With Back to School 2023 fast approaching, parents worldwide are starting the yearly routine of stocking their children’s backpacks with all of the new things they’ll need to succeed, and a new Chromebook is becoming more important than ever. When parents simply had to worry about clothes, notebooks, pencils, and the best backpack they could afford, technology has become an essential element of every child’s education – and parents want only the best student Chromebooks for their children.
However, parents understand better than anyone what the internet can be like nowadays, so it’s fair that they want to ensure that their children are as safe as possible while online. Fortunately, Google Chrome offers built-in security options called Family Link that allow parents to limit what their children can do online and block any apps or sites that they find improper or dangerous for their children.
With so many first-time Chromebook purchasers picking up a new laptop for their children during any number of back-to-school sales, many will be just beginning to figure out all of the device’s critical safety features, one of the most crucial of which is the device’s battery life.
Fortunately, we are here to help.
1. Check and update Chrome OS
The Google Family Link parental controls were only included at the end of 2018 with the introduction of Chrome OS version 71.You should first ensure that you are up to date and, if necessary, upgrade your Chromebook.The quickest way to do this is to type chrome://version into the address bar and read off the release number at the very top.
Alternatively, go to Notifications (bottom right corner) > Settings (cog) > About Chrome OS and read the version number.If your device is not a newer version, check the Additional Details for planned update details and determine if a restart is required to activate a more current update.
2. Add your child
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to add your child’s account to the Chromebook in order to administer it. There is usually a ‘Add person’ button on the log-in screen that allows you to quickly add them there, but if this has been removed, pick Notification area > Settings > People > click your account > + Add account from within your account. You’ll need their Google email address and password. Follow the steps and you’ll be prompted to check in and allow the account to be created.
3. Tighten up access
Google advises that if you are the principal “owner” account, you should disable Guest Mode and the ability to create new users from the login screen; otherwise, a child might simply evade any Family Link settings and parental controls by utilizing one of these alternative choices.
To disable these in your account, go to Notifications > Settings (cog) > People > Manage other people. Disable the Guest option and select ‘Restrict sign-in to the following users’. If they don’t already have an account on that Chromebook, you can add their email address.
4. Enable Parental Controls
Select Notifications > Settings (cog) > People > Parental Controls from your child’s account.
Prepare to begin the process. It will confirm the child’s account for which you wish to enable Family Link Parental Controls, Speaker devices with their account on as well), and then confirm the parent account to supervise. You must provide your email address and password, as well as any supplementary authentication. You will then be guided through what the system can and cannot do, and your child will be asked to confirm the supervision using their password.
5. Set browsing restrictions
Family Link isn’t quite finished yet; you’ll be led through the basic options; don’t worry, these can all be changed later, but these are here to build the fundamental settings.The first are safety limits on Chrome browsing, Google Search, and in-app purchases .It offers reasonable defaults, but you should examine each one. For example, we want to limit all purchases.
Next, it will ask which devices Family Link should be installed on in order to have managed access; choose all appropriate ones.When you’re finished, log out of the account and have the youngster log back in. At this early stage, the parent must confirm this initial access.
6. Family Link for Parents
If you have an Android device, go to Google Play and download the Family Link for Parents app if it isn’t already loaded. If you don’t have an Android device. The app’s top screen displays a clear list of the children in your family group; to control and monitor activity, simply tap the child’s profile image.
Manage Settings provides general access control to Google services that were indicated during setup, but they may all be altered here. There’s also a rudimentary YouTube filter, location permissions, and the ability to unlink the Family Link system in the ‘…more’ area.
7. Setting time limits
Limiting screen time is an important problem, and Google Family Link provides effective limitations in three areas: overall device time, a fixed bedtime when the device is secured, and individual app limits.Device and Bedtime are both managed from the same page, and you can set different times on a daily basis, allowing you to give later nights and longer use on weekends.
You may also set a time limit for each program – example for games – but the overall list of apps on a device is not exhaustive.Finally, there is a quick “Lock Device” button, however we are not liable for the repercussions of utilizing it.
8. Control cameras and sensors
Towards the bottom of the Family Link controls is a list of devices, which includes any linked Google smart speakers, Android devices, and Chromebooks, and allows you granular control over the devices’ individual sensors, cameras, microphones, and other essential App permissions.
This could prevent your child from installing a messaging app that requests access to a gadget’s camera and microphone, but it would also eliminate a lot of fun they could have with the device using the create app.As a result, it’s generally preferable to have a discussion about potential concerns with specific sorts of apps rather than imposing a blanket ban.
9. Using Family Link notifications
Your child’s Chromebook is already ready to go, so if you put this up in the evening and have a bedtime set, you’ll be locked out. To see if everything works as planned, try browsing the web, installing an app, and other restricted actions. Any of these actions will result in an email and an Android notification being sent to your parental Google account.
Android notifications make it extremely simple to accept website access with a single press, and if you see that email messages are stacking up, they include a link where you can disable these. Limit adjustments will appear as notifications on the child’s device and can also be looked up on it. So they’re aware of your activities!
10. Family Link web controls
This has a variety of features. Although not everything from the app is present, the web version
incorporates control of the Google Family Group system.
If you’re creating a strict set of web sets, you’ll probably find it easier to enter them through
Chrome’s Child > Websites > Manage sites option.