Google stopped the Supervised Users program for Chrome back in January with the promise of a new method of parental control on Chromebooks incoming. That method quietly launched back in April and utilizes Google Family Link. Here’s the new way to set up parental controls for your children’s Chromebooks.
Read Next: Protect your kids with Google Family Link
Editor’s tip: New to the world of Chromebooks? Our What to expect from Chromebook Buyer’s guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, buying options, and setup guides for first time Chromebook users.
To use Google Family Link, a parent will need an Android device running Android 4.4 KitKat or above, or an Apple device running iOS 9 or above. The Chromebook will need to run Chrome OS 65 or above. If your Chromebook isn’t updated, don’t forget to check out our step-by-step guide on how to do so.
Setting up Chromebook parental controls
- First, download and use the Google Family Link app on your phone to set up an account for your child. To find out how to do so, and set parental controls for your child’s Android smartphone or tablet, you can find our detailed guide about Google Family Link here.
- If it is a new Chromebook, go through the setup process and sign in with your (parent) account. This is vital, as the first account used to sign in becomes the Owner account and has access to special privileges. Skip to the next step if the Chromebook has already been set up.
- Finally, add your child’s account to the Chromebook.
It is recommended that you disable guest mode and control who can sign in to your child’s Chromebook. If the guest mode or the ability to add new users is available, your child may be able to bypass the Family Link restrictions.
To do so, sign in to the Chromebook with the Owner (parent) account. Click on the account photo and go to Settings. In the People section, go to Manage Other People. Turn on “Restrict sign-in to the following users.” You will see a list of accounts added to the Chromebook and be able add and remove them accordingly. Next, turn off Enable Guest Browsing.
Features of Google Family Link available with Chromebooks
- Restrict or block access to apps from the Chrome Web Store and the Google Play Store.
- The ability to disable Incognito Mode.
- Parents can manage the websites their children can visit on Chrome.
- Parents can limit a child’s ability to grant permissions to websites.
- Be default with Family Link, Chrome browsing tries to block sexually explicit and violent sites from being shown to children.
- You can find a useful guide on how to set these features up for your child here.
There are still a few features missing from Chromebook parental controls via Google Family Link, compared to what is available with a child’s Android smartphone or tablet. You can’t set up usage limits and bedtimes on a Chromebook. You also can’t remotely lock the device. These features are available on Android devices and will hopefully be a part of Chromebook parental controls soon.
Another limitation of Google Family Link, not specific to Chromebook parental controls, is that it can only be used to set up accounts for children under 13. After that, children can create and set up regular Google Accounts.
What many consider a big limitation is that Google Family Link cannot be used with Google accounts set up with G Suites. Users (parents) will need a Gmail account to log in and use Family Link to set up parental controls on any of their children’s devices.
That’s all there is to setting up Chromebook parental controls! There are some impressive premium, third-party services like Mobicip as well come highly recommended if you aren’t entirely happy with the solutions Gooogle offers.
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