Google’s ‘Family Link’ Will Allow Parents to Control Their Kid’s Phone Usage Remotely

Interestingly, teens will still have the power to shut controls off.

by Raz Robinson

Reigning in a child’s screen time is a challenge for most parents, and it only gets harder as your little kid becomes a teenager with their own blossoming personality and social life. But beginning next week, Google has the perfect answer. Android users can now set certain restrictions on their teenager’s mobile device. The service will allow them to impose time limits, lock their teens’ phone from a remote location, and give parents the option to require parental approval before downloading certain apps.

The new features will be available through Google’s Family Link, a service that allows kids to create Google accounts that are safe to use and can be monitored by their parents. Parents can also use the service to track their teens’ location. Though Family Link for kids offers parents a full range of control over what their kids and see and download, the controls are a bit less one-sided for teens. In order for parents to use the controls on Google users over 13 years old, their child must first give consent.

Kids over 13 years old can turn off the monitoring, but there’s a catch. When they turn the parental controls off, not only will they be locked out of their phone for the next 24-hours, but their parents will also receive a notification.

At the end of the day, while the new controls may vex some teens, the service is working in Google’s favor. This new rollout comes just days after Google was sued by the state of New Mexico for violating the rights of minors by downloading their data and using it illegally. While the company stands by the assertion that there was no wrongdoing on their part, the new service could stave off some concerns about a lack of transparency for parents.