Google’s Family Link account is a mixed blessing. On one hand having a supervised account system for your children is awesome. I like having that level of control. On the other hand having Google decide what apps and services I will let my daughter use, very very very frustrating.
At the moment the latest app to cause me issues is Duo. Considering the current restriction on movement and health status of some family members the whole family is not gathering for Mother’s Day. That’s ok, it’s a small sacrifice for a larger good.
To combat this I was about to set my daughter up with a Duo account so she could digitally do the rounds tomorrow from her own device. This is something she has started doing, against my wishes, on Facebook messenger for kids, so she’s used to the concept.
I launched Duo on the Web and started to sign in, we got through the whole Family Link authentication process, which again I like, only to find out it’s still not authorised by Google.
So, there are ways around it, I have Duo so she can just use that, but this isn’t the only time I’ve had this issue. There have been multiple occasions where I have not been able to install the software I want on my daughters tablet because Google has decided it’s not allowed.
I am happy with the idea of there being a Google-curated white list of apps, apps that are enabled by default, and if an app is not on that list then a parent has to authorise it for use on the device. I am not happy with the Google determined blacklist. If I want to let my daughter chat with her grandmother via Duo how is that any of Google’s concern?
I know somewhere there are a team of Google PR and legal people just imaging ways that Google could look bad or be held liable for something, but seriously just build a system that makes the parent accountable, and stop being everyone’s nanny.