It was recently reported by Engadget that Google made the Family Link app public. Family Link lets parents access most of their kids' activity on the web. It is a good option for parents who have old Android devices that they want to hand down to their children.

Flexible options for child security

The functions of the Family Link are pretty compelling. Once active, it can be used to restrict app downloading from the Play Store. Parents can also block apps that they deem harmful to the children. There is also an option to monitor their screen activity and whatever apps they are using.

In addition to these, parents can also activate time-limiting schemes. This would be useful if they want to restrict access to children who are supposed to be studying or going to bed.

Remote-locking of the device may be a more drastic option, but this feature is also available for use if the parents deem it necessary.

Family Link to compete with Amazon Fire Tablets

Parents' use of the app may not the only reason why Google is making the app public. According to the same report by The Verge, Google is also aiming to compete with Amazon Fire tablets. These tablets are already designed with the same child-security in mind, and Google's app is aiming to challenge the market of these kid-friendly devices.

The Amazon Fire tablet already boasts features similar to Google's app. It can monitor the screen, and parents can retrieve data about their children's internet habits. It can also create reports about the websites kids are accessing and what e-books they are reading. The company even recently launched a parent-oriented dashboard to work with the tablet.

Google's Family Link app does not really have most of the other features that the Fire tablet has, or at least not yet. The company even stated that some music players and some messaging apps will not be tracked.

But for those parents who have old Android phones, the Family Link app will be a convenient alternative to the Amazon Fire.

Instead of buying a new Fire tablet for their kids, they could just give their old Android phones to their children. Parents would then just install the Family Link on the devices and they should have access to the child security features.

Two phones are required for the Family Link app to be useful. One, the child's phone, should be running Android Nougat and above. Some models running Marshmallow were reported to be qualified as well. The parents' phone should be running or at least Android Kit Kat. The parent app has iPhone compatibility, too, and works with Apple devices running iOS 9 or higher.