How to set up Chromebook parental controls

Kenny Trinh Updated on September 3, 2020
How To Set Up Chromebook Parental Controls

Chromebooks are very useful for virtual classrooms. All that’s left is to create a more suitable environment for your children to learn and this can be done by answering the question, “How to set up Chromebook parental controls?”

How to Setup Parental Controls on Your Child’s Chromebook ( 5 Layers)

Setting up Your Chromebook Correctly

The first thing you have to set up is the Chromebook itself which is comparable to making yours;f as the “admin” in windows. First of all, set yourself as the “owner” of the Chromebook so that you’ll have access to special privileges that allows you to limit the use of the Chromebook to other accounts.

Now if you’re using a hand me down if your kid is set up as the owner, then it’s not a big problem. Simply perform a c factory reset and set yourself as the owner. We advise backing up your child’s data here since doing a factory reset might cause the Chromebook to lose some important files.

Now that you’re the owner of the Chromebook, you can now limit the activity of your child. 

Managing Other Accounts as The Owner

  1. Sign in as the owner of the Chromebook and go to Settings.
  2. The setting is found on the lower right portion of the screen, in the same areas as to where the time and Wifi settings are.
  3. Look for the section called “People” and click on it.
  4. Look for “Enable Guest browsing” and toggle this option off. Then go to “Show usernames” and check if its toggled off. If it is, then turn it on. Do the same as well for “Restrict sign-in to the following users” 
  5. Exit the settings and you’re good to go
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If you’re curious about why we toggled off guest browsing then know that it’s because it will help you in monitoring your child’s activity. Turning this option off will allow everyone who can use the Chromebook to browse the internet.

What’s worse is that your Chromebook won’t be able to record the sites that your child visited. It’s similar to Chrome’s Incognito mode which prevents other users including the admin from looking up your search history.

In short, you won’t be able to monitor your child properly if you don’t set up your Chromebook properly.

As for the  “Show Usernames”  option, it’s pretty self explanatory since it will help you track the accounts of the people who have used your Chromebook. Now the reason why we recommend turning off the “Restrict sign-in to the following users”  is that you’ll be needing to set up your child’s family link which will be explained in the “Family Link” section which is further down below.

Setting up proper parental controls starts with the Chromebook itself. Give yourself special privileges so that you’ll be able to ensure your child’s safety as well as limiting other people from accessing your Chromebook.

What to Do With School Owned Chromebook?

Since Chromebooks are cheap and affordable, your child’s school might lend Chromebooks to their students to help them learn. Now, this might seem like its safe and good for your child but the IT staff off the school might not have the best interest of your child in mine.

Sometimes the IT staff won’t care and set your child as the owner of the account. If this is the case, then simply set yourself as the new owner and manage the settings as we’ve explained above.

Make sure to ask for the school’s permission first before doing this since it is technically their device after all. If you’re received the go signal form the school, then feel free to set yourself as the admin. 

If they refuse, then simply ask to set the settings like the ones discussed above. Most school staff are reasonable and we’re sure that they’ll take the request of a concerned parent and address it properly.

Now if the school is the owner, then simply make a request to toggle guest browsing off. If it’s toggled on, then anyone can use the tablet and it will give your child free rein to browse to their heart’s content without a filter.

We also recommend that you request that they toggle on “Restrict sign-in” as well since it will allow someone to add new Gmail accounts to the device which shouldn’t really be used for a tablet for learning.

Parental controls and programs won’t matter much if the Chromebook that your child has special privileges on is the Chromebook that they are using. These special privileges might give them access to disable parental filters as well as change parental controls which defeats the purpose of setting them up in the first place.

Your Router

One of the most important things that determine the safety of the devices of your household is the router. Its usually ignored by most people which is why a lot of cybercriminals take advantage of its lack of security.

These criminals can gather sensitive information from your devices such as bank accounts and personal information which is why its highly recommended that you set up a clean DNS on your router

DNS stands for Domain Name System and is one of the most important foundations of networking. Your DNS essentially allows your computer and different IP addresses to communicate with one another. 

However, cybercriminals can take advantage of this by accessing unsecure DNS servers allowing them to essentially peek into your home. Asides from this, cybercriminals can hijack unsecured DNS and redirect them to malicious sites (porn sites, malware sites, etc) which could be bad for your child as well. 

A clean and secure DNS will help prevent this from creating a much safer environment not only for your child but to your family as well.  Thankfully, you can use online services to beef up your security as well as enable a more secure DNS server for your child. A good example of this would be Circle with Disney.

Circle with Disney or Circle for short is a control platform that features multiple services and devices such as a third party router. Circle is able to connect to your router and give it more useful features like advanced monitoring on internet activity and parental controls for your child.

Naturally, this helps you set time limits for your children’s internet use as well as manage sites that they can access. 

But if you’re leaning more into security, quality, and features, then the Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Controls is another service to try out.

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Gryphon is a mesh router that’s built for securing your devices as well as for protecting your children as well. It comes with an Ai detection system that allows it to monitor and protect your devices from cybercriminals.

It’s ESET Technology features malware feature technology that prevents malware from affecting your devices and its data. The Ai also uses machine learning technology to be one step ahead of hackers providing a safer environment.

Now when it comes to your child’s safety, Gryphon has one of the best parental controls on the market. First of all, it can view your children’s browsing history so you know what they’re up to. Of course, it features content filtering as well and the ability to manage their screen time, preventing your child to go to suspicious sites as well as preventing access to websites with adult or inappropriate content as well. 

Lastly, Gryphon also allows you to set internet usage schedules for your child as well. So they won’t be able to use the internet when it’s past bedtime or if it’s study or homework time for them. This also means that you’ll be able to manage sites that they have access to as well as set time limits for their internet use.

Overall, your router is very important which is why you need to create a secure DNS server for you and your child’s safety. Fortunately for you, you can rely on services that help you do this like Circle and Gryphon.

The Chromebook’s Location

Another thing to ensure when looking out for your child’s safety is the location of the Chromebook itself. This might seem like very old and antiquated advice but parental guidance and control starts with the home itself.

The location of the Chromebook for one will determine how your child will be using the device in the first place. Allowing your child to use their Chromebook in an isolated area at night might not be a very good idea.

This is because it encourages them to take risks and they are more likely to visit inappropriate sites since no one is looking at them. Even when you’re using Gryphon, your child could still watch videos that could be a bad influence for them.

Allowing them to use Chromebooks at night might also ruin their performance at school as well. Since they’ll be staying up late affecting their sleep, school performance, and even their health.

So keep this in mind when thinking about setting up parental controls for your child. You may have the best service around but a bad location encourages children to do more inappropriate things, so make sure you set up the Chromebook where people can easily see what they’re doing.

It won’t stop them from looking up inappropriate sites but it does discourage them from doing it.

The Chromebook’s DNS

We’ve talked about how you can secure your Router’s DNS by relying on services like Gryphon or Circle but what if you can’t afford those services? What then?

Although we do recommend using Circle and Griffin, if you can’t do it, then you’ll have to set up a clean DNS server on your Chromebook instead. A good DNS server will help protect you from malicious attacks as well as preventing your child from clicking on fake websites that show them inappropriate content.

There are two ways of doing this on a Chromebook, you can do it via the Wifi settings or via Google Chrome.

Setting up a clean DNS using your Chromebook’s Wifi settings:

  1. Login into your child’s account and click on the gear icon on the lower right corner. If you can’t find it, then your child must have changed the UI. Instead, look for the gear icon by searching for where the time and date are, which can usually be found on the sides of your screen.
  2. There you’ll see the WIFI icon. Click on it and you should see a list of all the possible WIFI connections you can connect to. Search for your home’s WIFI connection and click on it.
  3. Click on “Network” and you should see an option called “Name servers”.Click on the button next to “Custom name servers” and a line should appear under the button.
  4. This is where you’ll enter the DNS address for the first and second lines. Enter a secure DNS here and you’ll be good to go.
  5. Click the back arrow and exit out
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Setting up a clean DNS using your Chromebook’s Using Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome and click on the menu button that’s found on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You’ll find many options here.
  2. Go pan to the bottom part of the options and look for “Settings”
  3. Click on Settings and search for the  “Internet connection” option.
  4. A pop up will appear giving you three tabs: Connection, Network, and Proxy
  5. Click on the Network Tab and you’ll be able to see your DNS settings here.
  6. Click on “Custom name servers” and enter a secure DNS address on both the second and first line
  7. Close the popup and you’re good to go.
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Finding a secure and reliable DNS server

Now that you know how to set the DNS server, the only problem left is using a secure and clean DNS server. Thankfully for you, there are tons of secure and safe DNS servers found on the internet.

But if you’re looking for a DNS server that prioritizes your child and your security, then we highly recommend CleanBrowsing.

As the name implies, CleanBrowsing is an organization that focuses on creating a safe and secure service that allows families to browse safely on the internet while also filtering out inappropriate content of your choice.

CleanBrowsing.com offers three types of filters to their customers namely: Adult, Security, and Family. What you’re looking for here is the “Family Filter” setting which safely filters out content not suited for your kids.

The DNS address for CleanBrowsing is 185.228.168.168 and 185.228.169.168. Use this when you’re setting up your DNS address. 

By setting up a clean and secure DNS on the Chromebook itself, you are ensuring that your device is safe from malicious attacks and you’ll know that your child won’t be influenced by watching inappropriate content like pornogra[hy or violent videos on the internet. 

There is tons of graphic and disturbing content out there on the internet that even adults can’t bear to watch. Sparing your children from experiencing this pain is a blessing and you can do it by simply editing some simple settings and inputting a secure DNS server for both you and your child’s benefit. 

Using Family Link on Your Chromebook

The Google Family Link app is one of the most effective ways to set up parental controls on your Chromebook. And since it’s found on Google Play, setting it up is very easy and you can use your Google account or your child’s account on Google to use it.

Requirements Needed to Use Family Link

Before you download and use Family Link, you should know that it has its own set of requirements. A good example of this would be restricting children under 13 years of age from using the service. 

These requirements being:

  • A Google account
  • 18 years of age or older (since the product was made for children under 13 years old)
  • Android 5 and above OS
  • IOS 9 and above OS
  • Chromebook that supports Android apps

How to set up Google Family Link App in Your Chromebook

  1. Create a Gmail account for your child. If your child already has an account, then skip this step. 
  2. Download the Google Family Link app. 
  3. After creating your child’s account, then you should be able to see a little Google Family LInk icon on the lower right corner of the screen. This indicates that you are now able to use Google Family Link to manage your Child’s account.
  4. If you don’t see the family link icon, then check your Child’s age. If you’ve set your child to be 14 years old or older, then Family link won’t take effect.
  5. You can solve this problem by clicking on the gear icon on the lower right side of the screen. Click on  “People”, then go to “Parental control”
  6. Log in to the Google Family Link App and follow the process to give yourself the ability to manage your child’s account.
  7. You’re good to go
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What Can I Do With The Google Family Link App

In the Google Family Link App, you’ll be able to filter on safe search as well as block some inappropriate websites for children. You can also manually pick sites you deem inappropriate for your child keeping their eyes and mind safe from taint.

Your Google Account in Family Link will also have tons of convenient parental controls like being able to manage the screen time of your child. When we mean screen time, we’re talking about limiting the number of hours they can use the Chromebook as well as setting proper schedules for them to use the Chromebook as well. 

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Lastly, being able to set up parental controls will give you the ability to restrict new users from accessing your Chromebook which can come really handy in protecting your data in the case that your child misplaces the Chromebook.

But Why a Chromebook for your Kid?

Well, thanks to recent events, more and more schools are moving towards virtual learning. Sadly virtual learning isn’t cheap and it requires some investment on your part. You’ll have to invest in giving your child their very own gadget or device for learning which might be troublesome especially because of the job recession that’s been going around.

Chromebooks are cheap and affordable allowing you to fulfill your child’s basic need of education without putting much stress on your budget as well. Asides from this Chromebooks can use tons of useful apps that can help supervise your child as well as make things easier for them.

Chromebooks also run on Chrome OS which is lighter compared to windows and is less likely to be affected by malicious attacks protecting your child’s date. It’s also more convenient since you can simply set up your child’s google account and you’re good to go. 

One of these useful features is that your Chromebook can create a Google Classroom School account and have it obey Google Family Link’s settings on your child’s account. For people who don’t know, the Google Family Link is an app that allows parents to set rules and regulations or ground rules that limits your child’s activities.

Because of this, you’ll be assured that your child isn’t doing something inappropriate even while taking online classes. Another good reason is that thanks to recent events, Google Family Link now allows a shortlist of extensions to be used with it like Zoom which makes it really convenient since Zoom is usually unavailable on Chromebooks.

Google Family Link is easily accessible from the Google Play store, you don’t have to search for the correct and safe version online like with other programs. Being in Google Play Store also means better customer support as well since legit and trained customer support staff will be there to answer questions on how to use the family links as well as help you with Chromebook parental controls.

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Conclusion

With the advent of online learning and online interactions. Sadly, one of the biggest problems on the internet today is the lack of censorship which can be a big problem since there are tons of inappropriate and disturbing content out there that can even scare adults.  

it is very important for a parent to set up parental controls in order to monitor their child’s safety as well as protecting their minds from the filth that’s lurking on the corners of the internet.

Kenny Trinh
Article by:
Building his first desktop at the age of 10, start coding at 14 years old, Kenny knows a thing or two when it comes to finding a good laptop and he aims to share everything he knows. Current go-to laptop: Apple Macbook Air 2019.

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