Google today introduced an updated Family Link app with three tabs for highlights, controls, and location, plus a central hub for notifications. The company also launched a web version of Family Link for parents and children.
The company first introduced Family Link in 2017 to allow parents to monitor and set limits on children’s screen time and app usage. It also allows guardians to lock children’s Android and Chromebook devices at a set “bedtime”. Google updated the parental controls platform with pandemic-related features like the “always allowed” app for learning last year.
The new redesign introduces a three-tab design that provides a preview of the limits set for kids and an easy way to change them. There is a highlights tab to show a summary of a child’s device usage, including today’s usage time, recently installed app and most used app ; there’s the controls tab for setting limits on screen time and app usage; and there is the location tab to check where the kids are. Plus, there’s a central place to view all notifications and requests to access the app or website from kids.
“We’ve redesigned Family Link to put our most-used tools front and center. Parents will find their favorite features (like screen time limits and app blocking and approval) in an all-new experience, and a central place to view requests and notifications,” said Wendi Rieb, Product Manager, Family Link in a blog post.
The controls tab has a new feature called “Today’s Limit”, which allows parents to set a different screen time limit without affecting the regular schedule. This can be handy when the family is on vacation or guardians want to reward children with extra application time. Currently, there is no way to allow a certain app for a day.
The Location tab displays the location of all children based on a single screen. It also shows the battery level of their devices and an option to ring them. Google is also introducing a new feature to send a notification to parents when children arrive at a specific location like school. In July, Google Maps launched arrival and departure notifications for specific locations when the location sharing feature is enabled.
The Highlights tab features resources from organizations such as Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely and the Family Online Safety Institute to engage children in a conversation about online safety by asking questions such as “What makes some ‘unhealthy’ online content?”
Google has also launched a web version of Family Link where parents can access their controls and children can view their restrictions. Until now, the company only offered the solution through iOS and Android apps.
Google’s Family Link revamp comes after Apple updated its parental control tools with iOS 16. The iPhone maker introduced a ‘Quick Start’ feature to set up screen time restrictions for kids in few steps and it also simplified the interface to easily manage the screen. children’s time demands.
The search giant has also introduced kid-specific features to Google TV, including parent-controlled watchlists and AI-powered content recommendations.