New help tool for parents: Google Family Link

With the help of the new app, parents can set up and manage children's accounts for their children under 16.

Just in time for the General Data Protection Regulation now in force, which requires parental consent to be guaranteed when processing children's data, Google is launching the app "Family Link" in the EU. According to the provider's terms of use, the use of a separate Google account is permitted from the age of 16. However, since many younger children also have their own smartphone and use Google services, parents now have the option of creating and managing children's accounts with the app "Family Link".

Digression: When is my child ready for a smartphone? 
Many children want a smartphone at an increasingly early age - often reinforced by peer pressure among their friends. For many children, the smartphone is more than just a way to make phone calls and exchange information. It is also a status symbol and a topic of conversation among friends, which gives it a strong social function.
With the klicksafe checklist
"Is your child ready for a smartphone?", parents can go through the child's knowledge and skills point by point and get an overview of which topics should be discussed in advance. The klicksafe-"tips for children's cell phone use"give suggestions on how parents can accompany their child's smartphone use and how cell phone use can be regulated in everyday family life.

Google Family Link
The app provides detailed monitoring of device usage: weekly and monthly activity logs are created and can be accessed. Once parents have downloaded the app and set up sub-accounts, they can control their children's smartphone use, such as enabling or blocking individual apps, viewing or limiting usage time. For example, parents can set a bedtime during which the device cannot be used. It is even possible to remotely lock the device used by the child or individual apps.

The app itself does not block inappropriate content or content that is harmful to minors. Google refers to the filter settings of the Google services (Google Search or Google Play Store). However, since these technical options are not fully effective, Google relies on the help of parents. For example, they can create bookmarks for their children, explore apps together, block certain search results, and work out basic rules with their children for using the smartphone and the associated online services. Google provides tips for this on the info page "Family Link".

Parents can use "Family Link" on their Android or iOS devices (Android devices with KitKat (4.4) and higher; iPhones with iOS 9 and higher) . For more information on usability on different device versions, see the FAQs on the "Family Link info page".

Upon reaching their 16th birthday, the minimum age specified by the terms of use, children can take over the management of their Google account themselves. Parents then receive an e-mail notification giving them the option of transferring the child's account to a regular Google account, thus giving the child more personal responsibility.


More information: 

  • Google Family Link: Info page about the app
  • klicksafe topic Smartphone
  • klicksafe topic Apps
  • klicksafe for parents 
  • Media use agreement from klicksafe and Internet-ABC
  • klicksafe brochure: Smart mobile? - A guide to cell phones, apps and mobile networks for parents and other interested parties