It is impossible for anybody born in today’s world to be divorced from the internet. From the time that a child becomes sentient, they can acquire access to the internet and can quickly also learn how to use it. However, there are several things on the World Wide Web that you may want your child to be slightly more mature before they have to tackle.
Whether it is pornography or influences of another kind that you want to protect your child from, you cannot stop them from using the internet. What you can do, however, is set Google Chrome Parental Control so that you can manage and monitor what your kids have access to online. The following is a brief primer on how you can do this.
If reading is not for you please watch our How to Setup Set Up Parental Controls on Google Chrome Video:
Or scroll all the way down to watch the official Google Chrome video on setting up parental controls for Google Chrome.
Setting up a New Chrome User
Setting up a new Chrome user is a rather uncomplicated step. If you already have a Google account, you only need to follow a few more steps to set up a new user on Chrome.
- Open the Chrome browser and look for a round icon on the upper right corner where you can select your profile picture.
- When you click on this icon, a dropdown menu will appear. Select ‘Add’.
- Once you click on ‘Add’, a space will appear where you need to add the name of the new user. Once you have done that, select a picture to go with the new user.
- Click on ‘Add Person’ once you have completed the previous step.
- Once these steps have been completed, you will get the option to turn sync on. When you select this option, your passwords, search history and other account settings will automatically sync to your main account. This will allow you to monitor what your child has been browsing through online.
Creating a Supervised Chrome Profile
The next step is to activate ‘Supervised User’ so your child can browse the internet through a different login which you can monitor using your single parent account. If you are using a Chromebook, the following are the steps for creating a Supervised Chrome Profile.
- Sign in to your Chromebook then move the cursor to the bottom right corner and click on your account photo. The pop-up that will appear when you click the photo icon will have the option to go to Settings (the gear-shaped icon).
- Once the Settings page has opened, keep scrolling down until you arrive at a section called ‘People’. On this section, click on ‘Manage Other Users’.
- You will be taken to the ‘Users’ interface now. Look for the box that says ‘Enable Supervised Users’ and check it. Click on ‘Done’ at the bottom of this section and return to the previous screen.
- Click on your account photo so the pop-up appears again. From the pop-up window, select ‘Sign Out’.
- Once you have been logged out of the account, you will be taken to your Chromebook’s login page.
- At the bottom of the screen there will be three vertical dots. Click on that for a pop-up menu to appear. Click on ‘Add Supervised User’. A block of text explaining the terms of a supervised user will appear. Click on ‘Create Supervised User’.
- Once you have created the supervised user, the next step is to manage the account for this new profile.
- Select the account you want to manage from the list and enter the password when you are asked. Click ‘Next’.
- You will be asked to enter a name and password for the supervised user. Once you have done that, choose an image for their profile or upload one from your storage. Click ‘Next’ again.
The supervised user profile will be created in a few minutes. At times, the process takes longer than usual so you may have to wait for a few minutes longer. The process is completed only when the confirmation page appears and you also get a confirmation email in your inbox.
The email will have all the relevant details you require for the new user profile. You can then proceed to click ‘Got it!’ and return to your Chrome login screen.
Configuring the Supervised Account to Block Specific Websites
Creating a supervised chrome account alone is not enough. That only means that you can monitor and track what your child has been browsing on the internet. But if you are looking to take preemptive measures, it may also help a great deal if you could just block certain websites out as a precautionary step.
This saves you the trouble of having to play the role of a helicopter parent at all times and you can also monitor your child’s account less frequently, knowing that some of the more objectionable sites have already been blocked. The following are steps you can take to configure the supervised account based on your preferences.
- The first step is to go to the following URL from your Chrome browser: www.chrome.com/manage.
- Once you are on the landing page, the ‘Supervised Users’ interface should appear for you to work with. This page will have a list of all the supervised users that are associated with the account.
- From that list, select the profile that you want to manage and configure. Once you have selected the profile, a dashboard will appear with various options for that profile.
- In that dashboard, click on ‘Manage User’. There will be a list of permissions that can be modified which will appear before you. At this stage, no website is likely to be blocked for this profile.
- On the extreme right side of the ‘Manage Users’ heading, there will be a small pencil icon. Click on this icon to add websites that you want to block for this supervised user.
- There are two ways of doing this. You can allow all websites to be accessed barring the ones you have explicitly blocked. The other way is to block all the websites and only allow access to the ones that you have chosen.
- For the former, choose ‘All of the Web’ from the dropdown menu. If it is the latter setting you are inclined towards, select ‘Only Approved Sites’.
- To add sites that you approve in this, select ‘Add a Site’. You can then add the name of the website in the ‘Approved Sites’ or ‘Blocked Sites’ list, depending on however you want to sort the sites out. (Note: you can also allow access to or block access to individual web pages, full domains or subdomains by using the ‘Behavior’ menu which appears as a dropdown).
- Once you have made changes to the setting to your satisfaction, click on ‘OK’ and come back to the earlier screen. You can add all the desired sites at once or you can come back and do it as and when you can recall.
The next step is to manage the SafeSearch feature. This is an important feature and is the best friend for parents to teenagers who are curious about what the internet holds. The SafeSearch feature is intuitive and will block inappropriate content when your child is carrying out a Google search.
As a default setting, SafeSearch will be locked so it is already activated when you are searching for content online. If you need to disable the setting for some reason, you can click on the ‘Unlock SafeSearch’ link. It is, however, advisable that you leave the feature on for your children.
Every time your supervised user asks for access to a restricted website, you ideally want to be notified. The settings for the notifications window are turned off by default so you will need to turn it on separately.
To turn the notifications on, you will need to find the label that says ‘Notifications are off’. You will find this label right below the ‘Manage User’ header. Simply click on the link that says ‘Turn on’, and the notifications will be enabled.
This allows you to have a more trusting equation with your child where they can be straightforward and ask you access for a certain website. If you still think the website should remain restricted, you can have a reasonable conversation with them explaining why.
Monitoring the Profile
Once you have put all these settings in place, you can feel slightly more relaxed about where your child is spending time on the internet. You do not need to constantly keep tabs on what they are doing online. However, every now and then you may want to check in and see if everything is on track. To do that, you can return to the following URL: www.chrome.com/manage.
Once you are on the landing page, select the profile you want to manage. Once you are on their page, you will be taken to a dashboard. In the middle of the dashboard is the ‘Requests’ section where you can see if the supervised user has requested access to any blocked website.
The notifications that you enabled in the previous section should let you know if they do anyway. But in case the notifications are turned off, you can always come to the requests page to see if there are any pending requests. You can approve or deny the requests based on your discretion.
The more important feature, and likely the one that you will be more interested in, is the ‘Activity’ section. You can find this section right below the list of requests. This section will provide you with a detailed log of where your child has been on the internet and what they have attempted to browse through.
You will be able to get notes on what web pages your child has visited and even the date of the visit. This is especially helpful if you have selected the ‘All of the Web’ option where you restrict only a few sites. Of course, it is difficult to know all the sites on the internet so you are likely to miss out on a few when you are adding them to your restricted list. This activity area will let you know if you need to add any more sites to the restricted list.
Enabling the Child Lock Feature
With having a presence online, there is always a chance for certain vulnerabilities. Sometimes, depending on a variety of factors, it is possible for an unsupervised user to get to your main account from a supervised account. This is not a very frequent occurrence, but it is best to be safe than sorry. It is recommended that you enable the child lock feature on the supervised user profile and avoid anyone snooping in.
To enable the child lock feature, you need to be logged in on Google Chrome. Once you are on your Chrome page, click on your profile photo for the dropdown to appear. From the menu, select the ‘Exit and Childlock’ link. What this does is ask for a password if an unsupervised user tries to switch to your account. The method indicated above is not for Chromebook users but is only for Chrome users.
The methods that have been described are best used in Chromebook, though there are ways to do this in all other devices. The only worry of setting parental restrictions in Windows, Mac or Linux is that the supervised user still has the option of using another web browser.
They may stop using Chrome, but they will still have access to Safari or Internet Explorer and there is technically no way to stop them from doing that. With a Chromebook, you can restrict a supervised user only to their profile when they are browsing the internet.
Nevertheless, while parental controls are not watertight, something is certainly better than nothing. Even the minimal monitoring you can do and the control you can exert can help protect your child from obscene influences at an impressionable age.
No parent likes to snoop in on their child’s computer and spy on what they are doing, but at times this is a necessary evil. With these controls, however, you can be open about the restrictions you are setting and your child will be made aware of the boundaries that have been set for them.
Watch the Official Google Chrome Video
Lorenzo has been using the internet for as long as he can remember. He was there for the early days of message boards, he watched social media take over, and he’s excited to see what comes next.