Google dropped the Supervised Users program for Chrome with the promise of new Chromebook parental controls incoming. Those controls launched as 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 What to expect from a Chromebook guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, buying options, and setup guides for first-time Chromebook users.
How to set up Chromebook parental controls:
To use Chromebook parental controls with Google Family Link, a parent will need an Android device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or above, or an Apple device running iOS 11 or above. The Chromebook will need to run Chrome OS 71 or above and you can 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
- First, download and use the Google Family Link app on your phone to set up an account for your child.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.