Google has rolled out screen time and app management features to the Chrome OS version of its parental supervision app, Family Link, so now you can remotely manage and monitor your child’s activity on laptops and tablets running the OS, as well as on any Android device running Android 5.1 or higher.
We’ll show you how to set up Google Family Link for any Android device, as well as how to use all the major supervision features—including the new time and app management feature available to Chrome OS users.
A couple things to note first:
Warning: Parental Controls will lock child users out of devices running versions of Android earlier than Android 5.1, and certain Family Link features are only available on devices running Android 6.0 or higher. We recommend updating all devices to the latest version of Android available to ensure full compatibility.
Repeat steps 3 through 7 for any other accounts or devices you wish to add to Family Link.
With your child’s Google account set up and their device(s) linked, it’s time to create screen limits, app restrictions, and activity monitors.
Family Link will ease a bit of the stress from managing your child’s screen time by helping you lock your child’s device automatically in different situations. (You can still have manual control over what they access, don’t worry.)
Locked devices cannot be opened and do not display notifications. However, a locked phone can still be used to accept incoming calls and make emergency phone calls.
Set daily time limits
Under your child’s account settings, go to Daily Limit > edit limits, and set the length of time your child can use devices each day.
This number applies to all devices they use, so if they have a phone, and a laptop, and a daily limit of 2 hours, that means they can use both devices for two hours each.
Open their account settings in the Family Link app, tap “Edit” under the Bedtime card, and set a time. Your child will be locked out of any devices connected to their account at bedtime every day.
Lock or unlock your child’s device remotely
Open your child’s account settings in Family Link, then tap “Lock” or “Unlock” under their device. You can also use a parent code to unlock a locked device that isn’t connected to the internet.
Family Link gives parents granular control over the specific apps their child can use. To manage your child’s app use in the Family Link app, select the account you wish to manage (note: most of these actions can also be performed on the Google Family Link website). From here, you can do the following:
In the Apps screen, tap More. Tap the app you wish the manage, and turn the Allow App option on or off. Repeat for each app you want to change.
Change app permissions
Go to Device > View settings > App permissions and select the permission types to edit. Selecting “Only Parents” will require parents to give an app permission to access that feature/setting, while “Child and Parents” allows children to grant app permissions. Note that this only applies to future permission requests—changing a previously accepted or denied permission request from an app already installed can only be done from the app’s settings menu.
Filter mature media/apps
Go to Settings > Manage > Controls on Google Play> “Apps, Games, Movies, and TV.” Change the content restriction to the desired maturity level. Under “Music and Books,” you can allow or restrict explicit content.
See app activity history
If you want to keep tabs on the apps you child is using, you can have Family Link track your child’s app activity. In the Family Link app, select your child’s account, then go to App Activity > Set Up to turn it on. A log of your child’s app use will appear in the App Activity menu after a few hours.
You can require approvals for Google Play apps, media, and in-app transactions from the Google Play My Account page. Go to Family Group and then click the account for the family member you wish to manage, and select one of the following options:
Approvals can be made via the Google Play Store web page or in the Google Play app from the Family Link parent device. The parent account will also a receive an email receipt for all approved downloads/purchases where applicable.
Supervised child accounts have a restricted Google Chrome experience; They cannot use incognito mode or access the Google Play or Chrome Web stores, and parents can remotely curate their child’s web browsing and Google Search experience through the Family Link app or website.
Bear in mind that you cannot remotely access your child’s browser or Google search history due to data privacy laws. You’ll have to check their browser history directly on their device.
Block or allow websites
You can also disable Google Search entirely by visiting Manage settings > Android apps > Google, then tapping “Off” next to the Search option. This same setting can also be changed on the Family Link website under Android Apps > Required.
Aside from the content restrictions, screen time management, and Google Play store approvals, you can also use the Family Link app and website to:
Due to data privacy laws and technological capabilities, users managing a child’s account are unable to:
Furthermore, if your child is over the age of 13 (or whatever your country’s minimum age for having a Google account happens to be), you will also be unable to: