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Family Link

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Family Link is a parental control app by Google for Android devices that allows parents to block adult content and manage other apps across registered devices.

Devices are also monitored for the amount of screen time and can also be remotely locked by parents. Additional features include the ability to:

  • Approve downloads and purchases from Google Play and limit the visibility of content in the Google Play Store based on maturity ratings.
  • Manage settings such as SafeSearch for Google Search.
  • Review app permissions on Android, such as microphone, camera, location and contacts access.
  • Change the content filtering setting and turn search on or off in the YouTube Kids app.
  • Reset a Google Account password.
  • Set screen time limits on Android devices.
  • See the location of signed-in and active Android devices.
  • Manage the activity settings for a Google Account.

To use the parental control app, child accounts must be set up on each device. Google places a small fee on credit for each account created, which it says goes to a child protection agency.

Family Link is required to use Google’s Pretty Please mode. This mode teaches children that use the devices to be polite and use manners – like saying please and thank you - for Google voice commands. The feature was added as parents noted a trend in young users of voice assistants becoming impolite and bossy. 

This was last updated in August 2018

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