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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When setting up a phone for someone who's not especially tech-savvy (or simply doesn't care to learn about their phone), Android offers a nice amount of flexibility in terms of what you do or don't have to do. But just because the flexibility is there doesn't mean there aren't a few highly advisable, if technically totally optional, steps you can take to make that phone (and potentially the person using it) a lot less annoying. Here are 10 things we think will make any beginner's experience on an Android smartphone less frustrating, both for them and the person tasked with setting them up.
I don't envy parents whose kids are bugging them for their first smartphone, but I guess it's one of the inevitable challenges. Verizon hopes to make the whole process a little less stressful for you with a new plan designed for young children.
Google has split Family Link into two applications. Previously, the parental control service was offered in a single app which was installed on the devices of parents and children alike. The existing listing has now become Family Link for parents and a second app, Family Link for children and teens, has been introduced. After installing the latter on a child's device, parents can control it directly from their dedicated app.
One thing that Facebook has not been well-equipped to deal with is children. No, I don't mean teenagers. Most users are familiar with the barrage of photos that accompany each birth in the family of a Facebook friend, which often involves a mess of tagging of one or both parents in every baby photo. For parents themselves, they struggle sorting out photos of their sons and daughters unless they just dedicate albums to the children specifically. Now, Facebook is rolling out an optional set of features to make the process smoother for all involved.
Facebook is showing their devotion to inclusivity by even serving the children of iPhone owners.
Google has revealed their intention to roll out a new YouTube app just for kids, starting next week. It will be aptly named YouTube Kids and is geared towards those 10 years old or younger. Perhaps most interesting for non-children is that the app, at least initially, will be released exclusively on Android.
Image by USA Today
It features a fairly dumbed-down user interface that will leverage Google's voice recognition rather than rely on the spelling abilities of young children. And, of course, it has the huge benefit (for parents) of filtering out inappropriate content, including denying searches that will obviously turn up bad results.
When we think of tablet manufacturers, News Corp doesn't really come to mind off the bat. Yet, here we are. The international media conglomerate has announced plans for a branded Android tablet targeted at education called Amplify. The slate would come pre-loaded with Google Apps for Education, content from Common Sense Media, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and a graphing calculator. Most of this can be acquired or supplemented on regular Android tablets, but having the system pre-built may make teachers' lives easier.
What these tablets offer that others don't, however, is lesson plan tools for teachers and software to help parents keep track of their children's progress.