Manage your child's Google Play apps

When you use Family Link to manage your child’s Google Account, you can choose to limit the apps your child can use on certain devices.

To manage your child’s apps, your child must be using one of the following devices:

  • An Android device (running Android 5.1 or higher)
  • A Chromebook (running Chrome OS version 71 or higher)

Important: System apps aren't supported by the app limit functionality. You can set limits for Android 7+ devices.

Choose which apps from Google Play your child can use

Block or unblock an app

The app will be blocked or unblocked in about 5 minutes, or once the device is connected to the Internet. If your child is using the app at the time you block it, they'll get a 1 minute warning to finish up before the app is blocked. The app should be blocked on all of your child's Android devices or Chromebooks.

Important: Some apps can't be blocked because they're required for parent supervision settings to work, or for your child's device to work.

Family Link app

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Apps installed," card tap More.
  4. Tap the name of the app you want to allow or block.
  5. Turn "Allow app" on or off.

Family Link on the web

  1. Go to Family Link on the web.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Click Android apps.
  4. Turn the app on or off.
Select your Always allowed apps
Important: Always allowed apps are only supported for children signed-in on Android 7+ devices except those running Google Kids Space. Check which version of Android your child is using.
  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link
  2. Select your child. 
  3. On the "App activity" card, tap Set limits or More.
  4. Next to your desired app, tap Empty hourglass and then Always allow always allow.

Tips:

  • Always allowed apps don't count toward your child’s screen time limits and aren't available after bedtime.
  • If parents tap “Lock now,” Always allowed apps aren't available, unless you change this setting from the device lock card.
    1. From the device lock card tap Settings.
    2. Tap Allow ‘Always allowed’ apps and then Save.
Edit your Always allowed apps
Important: Always allowed apps are only supported for children signed-in on Android 7+ devices except those running Google Kids Space. Check which version of Android your child is using.
  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link and then Select your child.
  2. On the "App activity" card, tap Set limits or More.
  3. Next to your desired app, tap Always always allow.

From here you can select an option to: 

  • Always allow always allow.
  • Set a time limit Set limit.
  • Set unlimited time Empty hourglass.
  • Block an app Block.

Tips:

  • Always allowed apps don't count toward your child’s screen time limits and aren't available after bedtime.
  • If parents tap “Lock now,” Always allowed apps aren't available, unless you change this setting from the device lock card.
    1. From the device lock card tap Settings.
    2. Tap Allow ‘Always allowed’ apps and then Save.
Help prevent your child from downloading mature apps

You can set up parental controls to restrict the content your child can download or purchase from Google Play.

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings and then Controls on Google Play.
  4. Under "Content restrictions," choose your filters:
    • Apps, Games, Movies, and TV: Choose the highest maturity level of content you want to allow for download or purchase.
    • Music and Books: Choose whether you want to restrict downloads or purchases of explicit content.

Tip: You can also manage your child's account when you click on your child's name at g.co/YourFamily.

Flag inappropriate content

Google Play

First, check the content to see if it has the Family Star badge Family star badge. If you see the Family Star badge, skip the steps below and report a problem with family content. Otherwise, follow the steps below.

Play, apps, games & music

  1. On your child's device, open the Play Store app Play Store.
  2. Tap the inappropriate music, app or game.
  3. At the bottom of the page, tap Flag as inappropriate.
  4. Choose the reason you find the content inappropriate.
  5. Tap Submit.

Set parental controls on Play Games

Parental controls don't change the games you see in the Play Games app, including games you've bought or recommended games.

If you try to install a game using the Play Games app, you’ll be taken to the Play Store app where your parental controls settings may restrict access.

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Tap Manage settings and then Controls on Google Play.
  4. Tap the type of content you want to filter.
  5. Choose how to filter or restrict access.

Tip: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at g.co/YourFamily.

See your child's app activity

You can see how much time your child spent using apps on their Android devices or Chromebooks. Time is tracked when the app is open and shown on the screen, but not when the app is working in the background.

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "App activity" card, tap Set up. After you turn on App Activity, you'll see your child's app activity in a few hours.

Troubleshoot problems

My child is using an app from Google Play that I don't want them to have

If your child has access to an app you don't want them using, follow the instructions above to block the app.

If you want to approve each app your child downloads or purchases, change your child's purchase approval settings.

Important: Apps that you previously installed or approved, or those available through your Play Family Library will not require additional approval to download.

I want to share apps with my family

You can set up Google Play Family Library to share eligible paid apps with your family.

Important: If you set up parental controls for your child, they won't see any apps that exceed the parental control settings you chose.

"This app isn't available for kids at this time" error

Your child will see this error if they try to download a Google app that isn't available for children under 13 (or the applicable age in your country).

My child can't sign in to some apps with their Google Account

Signing in with Google Accounts for children under 13 (or the applicable age in your country) isn't currently supported for non-Google apps.

I don't want to track my child's app activity

If you don't want to see how much time your child spends on Android apps, you can turn off the additional Web & App Activity setting.

Important: Turning off this setting might make other Google services less reliable.

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings and then More and then Manage Google Activity and then Go to activity controls.
  4. Under "Web & App Activity", uncheck the box next to "Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services."

Related articles 

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?