Google Family Link is a Godsend for parents who want to allow their children to explore the wonders of digital education and entertainment-based apps and games while still maintaining some limitations to their screen time. Unfortunately, any timer restrictions you’ve previously set for your kids per app, including the ‘No limit’ option, have always counted against their daily screen time cap. Now, Google is adding an ‘Always allow’ option so that some apps can be exempt from this!
Wait just a second – why in the world would a parent want such a feature? Isn’t the point of Family Link to limit screen time? Well, yes, but certain apps, like the calculator seen above, can be utilized to do homework and are more so a tool than a means of entertainment. Just because something comes in application form, doesn’t mean it’s for funsies, right?
This is a welcome change, but it’s super late to the party, I think. It’s interesting how Google decides to roll things out in such a way that features normally deemed essential end up being added years after the fact. Either way, it’s worth adding, so I’m glad they did.
To set the new timer option, just open the Family Link app, select your child, visit the ‘App activity’ card, and tap ‘Set limits’ or ‘more’. Then, all you have to do is tap on the desired app, its hourglass icon, and choose ‘Always allow’.
What would be even better is if Family Link allowed for separate ‘profiles’ so to speak for your children so that they could separate out apps used for school from apps used for play or entertainment. Android Enterprise has such a feature – Work Profiles. While this is primarily a means to keep work data separate from personal data, I believe that such a concept could be combined with Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool called Downtime, which greys apps out based on a set schedule.
What apps would you set to ‘Always allow’ on your children’s Family Link devices? Let us know in the comments. Do you believe that separation of home data from school data is essential in this new normal we’re living in? I believe that at distance learning is cause enough for each child to have two separate personas in their digital life.