Want to manage how your kids use their devices? I have two free solutions that you might not even know exist! Google Family Link for Android devices/Chromebooks and the new Screen Time features on iDevices running iOS 12. Let’s take a look!

We need to be clear about how we expect our kids to use technology as they connect with others, learn, play, and venture online. Family rules and expectations involving tech use should always be discussed. This ensures that healthy screen time habits are firmly established and developmentally appropriate ground rules are enforced with consistent predetermined consequences.

If you are just starting out with young children, the process of taking control will be much easier than if you have teenagers who have already been granted freedom with their devices. It’s never easy to “add supervision” and rein in control once it has been unleashed.

That said, I hope this information will get you talking to your older kids about what is possible, and together, perhaps you can negotiate how to move forward in a responsible manner.

Online security, data privacy, and the “digital footprint” left behind all have real-world consequences. In addition to “good parenting” (however you choose to define that), Google Family Link and Apple’s Screen Time restrictions can be very beneficial. And both are available at no additional cost!

Stronger Parental Controls Come to the Rescue with iDevices Using iOS 12

If you’ve just updated to iOS 12, by default, the Screen Time is enabled, and you will automatically be sent a weekly report on the usage of your devices. It will also allow you to see if you’ve overindulged in time limits you set for certain apps.

A New & Improved Google Family Link

When Google Family Link was initially launched, it provided parents with a way to control and monitor the use of Android phones and tablets for kids under 13.

Prior to Family Link, families could not “legally” set up a Google profile for kids under 13. Even though, despite their young age, many of their kids were given an email address at school as part of Google Classroom. In addition to setting up Google profiles for younger kids, older kids can now have a profile set up with parental supervision.

In order to set it up, parents can download the Google Family Link to their Android mobile or iOS devices. Or they can choose to set it up online.   

It empowers parents to view and manage their child’s activity on Google accounts or with Google devices.

  • Screen time- View the amount of time spent on apps with weekly or monthly activity reports. Parents can also set daily screen time limits.
  • Manage apps-Approve or block apps your kids download from the Google Play Store.
  • Bedtime– Shut down the device at a certain time each evening.
  • Lock the device– Remotely lock a device when it’s time for dinner, a quick recess, homework, or of course, chores!
  • Locate your kids– If the device is with your child, it is connected online, and GPS is enabled so you can always see where they are.

Since its initial launch, there have been two major changes. It can now be used to monitor Chromebook use, not just mobile devices running on an Android operating system. And a fairly recent update also enables parents to supervise teenagers in a number of different ways.

I’m excited to share all of these exciting features with you. In my next mini-course, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about Google Family Link, including how to set it up (Android and iOS) and what settings are the most important for you and your family. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, be sure to register for my next FREE webinar, Wednesday, November 28! We’ll uncover possibilities that iOS 12 will bring to your iPhone or iPad.

Click here to register and learn the ins and outs of the powerful accessibility features of iOS 12 right in time for the new year!