The internet is as harmful as it is useful, especially for naïve innocent little kids who have yet to grasp the reality that not everyone out there has good intentions. It is for that reason that responsible parents supervise their kids’ online activities by limiting their access and usage of the internet.
Up to now, Google’s Android-powered smartphones limit preteens (kids aged 12 and below) to using just the native apps that shipped with the device. Unless a grown up (hopefully their parent or one with the parent’s permission) decides to give them their Google account for them to access Play Store and other Google services like Gmail and the ability to leave comments on YouTube videos.
Simply put, Google accounts were not being issued to preteens, and as such they cannot fully enjoy Android smartphone capabilities especially when it comes to internet access. It is also for their own good, as kids could get into a lot of trouble if granted unsupervised access to the internet.
It has been upon their parents to monitor their use of smartphone physically. But now, parents could do so virtually and by not being the ‘bad guy’ who doesn’t allow them access to ‘cool stuff’ on the internet. Thanks to Google recently launched Android feature Family Link that grants access to Android features to kids.
About Family Link
As it works out, the new Family Link feature enables preteens to have Google accounts granting them access to Play Store and ability to leave comments on YouTube. However, their accounts will be linked (via Family Link) to their parent’s Google account who is the supervisor of the accounts.
That is to say, the parent will get to choose what sites the kids can visit, what apps they can install, for how long they can use the smartphone by setting up ‘screen time’ limits, and even track the kids physical locations.
Indeed developments in this digital age call for rethinking of the legal, social, and technological treatment for the minors. Kids are getting mobile phones from as early as the age of 8-years, and in some situations it is more of a necessity than just a parent spoiling their kid.
While completely banning smartphones for kids sounds ideally looks like a good idea, but it might not be practical in reality. Thus, Google is rethinking of the way of revamping parental control in this digital age especially when the cyberspace is concerned.