Google launches Family Link internet safety app in Ireland

8 Nov 2017

Google Family Link wants to make the internet safer for kids. Image: Shutterstock/Alexey Androsov

Google wants to help parents set healthy online boundaries and guidelines for their children.

Setting rules and regulations while wanting your children to enjoy and benefit from using the internet is a difficult balance for parents to strike. With that in mind, Google has developed an app to help parents stay connected while their child uses the internet on their Android or iPhone.

The app, called Family Link, has proven to be a success in the US following its launch earlier this year, and Google today (8 November) announced that it has launched the app in Ireland.

Building rules for the internet and your child

Family Link connects an Android or iPhone to a child’s device, helping parents to build digital ground rules for their entire family.

Parents can manage the apps used by their kids, set daily screen-time limits and even a device bedtime. They can also can set up a remote lock for their child’s device when it’s time to play outside, sleep or do that dreaded Sunday night homework. Deciding the right amount of screen time can depend on what apps a child is using the most, which can be monitored through the Family Link app.

Google is also emphasising the need for strong passwords for any accounts that are held by children, encouraging people to set reminders on calendars to update passwords every six months.

While the Family Link app itself doesn’t block all inappropriate content, Google Search and Chrome have extensive content filtering options.

To use Google Family Link, the child will need a device that runs at least Android Nougat (7.0) or iOS 9. Parents can then download Family Link onto their own devices and create a Google account for their child using the app.

Head of Google Ireland, Fionnuala Meehan, said: “Our goal with Family Link is to help parents and children explore technology and the digital world together, while making it easier for them to discover, create and share as a family.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects