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How to set up Chromebook parental controls

Google re-introduced Chromebook parental controls with the use of Google Family Link. Here's everything you need to know.
September 10, 2021
Lenovo Chromebook Duet with accessories
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Google ended the Supervised Users program for Chrome but promised a set of new Chromebook parental controls. Those controls turned out to be Google Family Link. Today, we’ll show you how to use Google Family Link to set up parental controls for your children’s Chromebooks.

New to the world of Chromebooks? Our guide on what to expect from a Chromebook helps explain what they can and can’t do, buying options, and setup guides for first-time Chromebook users.

Device requirements

Google Pixelbook Go Review open with pixel 4
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Parents will need Android devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or above, or an Apple device running iOS 11 or above to use Chromebook parental controls with Google Family Link. The Chromebook in question will need to run Chrome OS 71 or above and you can also install Google Family Link on Android devices running Android 7.0 Nougat or newer. If your Chromebook isn’t updated, don’t forget to check out our step-by-step guide on how to do so below.

Read also: How to update your Chromebook

Setting up Chromebook parental controls

Google Family Link notification - Parental Controls
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  1. First, download and use the Google Family Link app on your phone to set up an account for your child.
  2. 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 is already active.
  3. Now, 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 Chromebook parental controls.

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 to add and remove them accordingly. Next, turn off Enable Guest Browsing.

See also: Google Family Link review

Chromebook parental control features in Google Family Link

Google Family Link Home Page - Chromebook parental controls

We’ve talked plenty about how to set your Google Family Link restrictions, but what can you actually do? After all, it’s not helpful to run into Family Link mostly blind. Here are a few of the most important features you can manage:

  • Restrict or block access to apps from the Chrome Web Store and the Google Play Store.
  • Disable Incognito Mode.
  • Manage the websites their children can visit on Chrome.
  • Limit a child’s ability to grant permissions to websites.
  • By default with Family Link, the Chrome browser tries to block sexually explicit and violent sites from being shown to children.
  • Set bedtimes, time limits, and lock devices.

Current limitations

Google Pixelbook Go Review artistic pixel 4 - Chromebook parental controls

There are still a few features missing from Chromebook parental controls via Google Family Link. One limitation of Google Family Link 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.

Many consider it a big limitation that Google Family Link cannot be used with Google accounts set up with G Suite. 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.

Also: Chromebooks vs traditional laptops

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 Google offers.