I am so excited to see this change in the industry. 3 years ago that was only a wishful thinking but now the future looks promising.
We all struggle with helping our children balance screen time, the nagging, the fighting, being the device police. With this release, Google made another step towards helping kids build a healthy relationship with their devices. Family Link is Google’s parental control software for Android devices. I was able to join the beta group a few month back and I am glad to hear it’s being released to the public. With Family Link parents can manage apps, set screen time limits and device bedtimes, from their iOS or Android device. Just have in mind that it is designed specifically to manage a child’s Android devices. Unfortunately my kids have iOS devices so I could only test it in the lab and wait for Apple.
Apple now it’s your turn!
Apple has some restriction to block or limit specific apps on the kids’ iOS devices. They also recently added family sharing. The original purpose of this feature is shared backup location, but this capability has an amazing additional feature, it’s called Ask to buy. By enabling it, parents can approve all apps the kids wish to install. A prefect way to monitor inappropriate apps installed on their devices, or keep track of social media channels the kids are using.
Apple also offers guided access to restrict to use one app at the time. Common Sense Media website offer a great instructions on how to set it. Last but not least, the latest iOS 11 have additional control to prevent texting and driving. Suitable for both teens that drive and their parents.
Neil Armstrong famous quote “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” feels so right here. This is a great first step. It is definitely a promising start from both Apple and Google and I am looking forward to see additional parental control capabilities as they keep on improving their products.
3 years ago when I started to look for a solution none of this existed. Therefore I decided to take matters to my own hand, and created Screen. It wasn’t easy and in every meeting I used to spend the majority of the time just explaining why we need it and why it is so important. The more I was sharing from my experience, the more I hear of parents struggle stories. I offered my guidance and my support with tips to help maintain a healthy balance. For some parents it was enough, but some need more.
At the App Store and Google Play you can find parental control apps with additional capabilities. Some offer scheduling, some content, and some both. I want to use the stage to urge Apple and Google to expand their open API for developer. So us, the parents, can have better tools to choose from in-order to assist our kids in balancing technology.
Again, congrats to Google, and I am looking forward to see what’s cooking next!
Originally published at medium.com