This post, Keeping Kids Safer With Family Link app by Google, is part of a campaign with Mom It Forward Influencer Network on behalf of Google. As always all opinions are my own.
There is no getting away from the use of technology in our daily lives. Whether it is a smartphone, tablet, or computer, it seems that everyone in the family is on a device for at least part of the day.
This abundance of technology has its blessings. You can look so many things up in seconds by doing a search on Google.
Need to know how to make homemade pizza? You can find recipes and even videos that show you how.
Have a child struggling with math and you don’t know how to help them? You can find tutorials to help them or you work through the process.
However, with all this awesomeness comes a downside. Specifically, the need to create a space that encourages your child to grow rather than to be worried about what they may come across.
I don’t know about you, but in my house I don’t have extra free time to constantly look over my son’s shoulder. What I do need is a tool that can help me make the internet a safer place for them.
Basically, I want them to Be Internet Awesome with some oversight from my husband and I.
How Family Link app by Google Works
Recently, I was introduced to Family Link app by Google. This app helps parents monitor their child’s usage of the internet.
Specifically, it helps parents to:
- Manage the kinds of content their kids see
- Control the amount of time kids are spending on their devices
- Provide a jump-off point to have a conversation around what a healthy relationship with technology looks like for their family.
While a parent can get the monitoring app for either Android or iOs devices, the app specific to the child or teen has to be on an Android platform (smartphone or a Chromebook.) A parent can monitor several kids.
Using Family Link app in Our House
My youngest son’s time online is spent mostly on a desktop computer. We can easily see what he is doing (because of the big screen) and limit his time with physical constraints.
For my teenaged son, things are trickier. He has a smartphone that goes everywhere with him. As it is an Android phone, I found this the perfect timing to start taking a cursory glance at what he is doing.
I want him to be independent. Eventually, he will move away and not have us for a safety net. But, I also know that temptations can arise which can be addressed sooner rather than later.
I see Family Link as being the means to help start those discussions.
It can be easy to just put the app onto a device and never have a discussion. But, a tightening of the reins without teaching good internet usage will not benefit anyone in the long run.
So while we are in the early days of using this app, those discussions are starting to happen more often.
Installing it was easy, although I will share that he was not 100% thrilled with the idea I could see what apps he is using. While I haven’t had to implement a tight lockdown using the content controls, I am glad to have the ability to do so.
Key Features I Love in the Family Link app
Content controls that are available include the ability to deny access to a specific app, hide the app on their device until work is done, approve in-app purchases, restrict by maturity content, and block or filter web sites in searches.
The other feature he has not been completely happy with is my ability to turn ‘off’ access during nighttime hours. Personally, I love the feature so he isn’t up half the night laughing while reading memes or watching cat videos. He needs time off of technology and the app allows me to set those times. I can also set a limit to how much time he is on the device.
A neat feature for parents of teens is the ability to geolocate them. As my son is homeschooled and only goes to approved activities (driven by us,) this isn’t a feature I personally need. But, I have a few friends who like seeing where their child is when away from home.
If you have a child on a device that is able to use Family Link, I highly recommend giving it a try. There is no cost to it and it takes just seconds.
For me, I really like the time limiting feature. But, I also found that my son was using an app I didn’t even know he had which is sparking talks about what he is doing on it.
After all, I want all my boys to Be Internet Awesome and grow into responsible adults
How do you teach the kids about using the internet?
Have you tried the Family Link app with them?