Google opens up 'Family Link' parental controls for Android

Parents manage kids' devices, limiting when and what they can access.

Earlier this year Google rolled out Family Link controls for parents to manage children's usage of Android devices but it required an invitation for access. Now the Family Link app is available throughout the US without an invitation, with three basic groups of controls ready for use.

Manage the apps your kid can use: Approve or block the apps your kid wants to download from the Google Play Store.

Keep an eye on screen time: See how much time your kid spends on their favorite apps with weekly or monthly activity reports, and set daily screen time limits for their device.

Set device bedtime: Remotely lock your kid's device when it's time to play, study, or sleep.

Controlling things with the Family Link app is fairly easy, and possible from any modern Android device running 4.4 or higher, or on iOS as long as you have version 9 or higher. The list of hardware for kids that can be controlled is a bit more limited, however, it will work on anything running Android 7.0 (Nougat) or higher, as well as a short list of hardware on 6.0 (Marshmallow). When you set up a kid's device and indicate that they are under the age of 13 (there is a 30 cent charge which Google says is there to prove an adult has given their consent), Family Link will automatically be installed and walk you through the setup process.