How to Set up Chromebook Parental Controls

Family Link lets you set up powerful Chromebook parental controls

A Chromebook is a great device for children to use the internet. This is because there are very effective Chromebook parental controls you can put in place to keep your child safe.

Parental control settings on a Chromebook,
 Pixabay

How to Set up Chromebook Parental Controls

The best way to set up Chromebook parental controls is Google Family Link. Google Family Link is a full featured service that lets you set parental controls for your child's Google account, regardless where they use it.

  1. To set up and monitor Chromebook parental controls, you'll need to install the Google Family Link For Parents app. Open the app and set up your own Google account as the Family Manager.

  2. On the Chromebook, select the time at the lower right corner of the window, then select the Settings icon. Select People > Setup.

    Screenshot of parental controls on Chromebook
  3. Proceed through the wizard, confirming your child's Google account and entering the Google account that you'll use to supervise with. You and your child will both need to enter your passwords.

  4. Once this is done, you'll see a Manage filters & settings window where you can configure the Chromebook parental controls. Select Next when you're done.

    managing filters and settings on Chromebook

    Google automatically sets the default controls to what most parents use for a child the age listed in your child's Google account profile, so make sure the profile is accurate before completing this setup. You'll be able to modify these settings from your Family Link app on your mobile phone.

  5. On the Automatically install Family Link on your devices window, make sure the Chromebook you want to supervise is selected. Select Install to finish.

    install family link on devices using Chromebook
  6. When the setup is finished, you'll be prompted to log out of your child's Google account. The next time your child logs into their Chromebook, all parental controls will be activated.

Using Chromebook Parental Controls

To modify the Chromebook parental controls for your child, open the Family Link for Parents app on your phone. Choose the child you want to monitor, then tap View in the lower right corner. Scroll down to the Settings section and tap Manage Settings.

Google family link parental control settings

In this section, you can configure all of the following parental controls for your child's Chromebook:

  • Google Play: Require approval for purchases and restrict content by rating in the Google Play Store.
  • Google Chrome: Let Google filter inappropriate content in Chrome, or limit your child to websites in your own list.
  • Google Search: Enable SafeSearch so your child can't search Google for inappropriate content.
  • YouTube: Enable Restricted Mode to block mature video content on YouTube.
  • Account Info: Monitor your child's account info so they can't update their Birthday.
  • More | Controls for signing in: Require your approval before your child can log into their Chromebook device.
  • More | Manage Google activity: Enable "Only parents" for managing activity controls.

Set up Chromebook Screen Time Limits

Configuring Chromebook screen time limits is a powerful way to make sure your child isn't getting excessive screen time every day.

  1. On your child's screen in your Family Link app, scroll down to Screen time and tap Set up.

    Screen time set up screen
  2. To set up daily limits, tap Daily Limit, tap the Scheduled toggle to enable it, then choose the days of the week you want to control.

    family link screen time settings
  3. Choose any individual day to add or subtract allowable screen time hours for that day.

    screenshot of family link adjust daily screen time settings
  4. Tap the Bedtime tab, and repeat the same process as above. When you select individual days, you can set up the Chromebook to lock at a specific time at night, and unlock at a set time in the morning.

    screenshot of family link bedtime screen time settings

Chromebook Parental Controls Limitations

Kids are very smart when it comes to finding ways around limits, so make sure to turn off Guest Mode and limit logins to only your account and your child's account.

To find these settings, open Chromebook Settings, then select Manage other people. Select Restrict sign-in to the following users and only include your account and your child's account.

To disable Guest browsing, turn off Enable Guest browsing in the Manage other people window.

Additionally, while Google does its best to keep its blocklist of websites updated, it's still possible some sites aren't on the list, and Family Link won't protect from malware when your child downloads files.

One way to protect your child from this is to use your own website list rather than Google's filter. This is a much more locked-down approach better suited for small children who you only want accessing a very limited selection of websites.