This post is in partnership with Google and the Mom it Forward Influencer Network. Compensation was received, but all opinions are my own.
Max turned 11 a couple of weeks ago, and we have, for the first time, given him his very own device that has internet access. While he has had tablets and laptops that were for all intents and purposes “his,” Jamie and I made a point to not let him know that, and we still managed them pretty intensively. We managed his access is a pretty tightly controlled way, because he was young and wasn't doing anything on them that we didn't know about.
As he gets older, we're starting to loosen that control a bit, and giving him his first new tablet is the first step in that. It seems like a good process to us; a tablet this year, a phone next year. He'll be in middle school, so it seems a logical place to make that leap.
But in the meantime, he's got a Wi-Fi only tablet that we picked up for him on sale over the holidays. While it's officially “his,” Jamie and I wanted to be sure to set him up for success with it, and defining boundaries is a big part of that.
That's why the Family Link app from Google is the perfect tool for us!
I've long been nervous about giving Max his own device, so I love the peace of mind that Family Link gives me. Family Link is an excellent app that we were able to set up in just minutes. It gives me a variety of controls, but also lets Max make some of his own decisions. There are content controls, time limits, location sharing and more, giving me peace of mind that Max's internet experience will be safer than it would be if he were just set loose in the wilds of the web.
When Max goes to install a new app on his tablet, he has the option to ask me for permission, or to send me a message requesting permission. I put in my Google account password if he brings it to me, or I will get a push notification on my phone that he's requesting a new app. I then have the option to accept or deny the request, with one tap.
I can keep an eye on his useage, set acceptable hours for him to use the tablet (we had a short period of 3am Roblox chats) and even lock it from my phone if I think it's time for him to be done.
I can see reports of what he's been up to, and how much time he's spending in the different apps. I really feel like Family Link gives me a great overview without feeling like I'm in his face all the time. It's like he's on a leash and I'm OK with that.
Set digital ground rules for your family today! Click to learn more about Family Link.