Setting up your child's android device - the power in Google accounts

Ok, so I merely stumbled across this little gem when I got my kids new tablets for their birthdays.

I figured that instead of having their million and one half face blurry selfies backed up to my google account, I’d create accounts for them to link to each of their devices.

I didn’t know if they could have google accounts if they’re under 13 – I guess I just assumed they couldn’t. Well, wasn’t I surprised!

I put in my 7 year old’s birth date and thought it would reject me but instead it asked me to link the account to a ‘parent’ Google account. An ‘ooooooh’ escaped from my mouth as I got excited about having control.

Once linked, Google tells me to install the Google Family Link app on my phone. I’d never heard of it before – why had I not heard of this before???

google family link
device permissions

I install the app and now, from my android phone, I have all the tools needed to set up and monitor my child’s device.

  • I can select what apps I do and don’t want them to use.
  • You’re able to block Youtube, internet browsers, or other potentially intoxicating things that your kids can become obsessed with.
  • I also set up the devices so apps can’t be installed without my account’s approval. SAY WHA!?! Yeah, THAT cool.

It gets even better...

As I dig deeper into this app I find more cool things, but I am forever wondering “How did I not know about this before??” 

This app is FREE. Yes, free. I’ve heard of similar applications advertised on the radio that cost you money. I’m not sure people are even aware that there are free trusted alternatives already out there. I spoke to some friends and family to ask if they knew about this and to my amazement, they didn’t either.

 My sister in law set this up for her kids on old android phones that she and my brother no longer used. She found more cool features that I had not yet explored.

  • You can set daily device limits so if your child is a screen zombie the device will block their activity once they reach the limit.
  • Their device/tablet can have a bed time. My kids don’t do this but I know some will sneak the tablet into their bed at night and stay up until 2am without you realising. The bedtime settings will stop the device from working during the hours and on the days you set.
  • You can see what your child has been doing and how long they’ve been doing it for. “I’ve finished Mathletics Mum, can I play Minecraft now?” “Sorry honey, but it says you were on Mathletics for 1 minute. We both know that’s not long enough to complete your activities.”
  • If the device is lost, it can be found! You can get it to sing to you – I totally found this out yesterday. You can also track the devices location – I don’t do this because our tablets are strictly ‘at home’ devices.
  • If you need to lock your kids out of their device for any particular reason, you can do that too simply by changing/setting a new password from the Google Family Link app on your phone.

The Google Family Link App is awesome

Honestly, I can’t rave about this little known Google gem enough. For those of you with Android filled lives this is a must have. You can learn more about the app by visiting the web page here.
If you want to check it out in the play store you can find it here.

If you want your children to have devices but can’t afford any or don’t want to give them something they can destroy, use an old phone that you have laying around. As long as you can charge it, access the internet and put apps on it, your children can utilise it for any number of things from school work to leisure time.
Set up a Google account for them that’s linked to your account, so their selfies are backed up to their own account (not yours) and you still have control.
Install Google Family Link on the devices (including yours) and set it up exactly the way you want to.
There, done. Parenting like a pro

Michelle xx

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