Family Link — parental control app from Google

Family Link is a parental control app from Google. The product was launched in 2017; it allows users to connect the parents’ device (controlling device) with the child’s device (controlled device). At the same time, the controlling device needn’t work under Android OS — it can well be an iPhone or iPad.
In order to configure the service, you should create a separate account for the child. Next, having access to both devices, you will need to install Family Link application on them, and, following the prompts of the installation program, configure it.

Setting parental controls on the phone

The list of Family Link settings includes the following items:

  • Google Play Actions — set restrictions on installing applications, downloading music and other content from the Google Play Store;
  • There are 3 points responsible for blocking inappropriate content in various Google services: Filters in Google Chrome, Filters in Google Search and Filters on YouTube;
  • Android applications — allows you to enable or disable launching applications, which are already installed on the child’s device;
  • Location — enable or disable the location tracking function on the child’s device;
  • Account information contains information about a controlled account (your child’s account); you can also stop monitoring from there;
  • Account management — information about the controlling account (your ability to manage a controlled device); you can also stop monitoring from there.

On the main screen for controlling a device, there are the following additional settings.

Screen time — here you can create a schedule that limits the time the child uses a phone or tablet by the days of the week. So, for example, you can set a stricter regime for weekdays, and softer for weekends. In addition, you can set the sleep time (bed time) when the use of the device will be blocked. Important — blocking the device still allows the child to call from it, which is very important for any emergency if the child is not near you.

Using the “Settings” button under the name of the particular controlled device, you can enable restrictions that will apply only to this device, for example: you can change the permissions of installed applications and the accuracy of location tracking, enable banning apps installations from unknown sources or enable the developer mode, enable the ban on adding or deleting users.

As we can see, the Family Link application gives you the opportunity to track some of the actions performed on the controlled smartphone: you will be able to learn which applications are launched and how often, for how long they worked and so on; also, the app allows you to set some restrictions within the programs themselves. For many parents, this set of functions will be quite sufficient; however, if they want to have full control over the device, it still won’t be enough.

For example, Family Link does not allow full control of visited sites and social networks; there is no way to see the log of calls made on the controlled device or correspondence via SMS or IMs. These, as well as many other additional functions, are provided by specialized monitoring applications presented on this site — Hoverwatch, iKeyMonitor and RealTime Spy.