Google has released a new Family Link app that will allow parents to monitor their children’s activity on Android devices.
Family Link manages the apps that kids can use by allowing parents to approve or block any content from the Google Play Store. Parents can also keep an eye on screen time by seeing how many minutes are spent on each app in weekly and monthly activity reports. They can then use this information to set daily screen time limits. The app also allows parents to remotely lock a child’s device.
It can also be used to monitor and restrict use of the YouTube Kids app, which has garnered more than 30 billion views to date and attracts more than eight million weekly users. It is also launching kids original series on YouTube Red and currently houses exclusive content like Monster High and an HMH original - Mac & Izzy.
Family Link is available today to US parents who send a request to the Family Link early access program. Google is looking for feedback from a group of families initially, before releasing the app more broadly this week.
Family Link will have some competition in other independent screen-monitoring programs. The closest competitor is Circle with Disney, a device that lets parents manage kids’ screen time and filter content for every device in their home, which launched in November 2015. It costs US$99 in comparison with Google’s free app. The device has four preset age levels, allowing further customization. According to Common Sense Media, US kids average 4.36 hours of screen time a day.