Google Family Link is an app that allows parents to view their child’s smartphone activity, manage the apps they can use and download, set screen time limits, lock their device, and even track their location.

Family Link does not block inappropriate content, but some apps have their own filtering options. Google apps, such as Chrome, have filtering options that you can find in Family Link. 

For parents of teens 13 and older, Restricted Mode on YouTube is an optional setting that can be used to help filter out mature content. 

However, Google notes that these filters are not perfect, so explicit, graphic, or other content you may not want your child to see makes it through sometimes. This is where Bark comes in to alert you about what makes it through!

Is my child's device compatible with Family Link?

Kids and teens that use Android devices running version 7.0 or higher can use Family Link. Some devices running Android versions 5.0 and 6.0 may be able to run Family Link. 

Family Link also runs on Chromebook. With the Family Link app, you can choose what websites your child can access using Chrome, supervise your child’s app usage, and more. Family Link can be used with Chromebooks running Chrome OS versions 71 or higher.

Is my own device compatible with Family Link?

Parents or guardians can use Family Link on any Android devices running versions 4.4 and higher as well as iPhones running iOS 9 and higher.

Find Your Device's Version of Android

To ensure that you’re following the right set of directions, you’ll first want to check the version of Android your device is running. If it’s not current, you may have the option to update. It’s best to update whenever possible to ensure you have access to all the latest features and security.

  • From the home screen, press the Settings button.
  • Scroll down and select About Phone or About Tablet.
  • Scroll down to Android Version. The number under this heading is the version of Android running on your device (like 8.0).

How to Set Up Family Link on a Smartphone

  • Start by downloading the Family Link Parent app onto your own device. It looks like this:
  • If your child already has a Google account (or Gmail), Family Link will walk you through linking you and your child’s account. As part of that process, your child may also need to download the Family Link Child & Teen app on their phone to complete the process of linking the accounts. The child's app looks like this and is to be installed on the child's Android phone or tablet:
  • If your child does not already have a Google account (or Gmail), you can also create a Google Account for your child so that you can use Family Link.

NOTE: When it comes to monitoring Gmail accounts created for those under 13 years old, for some reason, Google can restrict any third-party connection, which includes Bark. You can see what birthday you've set for your child's Google account, inside of the Google account settings. For instructions on connecting a Gmail to Bark, see here.

  • Once complete, children can sign in to their Android device with their Google account.

Once the accounts are linked, use Family Link to set digital ground rules for your family! See more information below.

How to Block Or Unblock An App

On the Family Link Parent App

  • Open the Family Link parent app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Apps installed card.
  • Tap More.
  • Tap the name of the app you want to allow or block.
  • Turn Allow app on or off.

On Family Link on the Web

  • Go to Family Link on the web.
  • Select your child.
  • Click Android apps.
  • Turn the app on or off.

How to Require Your Approval for Installing New Apps on Google Play

On a Computer

  • On your computer, visit the Google Play My Account page.
  • Click Family Group.
  • Click a family member's name.
  • Select All content, All paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

On an Android

  • On your Android phone or tablet, open the Play Store app.
  • Tap Menu.
  • Tap Account.
  • Tap Family.
  • Tap Manage family members.
  • Tap a family member's name.
  • Tap Purchase approvals.
  • Select All content, Only paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

On an iPhone or iPad

  • On your iPhone or iPad, visit the Google Play My Account page.
  • Find the Family Group section.
  • Tap a family member's name.
  • Select All content, All paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

How to Prevent Your Child From Downloading Mature Apps

You can set up parental controls to restrict the content your child can download or purchase from Google Play.

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Settings card.
  • Tap Manage.
  • Tap Controls on Google Play.
  • Under Content restrictions, choose your filters:
    - Apps, Games, Movies, and TV: Choose the highest maturity level of content you want to allow for download or purchase.
    - Music and Books: Choose whether you want to restrict downloads or purchases of explicit content.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to Choose Permissions for a Certain App

If your child uses multiple devices, repeat these steps to choose their permissions for each device.

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Apps installed card.
  • Tap More.
  • Find the Allowed list.
  • Tap the app you want to change your child's permissions for.
  • Tap App permissions.
  • Switch the permission on or off.

How to Change a Permission Across Multiple Apps

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Device card.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap App permissions.
  • Tap a permission.
  • Below your child's device, switch the permission on or off.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to Prevent Your Child From Changing Their Own App Permissions

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Device card.
  • Tap View settings.
  • Tap App permissions.
  • Tap a permission.
  • Select Only parents or Your child and parents.

If you select "Only parents," your child won't be able to give that permission (like camera or location access, for example) for any new or existing app. However, it doesn't change permissions that have already been granted before adjusting this setting.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to See Your Child's App Activity

You can see how much time your child spent using apps on their Android devices or Chromebooks. Time is tracked when the app is open and shown on the screen, but not when the app is working in the background.

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the App activity card.
  • Tap Set up.
  • After you turn on App Activity, you'll see your child's app activity in a few hours.

How to Manage Your Child's Screen Time

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Daily limit card.
  • Tap Set up or Edit limits.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to set daily limits.

NOTE: Daily limits apply to each Android device or Chromebook your child uses. For example, if you set a daily limit of 2 hours, your child would get 2 hours of time on each device. You can also stop the internet on your child's device at any time.

When you set a limit for your child's screen time on their Android device or Chromebook, they'll get a notification when:

  • Screen time is set for the first time (Android devices only)
  • Their device is about to be locked

When the device is locked, your child:

  • Can't see notifications
  • Can't unlock the device or use any apps
  • Can answer phone calls, and can tap Emergency to make a call if the device has a calling plan (Android phones only)

How to Set a Bedtime on Your Child's Phone

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Bedtime card.
  • Tap Edit schedule.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to set a bedtime.

How to Lock or Unlock Your Child's Device

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • On the card for one of your child's Android devices, tap Lock now or Unlock.

NOTE: You can also use a parent access code to unlock your child's Android device if it isn't connected to the Internet.

How to See Where Your Child's Android Device Is

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Location card.
  • Tap Set Up.
  • Turn on the settings required to see your child's location.
  • Tap Turn on.
    NOTE: It might take up to 30 minutes to see your child's device location.

How to Change Your Child's Location Settings

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Tap Manage Settings.
  • Tap Location.
  • Turn See your child's location on or off.

How to Set Up Family Link on Chromebook

  • Add your child’s Google Account to the Chromebook.
  • If you're signed in to your Chromebook, sign out.
  • On the bottom, click Add person.
  • Enter the Google Account email address and password.
  • Click Next.
  • Follow the steps that appear.

How to Manage Your Child's Browsing on Chrome

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Settings card.
  • Tap Manage settings.
  • Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  • Choose the setting that’s right for your family:
    - Allow all sites:
    Your child will be able to visit all sites, except the ones you block.
    - Try to block mature sites:
    No filter is perfect, but this should help hide sexually explicit and violent sites.
    - Only allow certain sites:
    Your child will only be able to visit the sites you allow.
  • Tap Manage sites to manually allow or block certain sites.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to Block or Allow Certain Sites

If you block a certain site, your child can ask for parental permission to visit it. You'll get a notification in the Family Link app where you can approve or deny their request.

  • Websites: If you block or allow a specific website, like www.google.com, the permission won't apply to sites that begin or end differently, like www.google.co.uk or get.google.com/tips.
  • Domains: If you block or allow an entire domain, like google, the permission applies to sites that begin or end differently too, like google.com, and images.google.fr.

Block or allow a website

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Settings card.
  • Tap Manage settings.
  • Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  • Tap Manage sites.
  • Tap Approved or Blocked.
  • In the bottom right corner, tap Create.
  • Add a website or domain.
  • In the top left, tap Close.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to Change Website Permission Settings

You can decide whether your child can give site permissions to websites they visit, including permission to use location, camera, and notifications.

  • Open the Family Link app.
  • Select your child.
  • Find the Settings card.
  • Tap Manage settings.
  • Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  • Tap Chrome dashboard.
  • Turn Permissions for sites and apps on or off.

NOTE: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name on the Chrome dashboard. When "Permissions for sites and apps" is off, children won’t be able to grant permissions to websites. However, permissions they have already granted will still be in place.

How to Allow Family Link to Install Bark on Your Child's Android

Watch this video to learn how to install Bark for Kids on Android with Family Link.

If you'd like some additional tips — or if the video doesn't play — follow the step-by-step instructions linked below.

Then, to continue the rest of setup for monitoring your child's Android...

You can watch this video to learn how to continue setting up your child's Android for monitoring!

If you'd like some additional tips — or if the video doesn't play — follow the step-by-step instructions linked below.

How To Monitor Content

In addition to setting parental controls on your child's device, the next safety layer parents and caregivers should strongly consider is a monitoring solution to assess the content their kids encounter (and produce) across text messages, social media, and email. Bark can do this for you.

Bark is dedicated to helping keep kids safe online and in real life. In 2018, we helped protect nearly 3 million kids with our groundbreaking products for families and schools.

By monitoring text messages, YouTube, emails, and 24+ different social networks for potential safety concerns like cyberbullying, self-harm, violence, sexual predators, and more, Bark allows busy parents to rest easier knowing their kids are better protected from digital dangers. Sign up today to start your free, one-week trial or visit Bark.us to learn more.

Additional Reading

Have additional questions about setup or anything else?

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!


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