Google Family Link: Nightmare for kids, dream come true for parents

The Family Link application is perfect for parents wishing to monitor their children’s smartphone usage.

PETALING JAYA: It’s a common enough sight these days to see kids little more than infants with digital devices wedged between their tiny digits.

It’s a way to keep them occupied as the adults enjoy dinner or have a conversation – and the kids aren’t complaining.

While the optimist prefers to imagine children using the internet to soak up knowledge and learn new things, the realists know only too well the many dark and unpleasant places on the internet and the equally unsavoury souls with questionable intentions that lurk there.

As a means to exercise some form of control, many parents restrict internet usage to a couple of hours a day but it’s still tough to monitor what websites their kids frequent or whom they are chatting with.

To help them keep an eye on what their kids are doing online, tech-savvy parents are now resorting to parental control software to ensure their children’s online safety.

Tech giant Google recently launched the Family Link application which gives parents control of their children’s digital device usage.

In addition to allowing or halting downloads, parents can also block websites they deem harmful and even set up limits on their children’s phone usage time.

Google has explicitly stated that this application is intended for parents with children under the age of 13.

For those interested in giving this application a go, simply head over to Google Play to download the version for parents.

This application cannot be uninstalled without a parent’s authorisation.

Later, set up an account which will be linked to your child’s. Then, parents will have to install the application, specifically the version for children, on their child’s smartphone as well, before signing in there with their registered account.

An e-mail will be sent to the parent’s account with instructions included inside to be followed.

Other than helping parents keep tabs on their children’s online activities, they can lock their children’s phones remotely if desired – something kids may not take too kindly to but tough luck.

When this happens, a kid will not be able to use their phone for anything else other than making calls.

If the child wishes to continue using their phone, they will have to request their parents to give them an access code, which only the parents will have.

This application will also provide the smartphone’s current physical location, notifying and helping parents to keep track of their children’s movements.

Errant children will be disappointed to find that this application cannot be removed from their smartphone without their parents’ authorisation.

The only way that this surveillance is terminated is through the parents willingly choosing to press “Stop Supervision” on their own phones.

Considering the spread of cybercrime nowadays, it is likely that this application will come in handy for parents wishing to protect their children from the dark side of the internet.