How Google Family Link works to supervise children

There always comes a time when it is almost mandatory to deliver a smartphone to your child. However, the dangers surrounding the use of the aforementioned device do not allow a parent to do so with tranquility and naturalness. For this reason, today we are going to analyze a very powerful tool, capable of making the device of a minor much safer and above all, of being able to control it remotely. This is Google Family Link, a service introduced by the Mountain View company and manageable from any device connected to the internet.

Limits and support

Obviously, to use a tool of this type, it is necessary to have some important characteristics. First of all, the “parent”, that is the one who will create and manage the “child” profile, must be 18 years old and have a currently active Google account.

On the child’s side, on the other hand, the necessary age will be 13 years and the personal Google account must be created by setting the same region as the one entered for the “parent” account. The latter will have to register the minor, setting all the information himself (so the child will not have to do it).

Google Family Link will then be manageable both from a mobile application for smartphones and tablets (both Android and iOS ) and from a web interface, via the official website of the platform. Furthermore, the Google Family Link companion app for children and adolescents must be constantly present on the child’s Android smartphone, which can be downloaded for free from here.

Set up Google Family Link

Having made the necessary preconditions, it will then be possible to start with the first configuration of the service. Obviously, the first step must be done through the Google Family Link application dedicated to parents (link to download in the previous paragraph).

  • Open the “Google Family Link for parents” app on your smartphone
  • Click on the blue button with the arrow icon and then on “Start”
  • Log in with your Google account and select the “Parent” option when the prompt “Who will use this phone?”
  • Continue with “Start” and then with “Yes, continue” to choose to create the family group
  • Click on “No” and then on “Next” to create the account dedicated to the child
  • Enter all the required parameters (name, surname, date of birth)
  • On the “Choose how * child name * will log in” screen, select a previously created child account, or choose to create one on the spot with “Create your Gmail address”
  • Start creating your account and enter your email address when the “Parent’s email or phone number” prompt appears
  • Confirm by adding the password, continue with “Next” and conclude with “I accept”

At this point, the very first configuration will be completed and it will be possible to enter the “limits” and the activities to be recorded.

  • Click on “Next” on the “Parental Consent” screen
  • Choose whether or not to save all the child’s activities through the options “Web and app activity”,  “YouTube history”  and  “Voice and audio activity”
  • Accept the conditions of use through the appropriate check box and conclude with “Accept” and “Confirm”
  • Re-enter the password (or the data a payment card, prepaid not accepted) of your account to confirm that you are actually the parent
  • On the “You have created a Google account for * child name *” screen, click “Next”

At this point, you can then set aside the “Parent” smartphone and move on to configuring the child’s smartphone.

  • Open the “Settings” app on the child’s Android smartphone
  • Continue with “Google” and then with “Parental Control”
  • Start the configuration with “Next” and select “Child or young person” when prompted
  • Click on “Next” and enter the child account created earlier in the “Add or create an account for your child” screen
  • Click on “Next” again and confirm the parent account in the “Parental Authorization” screen
  • Move to the “Check settings” section and activate all your favorite controls on: “Google Play” (for apps, movies, games and books to be allowed),  “Filters on Google Chrome” (adding the sites to be made inaccessible), and  “Filters on Google Search” (to prevent prohibited content from appearing)
  • Click “Next”, create a name for the child’s device, and click “Next” again
  • Continue with “Activate” to actually activate the connection between the two Google accounts (parent and child)
  • Choose whether to activate the proposed Google services (backup, geolocation, and scan) and conclude with “Accept”

The configuration will then be completed and it will be possible to control all the operations performed by the minor’s smartphone, through the “parent” account.

Use Google Family Link from an Android smartphone

The best way to track your child’s smartphone usage is to use another smartphone with Android. In fact, as anticipated, the app is also accessible from iOS, but unfortunately, not with all the services available.

By opening the “Google Family Link for parents” application and selecting the child’s name, you can customize all the limits to be imposed through the “Manage settings” option.

Use Google Family Link from an Android smartphone

Once inside the new screen, it will be possible to access the individual sections to impose precise limits for each service offered by the smartphone. There will therefore be controls over: apps, games, movies, books, access to websites with Chrome, Google search filters, Google Assistant, GPS position, and personal data of the child. By default, all these settings will be set taking into account the child’s age between 13 and 17 years.

Once inside the new screen, it will be possible to access the individual sections to impose precise limits for each service offered by the smartphone. There will therefore be controls over: apps, games, movies, books, access to websites with Chrome, Google search filters, Google Assistant, GPS position, and personal data of the child. By default, all these settings will be set taking into account the child’s age between 13 and 17 years.

For this reason, it will be impossible to buy films that are forbidden to children under 17, listen to songs and read books with explicit content, or visit websites for adults only. Obviously, the aforementioned limits may also possibly be removed (only from the parent’s app).

the aforementioned limits may also possibly be removed

Also, there will be useful options to limit the download of files from Chrome or the installation of applications from unknown sources. From the parent smartphone, you can then lock the child’s device with a PIN and even format it to the factory data, all remotely.

format it to the factory data

Restrict the use of the child’s smartphone

But that’s not all, because it will even be possible to limit the use of the smartphone to the child. All by setting: daily time limits and times to go to sleep.

  • Click on the item “Usage time”
  • Continue with “Set”
  • Activate the toggle to the right of “Not programmed”
  • On the “Daily Limit” screen, select the days to limit smartphone usage
  • Choose the time limit to set for each selected day
  • Navigate to the “Bedtime” section and select the days of interest
  • Add a range in which to make the smartphone inaccessible (for example from 20:00 to 7:00)
  • Conclude with “Save”

Limits of the app for iOS

The basic structure of the “Google Family Link” application for iPhone and iPad is almost the same as that seen previously on Android smartphones. However, there is a substantial difference that absolutely must be considered.

In fact, on iOS, there is no app dedicated to minors and for this reason, the smartphone to be given to the child must still have Android as an operating system. Furthermore, when creating the child account, it will not be possible to set an age other than 13 years. Therefore, if the minor should be of different age, the account must still be created from the Android device.

Limitations of the web interface

Some of the features seen above can also be managed from the web interface, and therefore from any browser. All you have to do is: start the site, click on “Start”, enter the parent’s Google account and click on the name of the child to be checked.

However, it must be specified that from here it will in no way be possible to lock with PIN or format the child’s smartphone or set time limits or times for going to sleep

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