Earlier this month, Google announced new parental tools would finally be coming to all Google TV devices, beginning with its latest Chromecast, and the company has kept to its word. New child profiles are starting to appear for users in the US, improving how kid-friendly content is managed on its streaming software.
As with most of Google's updates, kid profiles are attached to a server switch and not a system update, though restarting my Chromecast triggered the change. If the feature is live on your device, you'll receive a notification prompting you to set up a "kids profile." If you miss out on the announcement, you can still start setup by selecting the option from the "Choose your account" screen.
Setting up a separate profile for your kid is simple and straightforward. Google asks for your child's first name and age and allows you to make specific apps available for viewing. Top app suggestions include PBS Kids, Disney Now, and of course, YouTube Kids, but you can also select any of the streaming services already installed on your Chromecast. Before finalizing your kid's new account, you can customize themes, enable profile locks, and schedule screen time both throughout the day and at bedtime.
The home screen feels pretty sparse in kids mode, with access restricted to pre-selected apps and age-appropriate content from your family library. Although switching between child and adult profiles is only blocked if enabled during setup, the settings menu is always locked behind your Google account's password to stop your kid from disabling parental controls.
Overall, these new kid-friendly profiles offer a much-needed addition to the Chromecast, even if it doesn't entirely make up for missing multi-user support. Kids mode is currently limited to US-based Google TV devices, but the feature should become available globally over the coming months.
Also available outside the US
It seems this feature might not be limited to the US after all. Although Google's initial announcement of its new parental controls stated a global release wouldn't arrive for several months, it seems kids profiles are now available in multiple regions, including in Brazil.