Google Family Link is now invite-free for parents in the U.S.

Back in March, Google officially introduced Family Link — a suite of parental controls that aimed to help make raising your kids in the 21st century just a little bit easier. Family Link could only be accessed with an invitation when it first launched, but today, Google is making the service available for everyone to try.

You'll still need to live in the United States and have a Google account to get things started, but assuming you do, you can start using Family Link by either going to the Family Link website or downloading the official app from the Play Store. Once you've done this, you can start creating Google accounts for your children if they don't already have one.

With your kids' accounts made and connected to your account via Family Link, you'll be able to set all sorts of limits and restrictions on what they can and can't do with their devices. This means that you'll be able to approve and block apps/games that can be downloaded from the Play Store, see how long your son or daughter's phone screen has been on, set daily limits for how long devices can be used, and even remotely lock your kiddos' gadgets when it's time to go to do homework, play outside, or go to bed.

The Family Link app is automatically downloaded to your kids' phones/tablets after you've got their accounts linked to the service, and for any of our readers that would like a helping hand for making sure your children are using their devices in a safe and healthy manner, Family Link looks like one of the best tools that you have at your disposal.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • I use this with my daughters Moto Z Play Phone that she has for Wi-Fi only. It is quite good and underrated. It does a very good job and makes it easy for them to request an app or website. The only thing I wish it had was expanded app timers. You can set a limit both on time spent on device and when to do nighttime schedule's but it would be nice to set timers on certain apps, like YouTube Kids.
  • I would like to do this for my daughters, but they already have existing gmail accounts. Guess, I have to wait more.
  • This. I'm sure it's great news for parents of newborns, but I set up google accounts for my kids years ago to use their chromeboxes and wifi-only android devices
  • it says you can link their existing gmail account...
  • "Family Link only works with Google accounts for kids under 13 created via the Family Link app. Once a kid turns 13, they can continue to use Family Link if they choose to do so. Teens with existing accounts, however, are not eligible to be managed by Family Link at this time."
  • Google is really adding new features every day. That is very cool
  • "Requires an Android phone for your kid running Nougat (7.0) or higher"...yeah, right!!
  • I've been using Family Link on my 11 year old daughter's phone since it came out and it's worked pretty well although she is very responsible and knows the rules and knows what is considered appropriate for her age. My 14 year old son on the other hand, is on the spectrum for Asperger's and is extremely addicted to tech and it's a constant battle with him to get him to put his phone down and do what he needs to get done first, like homework and chores. Family link only let's you control Google accounts for children that are 13 or younger, so I can't use it on my son's phone, which is a real bummer. I use an app called Dinner Time on his phone and he keeps finding ways to disable it because he's really tech savvy and quite sneaky. It alerts me whenever he mucks with the settings and he knows that he will be grounded from his phone for a week when he does so, but we still run into times where he just can't seem to help himself or doesn't care about the consequences and then it turns into a huge blowout of an argument when it's time to take his phone away and ground him. I wish family link could be used on his phone and don't understand why it's not available for accounts for kids over 13. I'm sure someone will say to just make an account for him and say he's like 10, but Family Link doesn't let you use YouTube and that's like his most-used app, he also has his own channel where he livestreams his gameplay and uploads game clips and reviews he makes and has a few hundred subscribers. I just want to be able to set a screen-on time limit, set a schedule of certain time windows when he's allowed to use his phone, be able to remotely lock his phone, and be able to locate him if I need to. Since Family Link is so tightly integrated with the OS and Google accounts, it's the only thing I've found where he won't be able to get around it. If anyone else has any suggestions of an app that fits my son's scenario, I am all ears- errrr i mean eyes. Or both. Thanks
  • Just go into that Gmail account, change the password and close it. Then create a new saying he is 10 years old. You now have control. They won't verify age
  • Like I said, he has an existing account he uses for his YouTube channel for uploading gameplay clips, doing reviews and has a few hundred subscribers. And Family Link accounts won't let your use regular YouTube, period. Only YouTube Kids. I'm not going to take regular YouTube away from a high school freshman, even though he still needs to have something installed that allows me to check what he's up to. Like I said, he has Asperger's so he can be a little difficult at times. It's a balancing act between freedom and security with him
  • From the article - this is an outright lie. "Once you've done this, you can start creating Google accounts for your children if they don't already have one." This service has a fatal flaw if your child already has an email you cannot use it. The only way to use this service and therefore protect your children and monitor them is if you start fresh with a whole new email. Which is beyond ridiculous, my son has a curated YouTube kids list that he loves and I'd hate to have to have him start all over again because Google can't seem to wrap their head around how in the world they wouldn't implement using a pre-existing Gmail within the family link app. It's nothing more than a joke and useless until they figure it out.
    Your child's existing email will not work they have to scrap it and start a new one point blank.
  • Frustrating. Need to find out what google folks are drinking.
  • completely worthless. accounts already exist. shouldn't matter what age they are (even some adults probably need to be managed--special needs, etc).
  • So once kids turn 13 Google thinks they should be allowed to do whatever they want with their account? I don't think so. Parents should decide when they're ready to turn over the reins, not Google. So this will be yet another botched product by Google that hardy anyone will use. They've grown way too big now and have lost touch with reality.
  • Some kids need it until 16 or 18. My daughter needs it until she is 30.
  • When did google allow those under 13 to create a google account? Created one for my 8 year old 4 years ago for a wifi only device and had to lie about her age. All her photos are backed up to the cloud. I'd hate to start over at this point. Been using kids place app for parental controls so far it's been good.
  • So what decent phones have Android N now. A list of compatible devices could be a good idea
  • Don't think my 25 and 28 year old kids would appreciate this. LOL.