With screen usage increasing in the past year due to distance learning and the need for alternative entertainment, Google is updating Family Link with more tools that tell parents “how kids use devices.”

Google says these features have been highly requested, starting with parents being able to designate “always allowed” apps for kids that will continue to work “even when [the] screen time limit is up.”

For example, if your child needs certain apps for remote learning, they can be marked as “always allowed” so they won’t be counted toward their daily screen time limit. 

Family Link’s daily/weekly/monthly activity reports are adding more details to track how usage changes over time, and will note “what portion of time was spent in ‘always allowed’ apps.”

The Android app will now show battery status and surface suggestions from a “catalog of thousands of teacher-approved Google Play apps for kids under 13 in the U.S.” Those downloads will happen directly on the child’s device.

Lastly on the update front, guardians will now be able to access “Parental controls” directly on the managed device instead of having to always use their own. The new “always allowed” designation, and other Family Link features will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the company today launched families.google as a “one-stop technology resource” that includes details about first-party offerings and best practices:

The website has detailed guides that spell out how to approach your kids’ technology use from organizations like Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, Family Online Safety Institute, Headspace, PBS KIDS and Sesame Workshop.

You’ll also see tips on how to manage online safety and digital wellbeing as well as fun online activities for families and tools for the classroom.

Elsewhere, YouTube and YouTube Kids will offer videos that help families practice mindfulness. Over the next month, a new Headspace Breathers episode will be released weekly.

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Google Family Link letting parents set ‘always allowed’ apps, get more detailed activity reports
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