Monitoring your kids’ online habits can be a huge chore, and even more so when they have access to the family Google Home. But then again, why do we invest in smart home technology and digital assistants if not to make our lives easier? Google Home parental controls can do just that!
There are a couple of ways to keep an eye on your kids and control what crosses their path when they’re using your Google Home. Here’s a quick look at your options.
Google Home parental controls across the board
If you want a family-friendly Google Home experience all the time, you can adjust your media settings to filter out explicit music and videos in general.
This process is pretty quick and easy, as it doesn’t require that you go into each of your kids’ individual Google Home accounts. If you’re using a lot of music and radio apps, you may have to go into those individually to find out how to adjust content settings, but with official Google apps, namely YouTube and Google Play Music, you can do it quickly and easily. Here’s a quick breakdown.
YouTube parental controls
- Open your Google Home app.
- Click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) at the top-left of your home screen.
- Make sure you’re signed into the Google Account that’s linked to your Google Home.
- Click on More settings.
- Scroll down and click on Adjust settings for this Google Home device.
- Click YouTube Restricted Mode.
- Slide the “restricted mode” toggle on (right) or off (left).
And now any content you stream on YouTube will be family friendly. It’s not perfect, as you’re stuck relying on YouTube to decide what content is appropriate. The Google-owned streaming site has been criticized in the past for restricting LGBTQ content without any satisfying explanation of its rationale.
But for now, it’s the only option we have and will filter out those red band trailers, graphic violence, and swearing in music videos, among other things.
Google Play Music parental controls
- Open the Google Play Music website (not the app).
- Click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the in the top-left corner of the window.
- Under “General,” click the box labelled “Block explicit songs in radio.”
Google Home parental controls tailored to each of your kids
If you’re less interested in making sure all content streamed through your Google Home is family friendly, and instead just want to make sure your kids aren’t accessing inappropriate content when you’re away, unfortunately you have to change your parental settings every time you use YouTube and other apps.
You can adjust individual accounts for your kids too, though. At least a bit.
With Google Home’s voice recognition feature, you have the option of giving your kids their own distinct accounts (that you manage), which are activated when their voices are recognized by your home assistant. You can set this up using Google Family Link.
Once Family Link is set up and knows your kids’ voices, you’re all set to adjust parental controls:
- Open your Family Link App.
- Select your child’s account.
- Click on Adjust Settings > Google Assistant.
- Toggle whether you want to let your child use third-party apps or not.
There isn’t too much you can do here, as mentioned above, but you do have the option of keeping your kids from using third-party assistant apps, which might be appealing if you want to stick to the tried and true (and officially approved) apps for your Google Home.
That’s it for setting up your Google Home parental controls. It’s not too complicated, but it also doesn’t give you too much wiggle room. Hopefully we’ll see developments in how to set up custom parental controls for your individual kids through Family Link.
Have you had any luck keeping track of what your kids do with the family Google Home? Give us your feedback in the comments!