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Home / Tips and Tricks / Your child's Android screen time is not under control. Here's how to curb it

Your child's Android screen time is not under control. Here's how to curb it



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Family Link is an easy way to keep an eye on your kids screen time.


Angela Lang / CNET

In recent weeks, I think it is fair to say that we parents have relaxed our screen time limits for our children. With most of us under domestic orders and with school canceled the children made use phones and tablets more than usual, the new standard become. But it is still a good idea to know what they are doing. Google's Family Link makes parental controls on Android devices a breeze. Seriously, I wish Apple's Screen Time was so simple and flexible .

If you have children under the age of 1

3, you have almost complete control over their Android phones through Family Link. For kids over 13, you still have controls, but they can disable the feature themselves (don't worry, you'll be notified when that happens).

If you use an app like Family Link, you can slowly reduce screen time to specific apps or to the device in general. Here's what you need to know to get started.

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These Android devices work with Google Family Link

Family Link is a free Android app that can be run on any phone or tablet running Android 7.0 or higher. To view the Android version, open the Settings app, scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap About phone .

According to Google, you can use Family Link on some Android 5.0 and Android 6.0 devices, but it is trial and error to make it work. In the & # 39; Sign in on an Android device & # 39; you can find different scenarios on this support page.

If your child's device has Android 10, Family Link is built into the device and no special app is needed.

Parents can manage a Family Link account from any Android device running Android 5.0 or later, as well as an iPhone running iOS 9 or later.


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Download Family Link Fully Configured

Before you begin, you should know your Google account information, as well as your child or children if they already have an account. If not, that's okay, the Family Link app will guide you through setting it up.

You also need to have both devices nearby.

Start by setting up the Family Link in your account. If you are using a device with Android 10, open the app Settings and go to Google > Parental Controls > Getting Started ]. Select Parent and follow the instructions.

Launch Family Link on your child's device app from the Settings app on an Android 10 device or download and open the Family Link app from the Play Store. Select the option that says the device is for a child, then select your child's Google account and follow the prompts.

You will be asked to sign in to your Google account so that you can link it to your child's account as a parent account. Then you set up some basic account controls.

The initial setup process takes just a few minutes and when it's done, you can change the settings and restrictions remotely through the Family Link app on your phone.

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The Google Family Link feed shows you all kinds of important information.


Screenshots from Jason Cipriani / CNET

How much time does your child spend on the phone?

When you open the Family Link app, you can see the location of your child's Android phone or tablet, a quick overview of the time spent in the best apps, and the bedtime setting. Tap any of the cards in the feed to view more information or adjust settings.

For example, you can set the phone to lock itself before your child's bedtime, and then unlock it in the morning to avoid game sessions in the middle of the night.

To control the overall screen time, set a daily time that can be adjusted to the day of the week.

You can also set app time limits, such as 60 minutes in Fortnite every day, or block specific apps with just a few taps. It is all very easy to use and understand.

I recommend selecting each different map and exploring the respective settings and options. There is a lot in the Family Link feed, but it is divided into intuitive sections that are easy to navigate.

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You can exercise a lot of control on an Android phone with Family Link.


Screenshots from Jason Cipriani / CNET

There are also more advanced settings

In the feed is another option labeled Manage Settings . Here you determine whether permission is required before an app can be purchased, content restrictions for websites in Chrome, and filter enforcement in Google Search.

You can also view all apps installed on the Android device and block an app if necessary.

The Location section shows where your child's phone is as long as it is turned on and connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network. Your child will be notified on the phone when you view the location. Think of it as a way to build trust and open a line of communication between the two of you.

Once you are comfortable with the amount of time your child spends on an Android phone or tablet, take a few minutes to learn all about Android 10 . We even have a guide for that will take you through all the great new Android 10 gestures and enhanced parental controls .


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