For Android devices, there’s Family Link, an app that must be downloaded through the Google Play Store. From there, parents can set up a child’s Google account to be monitored with the software. For parents who use iPhones and want to manage their children’s Android phones, there is also a Family Link app for iOS.
For iPhones, Apple’s iOS includes a tool called Screen Time, which can also limit the time that someone spends on the device. It can be activated inside the iPhone’s settings app by following Apple’s instructions.
Are these tools any good?
Both have pros and cons.
Google’s Family Link has useful features, including the option to reject apps that a child is trying to download and the ability to lock down a device at specific times — between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., for example, when the child is in bed.
But Family Link has a major limitation: When children turn 13, they can choose to “graduate,” as Google calls it, or lift the restrictions. At that age, the child reaches the minimum age requirement in the United States to create a Google account without parental consent.
One workaround for parents who want to continue using the restrictions is to go into the child’s Google account and modify the age to under 13.