I have partnered with Google and Forward Influence to help share free resources with parents that help teach their children about digital safety using the Family Link App from Google. It’s a great resource for parents who don’t want to keep their children from enjoying technology, but want to help them use it responsibly.
Growing Up In Technology
Both Jude and Teagan have grown up in technology. Their first photos were on this very blog – hello old ultrasound pictures. The social network lifestyle has been one they are both pretty used too. They understand what I do for a living and they understand that I share our family life, favorite recipes and experiences online with thousands of people.
While I am pretty comfortable with being online with my kids and sharing our story, it is important that as the kids get older we teach them both how to enjoy this growing world of technology but also know they are making smart and safer choices while using technology. As a blogger, I have to remember this as well.
While we really feel like we have a good handle on our kids’ digital usage we know that with every year they grow older the more they will want to be connected via technology to friends and family. Now that the kids have their own devices – chromebooks and tablets, we decided that having an app to help us track and monitor their usage was very important.
What Is Family Link?
Family Link is an app that helps parents manage their kids’ use of devices. The app is designed to help you guide your child through setting limits without being too invasive when it comes to their privacy. Parents simply download Family Link for Parents on their Android or iOS device FOR FREE. Then, for each child’s device, you’ll download Family Link for Children and Teens on any Android device or Chromebook. The app is very easy to navigate and can be set up in just minutes.
When the Family Link App is used as intended it will allow kids the right amount of freedom while using technology. Parents will not feel like they need to hover over their kids while are using a device either. Instead, parents will be able to safely monitor the child’s usage and help them make responsible device choices. Hello teachable moments!!
I am not a helicopter parent nor do I ever want to take away my children’s privacy but what I have found with Family Link is that it gets us all talking. Jude asked us from the beginning why we were setting up the Family Link App on our devices. We were open and honest with him about some very important internet and technology safety issues. Having an open conversation is key when introducing technology to your children – no matter their age! Whether your children are younger or in their teens, the Family Link app from Google lets you set digital ground rules to help guide them as they learn, play, and explore online.
Favorite Parts Of Family Link
We have been using Family Link app from Google for nearly a year now and as the kids get older and have more devices we have been using it more and more. While I cannot find anything bad to say about this FREE app I can list the many reasons we LOVE it.
I can log into my Family Link for Parents app and monitor the activity that Jude and Teagan have had. It is really easy to use and can be done at random. This part of the Family Link is broken down by app to see how much time is spent on each app per child. In addition to the accrued time I can see when it was last accessed as well.
Jude and Teagan are a bit young but I can see how this activity area could be a great resource for parents with teens, maybe you notice they are spending a lot of time on a certain app, ask questions. Do not pry for information, instead create a conversation with your child.
Screen Time Limits
This is a big reason we decided to use the Family Link on all of our devices. Look, its a world of technology out there and if we let them, the kids would be on a screen every minute of the day. To be honest, I think we lost track of how much time was spent on a screen and now that we have Family Link we are able to really see where the time goes.
We even set a bedtime for the kids so when the time hits for bedtime routine, all screens are done. In addition, the app allows me to adjust the screen time limits and bedtime per day. On the weekends our screen time is different than on school days. Making these adjustments are so easy to do too!
Lock It Down!
GROUNDED! No seriously, no screen time kids!! I love this tool and have used it many times. This feature allows us to lock the devices – all of them for both or one child when they haven’t completed what we asked or if their behavior results in losing technology.
Did you know that if you have a Google Home, you can even make Google do it — just say “Hey Google, lock Jude’s device.”
My kids love to download new apps. For the most part, they understand that they cannot be apps that cost money. What I love about Family Link is that I get a notification every time this is attempted – free or not – and I get to approve the app before it is purchased or downloaded. While we have never had an issue with the kids purchasing items I do love that this feature is present on Family Link.
Block Mature Content
My worst fear of having the kids on devices is them getting to something that could hurt them or scare them. Family Link app makes it easy to control the Mature Content issue. This feature allows us to monitor, filter, and block websites that we do not approve of.
While we have not used the tracking feature on Family Link I know a few friends that do use it and it has come in handy a few times. Again, our kids are a bit young for this piece of the app but I know that we will use it in the coming years. Family Link allows you to find your child when they are away from home using the Family Link app. If your child has their device, you’ll know where they are.
Parents – Let’s Be Internet Awesome!
Last week I was able to learn more about these Google – Be Internet Awesome campaign and I love it. While we are a technology loving family the idea of having our kiddos online and exposed to so many things has me a bit worried. After discussing the Be Internet Awesome campaign with Google I am ready to open the conversation with Jude and Teagan!
To Be Internet Awesome we must be Smart, Alert, Strong, Kind and Brave! Time to teach those qualities to our kids. I am excited to continue using the Family Link app from Google and incorporate the Be Internet Awesome qualities at home and at school.
While Family Link app From Google is pretty amazing, let’s not forget as parents we have a huge responsibility when we allow our kids to be online or use devices. Google is not a parent, you are, and honestly, this app has helped me parent better. Those totals of screen time at the end of the week really helps me see how to make sure we engage more as a family rather than looking to devices for entertainment all the time. But, in this world of technology, I am so incredibly thankful for an app like Family Link!