Family Link, Google's set of parental management tools for their children's Android accounts, has received positive feedback since its U.S. launch in September 2017, leaving parents in unsupported countries eagerly awaiting the service. Thankfully for them (or at least, most of them), the wait is soon to be over, now that Google has announced it will roll Family Link out to "nearly every country in the world" over the coming days.
This comes after Google brought the total of countries with access to Family Link to 37 countries in May. While the new countries haven't been listed yet, they should pop up here. When Android Police reached out to Google for a full list, a company spokesperson reiterated that it's not posted yet but will be "available in nearly every country globally, except for a handful."
In addition to the geographic expansion, Google announced today that Family Link is shifting its focus to include teens that have control of their own accounts (the applicable age depends on the country). Teens are free to turn off supervision if they choose, but Family Link will alert parents that they've done so. If they weren't already part of Family Link, they must consent before monitoring can begin.
While the service became available on Chromebooks in April, users can now manage website restrictions and account settings for their children and teens from the device, and will soon be able to set screen time limits and manage the apps they allow their children to use on Chromebooks.
All in all, it's about time the service expanded to more countries, but the teenage supervision controls will no doubt prove a bit more controversial. The team behind the change believes strongly in it, though. Family Link program manager Carter Gibson wrote on Google+:
Until today, Google Family Link only allowed supervision of kids up to 13 - required because of fun laws like COPPA. When a kid turned 13, supervision was disabled and we heard over and over again that this is really when parents ~needed~ supervision. Over the past year, my team worked tirelessly to create an appropriate solution for teens 13+ and we did it the right way, complete with copious amounts of research, rethinks, and support from other teams at Google.
Teens, of course, may disagree.