Google Family Link is a comprehensive parental control and monitoring tool designed to help parents manage their children’s digital activities on Android devices. With Family Link, parents can create Google accounts for their kids and set digital ground rules, such as screen time limits, app usage restrictions, and content filters. It also allows parents to track their child’s location and receive activity reports to stay informed about their online behavior. This app fosters a safer and more responsible digital environment for families by empowering parents with the tools they need to guide and supervise their children’s online experiences.
Setting up Google Family Link requires the following:
- Android Devices: Both the parent and child need Android devices. The parent’s device should be running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while the child’s device should be running Android 7.0 (Nougat) or higher.
- Google Accounts: Both the parent and child need Google accounts. If the child doesn’t have one, the parent can create a Google Account for them during the setup process.
- Internet Connection: A stable internet connection is necessary to download and install the Family Link app from the Google Play Store on both devices.
The following screenshots and steps are for the parents Android phone.
- Launch Google Play Store app. If it is not on your home screen, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access all apps in the app drawer.
- Search for Family Link
- Install the Google Family Link app.
- Open the Google Family Link. This can also be done by finding the app on your home screen or in the app drawer (swipe up from the bottom of the home screen).
5. If you have more then one Google account, you can select the one you wish to use here.
6. Tap Continue.
7. If your childs phone has already been set up, there’s a good chance they already have a Google account. In that case, you can tap Yes here to enter your childs Google account credentials. We will tap No in this guide so we can show all the potential steps.
8. Tap Next.
9. Enter first and (optionally) last name.
10. Tap Next.
11. Enter date of birth. Googles’ policy is that children over the age of 13 have the choice of managing their own account, so make sure to enter a date that gives you full control. You can use the following formula to determine which date to enter,
a. [Current Date] – [13 years] + [Number of years you want to manage your child’s phone]
12. Tap Next.
13. Select or create a new email address.
14. Tap Next.
15. Create a password.
16. Tap Next.
17. Scroll down to the bottom to review and accept both agreements. Note that only one is shown in the screenshot, the first one is slightly higher on the screen.
18. Tap I agree.
19. Tap Continue. You will be prompted to enter your passcode.
20. Tap Next.
21. Parent setup is now complete. Your childs account is now set up and his device will appear in the Family Link app once it has been set up.
The following screenshots and steps are for the child’s Android phone.
22. Swipe down from the top of the home screen. You may have to swipe twice to access the screen in the next screenshot.
23. Launch the Settings app. This screen may look slightly different, and the icon may be in a different place on your phone. Locate the gear icon and tap it.
24. Search for ‘parent’
25. Tap the search result
26. Scroll to the bottom and tap Set up parental controls.
27. Tap Add or create account for your child.
28. Enter your child’s email address. Use the account you set up previously on your parent device.
29. Tap Next.
30. Enter your childs password.
31. Tap Next.
32. Select your parent account. This was set up when you installed the Family Link app on your parent phone.
33. Enter your password to authenticate.
34. Tap Next.
35. Review agreements and tap I agree.
36. Review settings. In general, you can choose the most restrictive options here, but they can be changed later from the Family Link app on your parent device.
37. Tap Next.
38. Tap Next.
39. Tap Allow.
40. Review all apps and decide which ones your child should be allowed to use. If you aren’t sure about an app, you can search for it on Google to see what it is or ask a knowledgeable person. These settings can also be changed later from the Family Link on your parent phone.
41. Scroll to the bottom (reviewing all apps on the way) and tap Next.
42. If you already set up your parent device, as shown in this guide, tap Skip.
43. Choose whether to back this device (child) data up to Google. This makes it easier to change devices in the future and prevents data loss.
44. Tap Accept.
45. Device set up complete. You can now manage the device from the Family Link app on your parent phone.
The Google Family Link app for parents provides a range of functionality to help parents manage and monitor their child’s digital activities. Here are some key features,
- Setting Screen Time Limits: Parents can set daily screen time limits for their child’s device, helping them balance online and offline activities.
- Approving App Downloads: Parents can approve or block app downloads from the Google Play Store on their child’s device. This allows parents to ensure age-appropriate content.
- Managing App Usage: The app lets parents see which apps their child is using the most and set time limits for specific apps.
- Content Filters: Parents can filter web content and search results to ensure their child’s online experience is safe and appropriate.
- Location Tracking: Family Link allows parents to track their child’s device location in real-time, helping them know where their child is at all times.
- Remote Lock and Unlock: In case of emergencies or when it’s time to disconnect, parents can remotely lock and unlock their child’s device.
- Activity Reports: Parents receive regular activity reports that show their child’s screen time, app usage, and websites visited.
- SafeSearch: Enabling SafeSearch helps filter explicit content from Google Search results.
- Block/Unblock Contacts: Parents can manage the contacts their child can communicate with on their device.
The following screenshots apply the parent device and demonstrate core functionality in the Family Link app.
A. Launch Family Link app. If it is not on your home screen, you can find it by swiping up from the bottom on your home screen, and then locating it in the app drawer.
B. This is the main parental controls screen that we will refer to from future steps. You can tap the circled area to access the main Family Link menu.
C. From here, you can switch to another child account, add children, review parent access, and manage your Google Family.
A. This screen can be accessed by tapping Device in the main screen. It will show some basic information and allow you to Lock and Ring the phone. You can also access screen time, lock screen settings, and app permissions from here. It is recommended to leave the 3 settings on the bottom as they are.
B. This is the Screen Time overview, and it can be accessed from the button in screenshot 1 or from the home screen in the Family Link app. You can see which apps your child is using and for how long. Apps can also be blocked from here.
C. The Daily Limits screen is available from the main Family Link screen and allows you to create schedules for certain days of the week.
A. The Downtime screen is available from the main Family Link screen and allows you to create schedules where the phone is locked.
B. Content restrictions are available from several places, including the main Family Link screen. They are perhaps the most important part of Parental Controls as they allow you to control what (if any) content you child can access. Be sure to review all of them and configure them to your specifications.
C. One example of a content restriction screen is the Google Play Store. The critical setting here is that all content requires approval, meaning your child cannot download any apps without your approval.