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.
Google has launched a new website for parents on families.google today. But if you were hoping for a whole slew of new and improved parental controls for Android, Chromebooks, and Google Accounts all collected in one central place on the web, you might be disappointed. The website is merely a resource that gives parents an overview of which tools there are for safeguarding their kids online and what they need to look out for.
The Chromecast with Google TV has a lot more capability than previous Chromecasts, thanks to its new Android TV-based interface. Google is looking to expand its powers further with new software updates, which should also apply to other Google TV hardware (whenever it arrives). The company announced new tools for managing what kids watch, and how long they can watch it.
While Google shunned kids from using its music streaming service when it sunset Play Music, Spotify only recently launched a dedicated app for children, Spotify Kids. The application only consists of hand-picked, child-friendly audio content and comes with a more playful UI. Now Spotify has announced that it's adding support for shared playlists, allowing parents to share their favorite music with their kids.
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With the pandemic ramping up around the world again, children everywhere are picking up smartphones, tablets, and computers to keep up with school and hang out with friends at home. While these devices are great for keeping kids connected, too much screen time is a larger issue today than ever before. To help monitor and rein in how much your child uses their smart devices, you should invest in a parental control service like Wondershare's FamiSafe app, now only $38.99 ($21 off) for a full year subscription.
Earlier this month, Google whitelisted a few extensions for kids' Chromebooks managed via Family Link, like Zoom, Hangouts, and some educational tools — only installable with parental permission, of course. This makes life easier for those who need to rely on video conferences for learning during these stay-at-home times, but it's still a tiny selection. To improve the situation, Google is now testing support for all extensions on managed Chromebooks in Chrome OS 83+ (we tested using Dev 83 and 84).
Netflix is giving users more controls who can access which profile and what titles they can access from within. Most of these additions are for meant to tailor the viewing experience for kids, but for groupies sharing a single account, at least one of the changes will relieve some people from having their content suggestions bombed by their fellow viewers.
Security and privacy are at the heart of our concerns with technology now. With every breach, hack, and vulnerability, we discover how frail this digital footprint we've created is. To protect ourselves, we make sure our devices are always updated with the latest security patches, we try to avoid suspicious sites and apps, we keep our eyes open for phishing attempts in our inbox, but that still isn't enough. If you have smart home gadgets or if you don't control every device in your household, you need network-level protection. Some Wi-Fi routers offer this, but the feature is usually tied in a monthly subscription.