Google introduces a new service Google Family Link that allows parents to narrow the smartphone consumption of their children a little. Does the function keep what it promises, or can kids bypass the lock?
Similar to Amazon or Apple, Google also provides a feature for the operating system of their devices that parents can use to keep track of their children’s smartphones. A prerequisite for use is a smartphone with Android version 7 for the child and an iOS or Android smartphone of the parents. The family leader then creates a Google account for his / her child on the smartphone and determines which restrictions are to be activated.
Parents must first release apps
The parent’s smartphone is considered an administrator and can release app installations and set user times for specific apps. If the child wants to install a new game, the parents get a notification. Only when the parents agree, the child can download the app. Once the set game time has been exceeded, the device locks itself. As an additional feature, Google also provides an overview of what apps the child uses most frequently and for how long. On the child’s 13th birthday, the account is automatically converted into a normal Google account without restrictions. To the smartphones, which thanks to available Android 7 update Google Family Link already support, belongs among other things the Galaxy S7.
At first only with invitation in the USA
Google Family Link wants to test the service only once in a small circle and therefore offers the account setup only in the USA and only on invitation. However, it is positive that Google has already offered an update and makes the FamilyLink compatible with existing accounts.
However, the usefulness of the functions depends on the technical understanding of the child. Google does not reveal any further information on how to block the device. If only one app can not be opened, it should be easy for today’s Digital Natives to simply log on to the phone with a new Google account and thus bypass the lock. For younger children, the question arises whether a controlled handling of the smartphone really needs this function or whether parents can not decide for themselves when the smartphone is better off.