Google’s Family Gets New Features and Expands to New Countries
Family Link is Google’s set of parental management tools for their offspring’s Android accounts. The service has received positive feedback since it was launched in the US last year. It did make its way to other nations, but several markets are yet to receive it. Thankfully for some of them, the wait is soon to be over. Today, Google has announced it will roll Family Link out to “nearly every country in the world” over the coming days.
The move comes not very long after Google brought the total of countries with access to Family Link to 37 countries earlier this year. You can check if your country is on the list here. The service is expected to be available in nearly every country globally, except for a handful.
Google also announced today that Family Link is shifting its focus to include teens that have control of their accounts. The age depends on the country and teens are free to turn off supervision if they choose, but Family Link will alert parents that they’ve done so. If they weren’t already part of Family Link, they must consent before monitoring can begin.
Users can now manage website restrictions and account settings for their children and teens from any Android device or Chromebook. The ability to set screen time limits and manage the apps children can use is also to be added. Program manager Carter Gibson wrote on Google+:
Until today, Google Family Link only allowed supervision of kids up to 13 – required because of fun laws like COPPA. When a kid turned 13, supervision was disabled and we heard over and over again that this is really when parents ~needed~ supervision. Over the past year, my team worked tirelessly to create an appropriate solution for teens 13+ and we did it the right way, complete with copious amounts of research, rethinks, and support from other teams at Google.
At this point, it’s impossible to keep smartphones out of kids’ hands. Initiatives such as Family Link are essential in shielding young kids from the horrors of the open internet.