Parental controls in Google Chrome allow parents to restrict and monitor their child's web browsing activity. With features like SafeSearch, site blocking, and time limits, Google makes it easy for parents to protect their kids online. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about setting up parental controls in Google Chrome.
Setting up parental controls in Chrome provides an extra layer of protection beyond your standard internet controls. By customizing Chrome's settings for your child, you can filter out inappropriate content and limit browsing time. Whether your kid uses a shared family computer or their own device, Chrome gives you the ability to supervise their internet access.
By the end of this guide, you'll have a complete understanding of how to configure Chrome's parental controls. Let's get started!
What Parental Control Features Does Google Chrome Offer?
Google Chrome comes equipped with several built-in parental control features:
- SafeSearch – Filters out explicit and inappropriate results in Google Search.
- Site blocking – Prevents access to websites you deem unsuitable.
- Time limits – Sets daily caps on usage and schedules offline times.
- History monitoring – Allows you to view browsing history and activity.
- Google Family Link – Manages Chrome and Google Account on your child's device.
These controls are easy to set up directly within Chrome's settings. They provide a baseline level of protection that covers the basics.
For a more robust set of restrictions, you can utilize third-party parental control apps and extensions. These add advanced functionality like keyword blocking, whitelists, and more nuanced content filtering. We’ll explore some of the best options later in this guide.
Now let’s look at how to configure Chrome's built-in parental controls.
How to Enable SafeSearch and Filter Google Results
One of the first things you should do is turn on SafeSearch filtering for Google. This prevents explicit images and content from appearing in Google Search results.
Here's how to enable SafeSearch in Chrome:
- Click the Customize and control Google Chrome icon (3 dots) in the top right.
- Select Settings.
- Click Privacy and security in the left menu.
- Under the SafeSearch section, toggle SafeSearch filtering to on. This applies moderate filtering.
- For strict filtering, select Use strict settings for SafeSearch. This will block more mature content.
- You can lock these settings with a password to prevent your child from disabling SafeSearch.
With these simple steps, you can filter sexually explicit and inappropriate results out of Google Searches. Your child will have a safer, more family-friendly web browsing experience.
How to Block Websites and Blacklist URLs
Chrome also lets you block access to specific websites right from its settings. This allows you to prevent your child from viewing unsuitable or distracting sites.
To block websites:
- Open Settings and go to Privacy and security.
- Click Site Settings.
- Under Content, select Block sites from showing inappropriate content.
- Enter websites you want to block. You can blacklist individual URLs or entire domains.
- Click Add to save your blocked sites. Chrome will now prevent access when those sites are visited.
The site blocking feature is straightforward to configure. You can easily prohibit access to adult content, gambling sites, social media, or any other inappropriate sites.
To unlock greater flexibility in site blocking, some parental control apps allow you to import and export whitelists/blacklists. This makes it easy to share and backup your approved website lists.
How to Set Time Limits and Schedules
Excessive internet use can distract kids from responsibilities like schoolwork. With Chrome's time limits, you can cap daily browsing time and set offline hours.
Here are the steps to restrict browsing with schedules:
- In Settings, click Privacy and security then Time limits.
- Toggle Use Time limits to on.
- Drag the sliders to set the maximum daily browsing time and a bedtime for Chrome to go offline.
- Choose which days the schedule applies to.
- Click Add time limit to save your settings.
Now Chrome will shut down when it hits the daily limit or scheduled offline time. This prevents late night browsing and keeps internet use reasonable.
For more dynamic scheduling, third-party parental control apps let you customize times on an hourly basis. This allows screen time rules that account for after school free time versus evening homework times.
How to Monitor Browsing History and Internet Usage
Reviewing your child's browsing history helps you understand how they're using the internet. Chrome's parental controls make it easy to check which sites your kids are visiting.
To view browsing history:
- Click the Customize and control Google Chrome icon.
- Select History.
- You'll see a list of recent web visits. Click History to expand the full record.
- Alternatively, open the Settings menu, go to Privacy and security, and select Browsing history.
- Review browser history and internet usage here. You can also clear history or delete specific entries.
Monitoring your child's internet activity gives you insight into their online interests and habits. If you spot suspicious or dangerous web activity, you can take steps to protect them.
While Chrome provides basic history monitoring, third-party parental control software offers more powerful visibility. Features like keyword alerts, location tracking, and remote access provide greater transparency.
Using Google Family Link to Manage Chrome on Your Child's Device
For children with their own smartphone, tablet, or Chromebook, Google Family Link is the best way to supervise Chrome. Family Link establishes parental controls and links your child's Google Account to your own.
Here's an overview of managing Chrome with Family Link:
- Download the Family Link app for parents on your Android or iOS device.
- Create a Google Account for your child and configure it in the Family Link app.
- Add Chrome to Family Link on your child's device to enable parental controls.
- Use the Family Link app on your phone to set time limits, lock devices, approve apps, view activity reports and location, etc.
With Google Family Link, you take charge of your kid's entire device. It's the ideal parental control solution for setting limits on a child's mobile gadget or Chromebook.
How to Set Up Supervised Google Accounts for Your Child
Another way to monitor your kid's Chrome activity is by creating a supervised Google Account. This links their Google identity directly to your own account for parental supervision.
Here are the steps to set up a supervised account:
- Sign in to your Google Account and visit families.google.com.
- Follow the prompts to add your child and create their account.
- Choose the supervision level. Moderate gives fewer restrictions than tight control.
- Use your parent dashboard to manage settings and review activity reports.
Supervised accounts give you oversight of your child's entire Google ecosystem. From Chrome to Search, YouTube, and beyond, you can shape their experience across Google's products.
3rd Party Parental Control Apps and Extensions for Chrome
For additional restrictions like keyword monitoring, whitelists, granular time scheduling, and more – third party parental control apps are worth considering.
Some top-rated options include:
- Qustodio – Robust web filtering, time limits, location tracking, alerts, and activity reports.
- Net Nanny – Customizable web filtering, profanity blocking, social media monitoring, and more.
- McAfee Safe Family – Tracks location, detects cyberbullying, detailed activity reports.
- Norton Family Premier – Video monitoring, driving reports, extensive platform support.
There are also Chrome extensions like Limit Parental Control and Parental Control & Monitor that add functionality directly to your browser.
While Chrome's built-in parental controls provide a basic level of protection, third-party apps take it to the next level. Evaluate your family's needs to determine if the extra features are worth utilizing.
Recap of Chrome's Best Parental Control Features
To recap, here are some key takeaways for setting up parental controls in Google Chrome:
- Enable SafeSearch and turn on strict filtering to block inappropriate Google search results.
- Use site blocking settings to blacklist websites with unsuitable content.
- Limit daily browsing time and schedule offline hours to prevent excessive internet use.
- Monitor browsing history for insight into your child's web activity.
- For parental control of a child's personal device, use Google Family Link.
- Create supervised Google Accounts to link your child's identity and control their Google experience.
- Consider advanced 3rd party parental control apps and extensions for maximum restrictions.
With Chrome's built-in capabilities and Google's family-focused ecosystem, you have flexible options for keeping your kids safe online. Follow the guidelines in this guide to get started with parental controls for your family today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is parental control available on mobile devices?
Yes, Google Family Link provides parental controls for Chrome on Android devices and Chromebooks. The Family Link mobile app lets you manage screen time, app usage, location, and more on your child's smartphone or tablet.
Can I monitor incognito browsing?
No, Chrome's incognito mode does not save browsing history or activity. This cannot be monitored by parental control apps. To discourage secret browsing, be sure to talk with your child about internet safety.
Will parental controls slow down my browser?
Google Chrome is designed to run fast even with multiple extensions and settings enabled. The performance impact of parental controls should be minimal in most cases.
What is the best free parental control software?
Some of the top free options are Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids, and the integrated controls in Windows, Android, and iOS. While free parental control apps provide basic functionality, premium versions offer more advanced features.
Can my child override the parental controls?
Parental controls are designed not to be tampered with. However, kids find creative ways of obtaining banned content. To prevent this, set master passwords only you know and talk with your child about internet responsibility. Monitor their activity to ensure controls are working as intended.
- Parental control on Google Chrome is essential for a safe browsing experience for your child.
- Google Family Link provides comprehensive features to control and monitor your child’s online activities.
- SafeSearch filters explicit and inappropriate content from Google search results.
- You can also enable parental control features on Android and Chromebook devices.
- While effective, these controls aren’t foolproof, so communication with your child is key.
So, don't leave your child’s online safety to chance. Knowing how to set up parental controls on Google Chrome can give you peace of mind and provide a safer online environment for your child.