The evolution of Family Link parental controls

It’s been two years since we built Family Link to help parents introduce their kids to technology. And while the devices we use every day open the door for families to explore, learn and play together online, they can also bring a new set of worries for parents. Over the past two years, we've helped families across the globe set digital ground rules with the Family Link app: A tool that offers parents a way to create and supervise Google Accounts for their kids, manage the content they see online and the amount of time spent on their devices.

Available on every Android device

Today at Google I/O, we announced we’ll be making Family Link part of every Android device, starting with Android Q. This means that Family Link will be accessible from device settings, making setup even smoother for families. Look for it under the setting “Digital Wellbeing and parental controls” in Android Q devices rolling out later this summer.

App-specific time limits and bonus screen time

We’re also giving parents the ability to set app-specific time limits, Since not all screen time is created equal, parents will soon be able to set app-specific time limits to help kids make better choices about how they’re spending time on their device. And while parents love that they can set a bedtime or daily screen time limit, sometimes kids just need a few more minutes to finish up what they’re doing on their devices. Soon, parents will be able to give kids bonus screen time directly from their own device.

A foundation for healthy digital habits

Since 2017, we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear: 67 percent of parents are worried about the amount of time their kids are spending on devices. In addition to today’s updates, we’ve been focused on making sure that time spent on making sure that the time your family spends on technology is the best it can possibly be. Here are a few ways we’ve done that:

  • While Family Link was originally designed for kids under 13, we heard from parents that the app was still useful as their kids became teenagers. Last year, we rolled out the ability for parents around the world to use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account. Beyond mobile phones, we added better Chromebook support so parents and children can use Family Link across different Google platforms. 
  • When apps come with a stamp of approval from a teacher, parents can feel more at ease knowing their children are engaging in healthy, educational content online. That’s why we have teacher recommendations: a collection of educational Google Play apps recommended by teachers that are a good fit for children of specific ages.
  • Families can learn, play and imagine together with the Assistant on Google Home, other smart speakers and eligible phones with over 50 games, activities, and stories designed for families with kids. 

Be sure to check out the latest updates and if you want to share your ideas with us, just open the Family Link app, click the menu in the top left corner and tap “Help and feedback.”