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How Google’s Family Link helps parents manage their child’s mobile device

One challenge for parents is keeping an eye on what their young children are looking at on their devices and setting limits on screen time. That’s now a little easier with Google’s new Family Link app.

The main function of Family Link is to let parents approve or block apps their child wants to download from the Google Play Store.

But perhaps the more difficult task for parents is setting the rules on how much time your children can spend on their devices.

And then there’s the matter of deciding when your kids need to turn off and do their homework, study, eat their dinner or go to bed.

For this to work, your kids need to be using Android devices for it to be managed by Family Link but the parent at the controls can have either an iPhone or Android smartphone.

Parents and their kids also need to have a Google account.

For the kids’ devices, they need to be running Android 6.0 and above.

Family Link is also about teaching your children good online habits like creating strong passwords, bookmarking favourite sites and creating a good balance between screen time, school work, family time and sport and exercise.

This app also encourages parents to talk to their kids about the apps they like most and the sites they like to visit so you can make it easier to decide on the appropriate content depending on the child’s age.

Parents can use an iPhone to run Family Link but your kids all need to have Android devices which is not unusual as parents are unlikely will to provide expensive iPhones for their young children.

Typically, a child’s first device would be a more affordable product with all the smartphones in the entry and mid-level all running Android.

Family Link will manage regular accounts for children under 13.

To set up a Google Account for a child under 13, a small one-time credit charge is applied to serve as a verification that you as a parent give your consent and to comply with child privacy regulations.

Parents can get started with Family Link here.

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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