What is Google Family Link?
If there was anything online companies should have learnt in 2018, it is that security of the society should come first. We’re hoping that 2019 sees a lot of changes amidst online giants and their ecosystems because the end user continues to blindly rely on them for safety of their data as well as their people. However, security concerns doubles up if you are a parent as digital security and its loopholes have raised their ugly heads and loom on the provider of young and impressionable minds.
So I am going to take the next few weeks to talk about how we can safeguard our children, while allowing them to explore the online world. After all, one cannot deny that technology is here to stay and we want to allow them to explore this world of wondrous opportunities. Let’s talk about the biggest giant out there Google. One of the interesting things they have done is the introduction of a Google Family Link app for parents to help them keep a track of the usage of their child’s Android device. This is more like an adult’s account but with more digital ground rules such as controlling the installation of the app and usage time for kids.
Online apps have become a great way to teach kids and introduce them to new concepts earlier on. Parents continue to stay cautious about e-learning compared to traditional learning due to the implications associated with kids accessing material online. According to e-learning specialist and TEDx speaker Dr. Ritu Dangwal, “It is a myth that online learning is not effective. That was for another era. Today, the environment and kids are different. Learners are different and education has a different purpose altogether.” She says that since we are now looking at education that is skill-based and requires just-in-time information, the apps and internet come as a way to effective learning.
Encouraging kids to go online requires parents to keep a track of their Google’s Family Link app comes is more like an adult account with ground rules already laid and works on Android devices with Nougat V7.0 and higher. It also supports devices running Android Lollipop V5.0 and Marshmallow 6.0. Parents of these users should have Android devices with KitKat V4.4 and higher, or iPhones with iOS9 and up.
The Usage Google Family Link
With the Family Link app parents will be able to block and/or approve the apps the kid wants to download via Google Play Store. Another advantage of the Family Link app is that the parents can now control the time spent by their kids in front of their mobile devices. With the automatic weekly or monthly reports, mothers’ can set screen time limits.
It’s a blessing in device for all the parents as with the Family Link app parents can remotely lock devices when it’s time for bed. Parents want their children to use gadgets to their benefit. According to Neeta Sharma, who is a mother of 2 kids aged 9 and 14, “I feel because our kids are born with these gadgets, it is difficult to wean them completely but I try to keep them busy with activities.”
At the same time, it is important to keep a check on them in smart ways. Neeta points out, “They have access to all the information right for their age or not, so one should keep a check without making it obvious.” For parents who want to ensure that they know the activities of their children, the Google family link is helpful.
What all you will need?
A compatible Android device for your child
A Google Account for your child managed with Family Link
Your own compatible device (Android or iPhone)
Your own Google Account
To be in an eligible area
How to Use the Google Family Link?
All you need to do is to:
Download the Family Link app onto your mobile device
Create a Google Account for your kid through the app.
Then manage the apps your kid can use by approving or blocking the apps your kid wants to download.
Review the screen time and set limits according to the desirability.
You can also set device bedtime that remotely locks kid’s device when it’s time to study, play, or sleep.
Jyot Brar, mother of a 7-year-old girl is worried about smart voice assistants. She says, “This feature where you don’t even need to type but say it aloud is a problem. It is everybody’s woe and an app on the phone would be apt to monitor what kids are watching on the phone.”
Remember, this app is only suitable for parents with kids less than 13 years. Once your child turns 13 he can opt out of the account and upgrade to normal Google Account. Family Link can only help you in establishing the ground rules, whereas the freedom is rested upon you, you can decide which services and apps your child can access.
What do you think? Would the Google family link help parents to monitor their children’s activities? Share and participate.