In today’s day and age, smartphones are getting as essential as cereal and 10-12 years old are getting devices of their own — ostensibly to help their parents keep track of them when they are at school, but really, more as a way to keep them occupied and let their parents have moments of quite. Google has released a brand new, Family Link application that will allow parents to control their kid’s smartphone and tablet usage.

The app allows parents to lock down their kids smartphone or tablet down remotely. That is infinitely easier than trying to wrest control of the offending devices from them when they are deep in doing whatever 10 year olds do with smartphones and tablets.

So, if you are a parent, simply install Family Link app on your device and create a new Google Account for your kid. Next, sign in to your kid’s device using these new account credentials and you are all set up. Note that this will work only if your kids’ device is running Android Nougat 7.0 or higher and the parents’ devices has Android KitKat (4.4) and higher.

If all these conditions are met, parents can have a fair degree of control over their kids smartphone usage. They can use Family Link to block certain apps from being used and can also prevent their kids from downloading specific apps. After all, not all apps on the Play Store are suitable for a 10 year old.

Parents can also get reports of app usage through Family Link. These reports are weekly or monthly and show apps based upon their usage times.

Parents can also use Family Link to restrict their kid’s smartphone usage to a certain number of hours a day. It can also be used to set a bedtime wherein the device automatically locks down during the period.

The app is currently limited to the US and is open to parents with kids under 13 upon an invite-only basis. However, Google could well expand it globally assuming that it receives support here.

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