As a parent, you know that it is difficult to keep track of your child’s web activity. And with the rise in cyberbullying, online predators, and other dangers on the internet, it is more important than ever for parents to monitor their children’s digital footprints. One way that can be done is by using parental controls for Chromebooks.
- Here Are Some Of The Risks That Chromebooks Pose For Your Kids
- Google Family Link Provides Basic Parental Controls
- Third-party Chromebook Parental Control Apps Add An Additional Layer Of Security
- So, What Is The Best Chromebook Parental Control App?
- What If Your Child Has A School-owned Chromebook?
- How To Limit Youtube Time On A Chromebook
- Frequently Asked Questions About Parental Controls For Chromebook
Chromebooks offer a lot of benefits for everyone. They are lightweight, affordable laptops that run Chrome OS and operate on the Chrome browser. So, users are able to quickly connect and work online. This makes it ideal for doing school work for kids, for instance.
Chromebooks are great for kids, but they have risks too!
Here Are Some Of The Risks That Chromebooks Pose For Your Kids
- kids could access websites that you would not approve of
- they could spend more time on the screen than you would like
- they may be approached by an internet predator while on social media
- your child could encounter cyberbullying
- they take a security chance every time they use public WiFi
- your child may post private information online
- they are at risk for receiving and falling for phishing emails or other online scams
- they may download malware
Google Family Link Provides Basic Parental Controls
Chromebooks do not come with parental controls built-in as the default. However, starting with Chrome OS Version 71 that was released in 2018, Chromebook began implementing parental controls as part of the Google Family Link system.
Family Link is a parental control service provided by Google. It will need to be on both the Chromebook and downloaded to the parent’s device. But, it’s very easy to set up on the Chromebook.
To set up Google Family Link you will need your child’s Google account email and password. You will then need to add your child to the Chromebook by clicking on the “Add Person” button on the log-in screen. If this button has been disabled, go to the Notification area, and select Settings to add the account. Then, disable the Guest Mode before adding the desired parental controls.
Of course, Google Family Link can’t control everything. Here is a list of things the basic Family Link parental controls can and cannot do.
Chromebook’s recommended Family Link System allows parents to control the following:
- set browsing restrictions and limit permissions to websites
- set Play Store app limits and don’t allow app purchase
- set screen time limits
- prevents the use of incognito mode
- prevents using child’s info to personalize ads
- block most sexually explicit and violent sites
- view their activity
- lock the screen on their device
- find their location provided they have the Chromebook with them, it has access to the internet and is powered on
Here are the things that Family Link cannot control:
- Family Link only works with email accounts for children under age 13
- Family Link does not block all inappropriate content
- The filters that Family Link uses may not block all inappropriate content
- The app is easy for the child to uninstall
- Does not prevent a child from updating apps
- Some features are only available on Android and not on Chromebook
Third-party Chromebook Parental Control Apps Add An Additional Layer Of Security
The basic parental control app that comes ready to use on Chromebook is a good start. But, it is limited in blocking all of the inappropriate content. Here are a few ways how third-party apps can help.
Using Bark as a Chromebook Parental Control App
Many parents choose to go with a third-party app or parental control software to gain more control over their child’s online activity and screen time. One of the best overall third-party apps is Bark. Here are a few ways Bark helps monitor to protect your kids:
- Adds an extra layer of safety for kids online
- Monitor text messages
- Monitor more than 30 popular apps and social media sites
- Monitor email
- Get alerted of content like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, threats of violence, or online predators
- Set screen time limits
Using Qustodio as a Chromebook Parental Control App
Another third-party parental control solution is an app called Qustodio. Qustodio helps monitor your child’s online habits on Chromebooks. Protect your child’s online browsing, and set limits on screen time.
Qustodio offers the following:
- protection from online predators
- helps children with sleep problems by providing bedtime downtimes
- set consistent time limits to curb online addiction
- help ensure online privacy
- lay the groundwork for better mental health by limiting the amount of time your child spends in front of the screen
- monitor inappropriate content on sites like YouTube
- filter browser results
- block adult sites
- monitor texts and Facebook posts to catch and block online bullies
- encourage visits to educational sites
- locate family
- track calls and SMS
Help your child develop healthy digital habits by using a third-party app that works with Chromebooks. Qustodio helps you schedule your child’s day with an easy two-step installation setup process as a Chrome extension.
Using Mobicip as a Chromebook Parental Control App
Another parental control app that works great on Chromebook is Mobicip. Mobicip helps monitor your child’s screen time and online activity to ensure they have the most child-safe experience.
It may have a long official name, but parents love how it works. Mobicip Parental Control with Screen Time is one of the most comprehensive parental control apps.
What makes Mobicip unique is that it goes beyond filtering by URL or keyword. Instead, it scans on-page content in real-time to flag content not meant for children.
Features of Mobicip include:
- Advanced internet filtering
- Supervise video content on popular sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or HBO
- Location tracker to find your child or lost device that gets misplaced somewhere
- Limit screen time by setting daily limits
- Instantly lock or unlock the device
- Manage apps and games
- Block websites by only allowing age-appropriate sites
- Stay on top of browsing history and usage
- View and manage your entire family
- Review access requests to blocked apps or sites to quickly reject, approve or override
Set up Mobicip easily on Chromebook as an extension on the Chrome browser. Set up on Chromebook manually in the Chrome browser.
Try it out for free for a week. After that, you will pay a monthly rate that is billed annually.
So, What Is The Best Chromebook Parental Control App?
In summary, a few of the best parental control apps are summed up as follows:
Google Family Time
Google Family Time is free and works right out of the box. Set it up on any compatible Chromebook. Monitor your child’s Chromebook usage using a Gmail account. This is a good basic parental control option with limitations.
Bark lets you proactively monitor your child's text messages, emails, and social media accounts for potential safety concerns or privacy threats, so you can save time and gain peace of mind.
Bark goes beyond the basics in monitoring your child’s online life. Stay informed about threats, cyberbullying, or suicidal ideations across more than 30 popular apps and social media sites. Bark is best for parents who want a more comprehensive monitoring option especially great for young teens.
Qustodio provides powerful monitoring tools and parental controls for things like screen time, adult content, and games. It gives parents visibility and creates daily opportunities to talk with kids about their online experiences.
Qustodio is a parental control app that supports Chrome OS on Chromebooks with an easy access web interface. Qustodio can be used with Google Family Link without needing to disable the integrated option. This parental control is a great option for blocking adult website content and monitoring YouTube or social media to pay attention to signs of depression or low self-esteem in your child.
Mobicip helps protect your family on the Internet, limit screen time, manage apps, and track your kids' location/s. You can manage and monitor all family devices from one parent app or dashboard.
Mobicip is a Chrome extension that provides a comprehensive parental control app that scans pages in real-time to monitor what your child is viewing. Mobicip is great for those who want a good range of parental control features with an easy-to-use app at a premium price. It’s perfect for parents who want real-time monitoring.
What If Your Child Has A School-owned Chromebook?
If your child’s Chromebook is owned by the school, they probably cannot add some apps. Of course, there is a way to reset a Chromebook that has been registered to a school. But, you won’t want to do anything that goes against the school’s rules if the Chromebook is currently the property of your child’s school with restricted rules for use.
There are some legitimate ways to monitor your child’s student-owned Chromebook use without overriding the school’s settings.
Add student account
If you use Family Link and your child has a Google School Account, you can add your child’s school account to it. Once it’s added, the same digital ground rules that you already set will apply while your student is using the Chromebook for schoolwork at home.
To add your student’s account to Family Link follow these steps:
- Sign into your child’s Google account
- Click on the time at the bottom right of the screen
- Click on settings
- On the left-hand part of the screen, click on People
- Select your child’s personal Google account
- Click Add School Account
- Follow on-screen prompts to approve the school account
If you are using another parental control app, follow their specific instructions.
Turn on Safe Search
You might also want to turn on Safe Search to make sure the web searches filter out inappropriate content or images. Do this by opening Chrome. Go to Google.com and select settings. Check the box next to Turn on Safe Search and select Lock Safe Search.
Turn off Guest Mode
Also, make sure Guest Mode is turned off so the child cannot go around your parental control settings. To turn off Guest Mode follow these steps:
- Use the owner account to sign in to your Chromebook
- Click on the time at the bottom right of the screen
- Select Settings
- Click on Security and Privacy
- Select Manage Other People
- Turn off Enable Guest Browsing
How To Limit Youtube Time On A Chromebook
As parents, we want to do all that we can to make sure our child’s online and screen time is as safe as possible. But, one of the biggest problems is YouTube and how the site is set up. Obviously, even the most attentive parents don’t have the time to sit next to their child and watch every single video their child is watching on YouTube.
Many children have seen inappropriate content innocently. The main problem is because of the way YouTube functions. After you watch one carefully monitored and approved video, another video pops up to watch next. There are also video recommendations, not to mention the list of video thumbnails that pop up.
Chrome extensions or plugins
Some parents are just frustrated at the amount of time their kids spend on Youtube. There are a few chrome extensions for plugins that can help with this. One is called Safer YouTube UI For Kids.
YouTube Restricted Mode or timer
Enable YouTube Restricted Mode for Chromebooks to allow specific videos. Or, use YouTube’s built-in timer. Your child will receive a “Times Up” notification when their viewing time is about to end.
Beyond parental controls and oversight, one of the best sure-fire protection is going to be keeping the lines of verbal communication open between you and your child. Make sure they know the rules of your family in regard to online use. Also, require that you have passwords to all of their online accounts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parental Controls For Chromebook
Let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about parental controls on Chromebooks.
What is Chromebook Parental Controls?
Chromebook Parental controls help parents monitor their child’s online activity and screen time. Out of the box, Chromebook offers some parental controls that are easily set up using Google Family Link. it is ready to install and set up on any Chromebook that runs Chrome OS v. 71 or newer.
How do I block inappropriate content on Chromebook?
Open the Familly Link app, and select your child. Click on Manage Settings and then Filters on Google Chrome. Block mature sites in your child’s user profile. Choose settings that are appropriate for your child. There are also a couple of other ways to block a website. You can use Safe Search, or block using a Chrome extension or add-on.
How does Google Family Link work?
Google Family Link is a Google service that runs on Chromebook to allow parents to view their child’s online activity, manage what apps they are allowed to use or download, set screen time limits, and lock their device. It even allows you to track their location. As the parent, you choose what websites your child is allowed to access using Chrome. You also set parameters to supervise their app use and set up notifications so you can monitor everything on the Family Link app that is downloaded on your separate device.