Google is giving its Family Link App (opens in new tab) a makeover to be more user-friendly while adding more parental control features.
Family Link was first launched five years ago as a way for parents to manage how children use their Android devices – setting a screen time limit, for example. Since then, the app hasn’t really gotten much attention from Google, which makes this new wave of updates all the more welcome. The company claims that the developers received parental feedback for the redesign. (opens in new tab), resulting in three new tabs – Controls, Location and Highlights – to better organize the app’s features.
A new look
The Controls tab contains the legacy features of Family Link, such as the ability to set screen time limits for devices or apps, restrict certain types of content, and “manage [app] permissions.” There will be a new addition, Today Only, which replaces the base screentime tool. For example, if a child reaches the limit on the first tool, you can extend the time with the second tool, but only for one day. You will have to set it up again every day after that.
Location, as the name suggests, will inform parents of their child’s location by zeroing a device and showing it on the tab map. It will also inform users about their device’s battery life, as well as notify them when a child arrives or leaves their destination, similar to google maps. Speaking of information, the The Highlights tab gives parents an overview of a child’s behavior (opens in new tab) on your device. It will tell you which apps they use, how long they used them, and if they tried to access restricted content. Google says there are plans to expand the Highlights tab to include “more useful insights”, but didn’t elaborate.
We’ve contacted Google and asked for more information about the future of Family Link. A company spokesperson told us they have nothing else to share at the moment.
Family Link app updates will be available on iOS and Android devices as they roll out in waves, so keep an eye out when it hits your phone. We should also mention that Google has released a desktop version of Family Link (opens in new tab) which shares all the same features. All you need to do is log in to set up your account.
Google TV changes
Next to Family Link, Google TV will have its share of changes for kids (opens in new tab) including AI-generated recommendations and “parent-managed watch lists.” The latter allows parents to add or remove content that their children can watch on the service from within the parent’s own profile. Google TV will also have a “supervised YouTube experience” as a way to introduce children to the platform. Of course, the YouTube experience will have its own set of parental controls.
Google TV updates are released today for the app and will be coming to other compatible devices like Chromecast with Google TV in the coming weeks. We’re sure parents will like the new Family Link app, but it can’t oversee everything. If you’re interested in stepping up your game, be sure to check out ‘s List of the Year’s Best Free Parental Control Apps.