under 13 from making an account. Google has created some kid-focused products in the past, namely YouTube Kids, but that app did not have a login feature a bummer for anyone who wanted customization or their ad-free YouTube Red subscription to work.

Family Link is Google's COPPA-compliant account creation system, and it marks the first time kids under 13 can have a Google account. Family Link is built on top of the Android device management framework, taking a lot of the "Android for Work" controls created for company administrators and turning them into parental controls. Rather than digging through an administrator dashboard, parents get a parental version of the Family Link app while the kid gets a locked-down device that is basically a slave to the "parent" device. The app even verifies that an adult is doing the setup process by charging 30¢ to a credit card, which is apparently one of the FTC-approved ways of getting "verifiable parental consent."

The new app certainly seems like an obvious attempt to steal some of Amazon’s share of the tablet market. Amazon offers great kid controls on the Kindle. The company even released a kids-only Fire tablet that provides child-friendly content and lets parents implement both screen time limits and educational goals. Just give them your old Nexus. Meanwhile, Apple is completely nonexistent when it comes to kid controls. It doesn’t allow for account separation, except in educational settings.

The app requires parents and kids to have Android devices, though Google is working on some support for Apple iPhones. Google also plans to extend support to Chromebooks, the inexpensive laptops that run Google's Chrome OS software.

Family Link features

  • Track kids' location.
  • Require permission for new app installation and see which apps kids have installed.
  • Put kids' phones to sleep when it's time for dinner, homework or bed.
  • Set a "bedtime" and sleeping hours during which devices can't be used.
  • See what apps kids have used in the last 7 and 30 days.
  • Loosen search settings from the default safe search setting, designed to keep out adult content like porn.
  • Set a new unlock code if kids forget their own.
  • Ring the phone's ringer to find lost devices.
  • Set which apps get access to the camera or microphone.

This seems like a good move by Google, but what I feel is parents spying (kind of) on their children can part them away in away or so. Afterall children have their own life too. Not to forget, the account is of kids but fully controlled by their parents only.

So, what are your views regarding the Google Family Link. Share your thoughts below.

Source: Arstechnica

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