Google Makes Family Link and Google TV More Child-Friendly

Google has redesigned its Family Link experience, launched five years ago to help keep children safe online. The most popular tools — screen time limits, blocking apps and content filters — are now easier to find, and there is a central place for viewing requests and notifications. A Controls tab has been added, enabling parents to set screen time limits for individual devices or specific apps, dial-in content restrictions and manage data permissions. With families in mind, Google is also adding new AI-powered features to Google TV, such as parent-controlled watchlists.

The moves are the latest efforts by the Android-maker as it emphasizes safety and a family-friendly posture for is operating system. Family Link now has a new Today Only parameter for screen-time limits that can, under special circumstances override the general settings for one day without changing anything else. And guardians can now “lock children’s Android and Chromebook devices at a set ‘bedtime,’” TechCrunch shares.

Using the Location tab, parents can now display all children on the same map with their device location. Notifications can signal when a child arrives at or leaves a specific destination, like school or soccer practice.

“Parents have told us that some of Family Link’s most helpful features are tools to manage screen time and guide kids to age-appropriate content. Now, we’ve made them easier to use,” Google’s Family Link product manager Wendi Rieb wrote in a blog post.

“Tapping on the notification bell at the top of the app will show parents not just the latest updates, but also all the requests they get from their kids for app downloads and purchases,” notes Engadget, adding, “that’s also where they can find their kids’ request for access to websites they’d previously blocked.”

The Highlights tab shows a snapshot of app usage, screen time and recently installed apps, so parents can analyze how kids use their device. Google has also incorporated resources from groups like Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely and the Family Online Safety Institute to help inform families’ online safety conversations. In addition to the phone app, the Family Link dashboard is also now accessible via browser on the web.

The updates to Google TV include features to improve content recommendations while maintaining child safety. “Parents can directly push titles to the ‘must watch’ lists for kids from their profiles (by just tapping the watchlist button on the titles they came across and pressing add),” TechCrunch writes, noting algorithmically generated suggestions can also be enabled.

“Children can now look at popular shows and movies on their Google TV home screen based on installed apps and parent-defined ratings levels.” Google TV has also added support for a supervised experience specific to YouTube, which kids can now explore using their Google TV kids profile, the company explains in a blog post.

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