On the 15th March 2017, Google announced a new application called Family Link, which has been available for use since. The application lets parents create a Google account for their kids, whilst maintaining control over the account's settings. This includes what applications the account can access, how long the phone can be used for, and more. 

Now, Google has released a host of new features to update the Family Link application and hand more control over to parents. Below, we'll look at exactly what's been changed.

Family link in a nutshell

If you're sick of the kids spending 24/7 staring at a smartphone screen, including when they should be eating dinner, studying, or sleeping, then you could benefit from the Family Link app. Some of the features included in the app are as follows:

  • Set screen time limits;
  • Remotely lock a linked smartphone;
  • Track the kids' location through the app;
  • Approve or block applications downloaded from the Play Store.

These features have been available since the application launched in 2017, but the latest update extends them to the 13+ age group. Your teenager will have to confirm their consent to be monitored, and if they decide to opt out later to avoid supervision, their phone will be locked down temporarily for 24 hours, just in case they're doing so behind your back. 

Google Assistant update

As part of the new and updated functionality, Google Assistant, the hugely-popular Google AI, is being better-integrated into Family Link. This update means that you'll now be able to lock your kids' phones with a simple voice command. Just ask Google to lock a device and they'll have 5 minutes to finish what they're doing before it's lights-out. 

This update also extends voice recognition to up to 6 different voices within the family. If Google recognises a child's voice, then it can provide responses that are better-tailored to kids from both an entertainment and content point of view. 

Other ways to keep the kids safe through Google

Google have a whole host of other controls for keeping kids safe, particularly when browsing online. If they're regularly using the computer for homework-related research, then you can enable SafeSearch to protect them from dodgy content online. 

To switch SafeSearch on, simply visit http://www.google.com/preferences and navigate to the "Search Settings" page, checking the box "Filter explicit results". You can also click on "Lock SafeSearch" to ensure that the option can't be disabled by the kids. 

Find out more about online security

Mobile manufacturers and software providers are routinely finding more ways to keep us safe online. If you're worried about keeping your kids away from suspect content online, then you can get in touch with WiseGuys on 0808 123 2820 for more advice.