Google's parental control Family Link app now available in Singapore

With Google's Family Link app, parents can see how much time their child is spending on his favourite apps.
With Google's Family Link app, parents can see how much time their child is spending on his favourite apps. PHOTO: GOOGLE

SINGAPORE - Parents can now keep an eye on their child's digital activities with the Family Link app from Google.

First launched last year in the United States, Google's Family Link parental control app is now available here. It lets parents monitor and manage their child's Android smartphone or tablet from their Android or Apple mobile device.

Parents can set screen time limits for their child's Android device, approve or block their app downloads from the Google Play Store and even track the location of the child's device.

To use Family Link, the parent needs to have an Android device (running Android 4.4 and higher) or an iPhone or iPad (running iOS 9 and higher). The child's device must be running Android 7.0 Nougat and higher, though some devices on Android 5.0 or 6.0 may also be compatible.

At the moment, Family Link is intended for children under 13 years old (or the age of consent in their residing country). But Google says parents will soon be able to monitor their teenagers using the app, though it did not announce a specific date.

However, teenagers are given the option to stop being supervised, but their parents will be notified.

A study published last year by think-tank DQ Institute and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) found that 12-year-olds in Singapore spent over 6½ hours daily before a screen, with 70 per cent of them owning a mobile device.

Besides Singapore, the Family Link app was also launched today in selected territories of Asia (India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam) and Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama and Peru). Google had expanded its Family Link app to most of Europe this May.