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What is Google Family Link? The parental control app explained

Looking for a way to monitor your child’s activity online? Google Family Link is one way to do it. 

Read on to discover what Google Family Link is, what features it includes, what devices are supported and what it means for your child’s privacy. 

Google Family Link is an Android and ChromeOS app that allows parents to keep an eye on their child or teenager’s online activity. 

As a parent, you’re able to see your child’s daily activity, which includes a breakdown of the apps they’ve visited that day, along with how many hours they spent on each. You can then set time limits for each app, as well as a Bedtime to lock their device. 

You can even remotely lock their device when it’s time for them to take a break from scrolling through apps to go outside or have dinner. 

You can receive Google Play Store requests, allowing you to approve or block app from being installed on your child’s device, manage in-app purchases and hide specific apps from their library. 

The app also offers the option to track your child’s location, allowing you to check up on them when they’re out and about – provided their device is switched on and connected to the Internet. 

For Family Link to work, your child will need to be using an Android device updated to Android 7.0 or higher or a Chromebook running ChromeOS. 

Parents can install the Family Link app on an Android device running Android 5.0 or higher or an iPhone running iOS 11 or higher to manage their child’s activity on their own device. 

What about their privacy?

There are some obvious privacy concerns that come with monitoring your child’s activity online. 

Aside from the fact that older teenagers might not want their activity monitored, it isn’t just you who’ll be able to see their information. To use Family Link, your child will need their own Google Account. This can be an existing account or one you set up for them via Family Link. Regardless, just as you can view your child’s online activity, so can Google. 

The company will also show ads to your child when using their products and services as it does with any Google account.

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