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Google Family Link – control a teenager’s cell phone usage?

2 minutes reading time
14-17 years
Social Media
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Are you worried that your 14-year-old son is spending too much time on his smartphone and using apps that aren’t really appropriate for his age? With the Family Link app, Google wants to make a contribution to media education in families. But to what extent is this also useful for teenagers?

In our article Google Family Link for kids , we summarized what the app can do, explained the possible uses for children, but also explained the risks of the app. Not all functions are useful for teenagers who are at least 16 years old. Because according to Google, from this age onwards you are allowed to have your own account in Germany in order to be able to fully use various Google services, especially on Android devices. But even for young people under 16, not all control functions have to be active anymore. You should decide this based on your child’s level of independence with media.

Does a child account still make sense?

If you have set up a child account for your child’s smartphone, this can be converted into a regular account from the age of 16, which your child will then manage completely on their own. You will be informed about it by mail. Your child can then decide whether to install and restrict apps themselves or continue to leave it up to you, the parent. Consider together to what extent this makes sense. Does your child feel mature enough to assess which app is age-appropriate and how much time they spend on their phone?

The older your child gets, the more independent he or she becomes. For example, you can leave parental controls – controlling how much time he or she spends using certain apps – enabled initially, but let your child manage his or her own phone. Note, however, that this may be an invasion of privacy if your child does not know about it. Also, your child can disable parental controls at any time with their own Google account.

Certain features, such as location tracking, are no longer age-appropriate, especially for teenagers. . Trust your child and talk openly about it if you are afraid that something may happen to him.

Agree on media use rules that should be revisited regularly. This includes whether it still makes sense to use Google Family Link.

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