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)

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.

Note: 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.
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 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.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

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 up parental controls

How parental controls for games work in 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.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

Manage your child's app permissions

Use Family Link to manage the apps available on your child's device:

  • Block or limit access on your child's device 
  • Control their ability to view an app
  • Limit content on a child's phone

To manage your child’s app permissions, your child must be using:

  • An Android device (running Android 6.0 or higher)
  • A Chromebook (running Chrome OS version 71 or higher)

Both parents and your child can manage app permissions. If you want, you can prevent your child from changing their app permissions.

Note: If you turn some permissions off, certain apps might not work correctly.

Choose permissions for a certain app

If your child uses multiple devices, repeat these steps to choose their permissions for each device.

  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Apps installed" card, tap More.
  4. On the "Allowed" list, tap the app you want to change your child's permissions for.
  5. Tap App permissions.
  6. Switch the permission on or off.
Change a permission across multiple apps
  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Device" card, tap Settings and then App permissions.
  4. Tap a permission.
  5. Below your child's device, switch the permission on or off.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

Prevent your child from changing their own app permissions
  1. Open the Family Link app Family Link.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Device" card, tap View settings and then App permissions.
  4. Tap a permission.
  5. Select Only parents or Your child and parents. If you select "Only parents," your child won't be able to give that permission for any new or existing app. However, it doesn't change permissions that have already been granted. 

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

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.

Note: 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.

Note: 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 some activity control settings.

Note: Turning off these settings 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. Switch "Device information" and "Web & App Activity" off.
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