We all know that the Internet isn’t always a safe place for children. However, the modern world requires that our kids use the Internet occasionally, whether it’s for virtual learning, a research project for school, or another circumstance. Regardless of the reason, you can easily keep them safe by setting up parental controls in Google Chrome.
How to Set Up Parental Controls in Google Chrome
There are actually several ways to establish some form of parental controls within Google Chrome. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you can create a custom profile for your child, enable Google Family Link, turn on SafeSearch, or enable safe browsing.
1. Create a Profile for Your Child in Chrome
If your child will simply be using your laptop or desktop to access the Internet, you can create a custom profile for them so to check on their browsing history from time to time and make sure they aren’t accessing inappropriate content.
To create a profile for your child within Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- Open your Chrome browser.
- Go to the top-right corner and click on the Profile icon.
- Scroll down to the section titled “Other Profiles” and click “Add.”
- You will have the option to sign in to your Google account or create a profile without an account. If your child has their own Google account, you can sign in for them. Otherwise, choose “Continue without an account.”
- If you chose to create a new profile without a Google account, you will need to set a name for the profile, choose a color theme, and select a profile photo (if desired).
- Once you enter this information, click “Done.”
The new profile will now be an option in the top-right corner of your browser.
If you’d like Chrome to sync data across multiple devices, though, you will need to either log in to a Google account or create a new Google account for your child.
2. Turn on Chrome Parental Controls with Family Link
If your child will be using his or her own device to access the Internet or logging in on multiple devices, then you may just want to set up Google Family Link so that you can monitor their activity and keep them safe. This is especially beneficial if your child will be using a handheld device, like a tablet or smartphone.
To set up Google Family Link, follow these steps:
- Download the Google Family Link app on your device. Follow the steps to establish the device as the parent account.
- Download the Google Family Link app to your child’s device.
- The app will ask you to choose whether this is the device you want to supervise. Select “This device.”
- Select your child’s Google Account to supervise or set up a Google account for them.
- Enter the code from your device when prompted. This will link your child’s account to yours.
From here, just follow a few more prompts to agree to the supervision and have your child’s Google account “Join” the Family Link profile. Once your child’s Google account is linked, you will be able to see their activity both on their mobile device and on any computers where your child logs in with their Google account.
3. Enable SafeSearch
Although setting up a profile or Google account for your child will let you monitor their online activity, enabling SafeSearch is actually the easiest way to make your child’s browsing experience safe. If you aren’t familiar with SafeSearch, it’s a baked in feature that essentially blocks inappropriate or explicit results from Google searches. While this obviously won’t disable everything your child may get into, it can go a long way toward preventing them from clicking on something they shouldn’t.
To enable SafeSearch on Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- Open Chrome and go to Preferences.
- The first item on the list will be “SafeSearch Filters.” Enable SafeSearch by simply clicking the checkbox next to “Turn on SafeSearch.”
4. Enable Safe Browsing in Chrome
While SafeSearch helps disable inappropriate content from appearing in your child’s Google searches, it doesn’t protect against hacking or malicious sites. Luckily, you can also enable “Safe Browsing” to help with these issues.
To enable “Safe Browsing.”
- Open Chrome and click the three dots in the top-right corner.
- When the menu opens, click “Settings.”
- From the settings screen, click on “Security and Privacy” on the left side of the screen.
- From the list in the center of the screen, click “Security.”
- You have the option to select “Standard protection” (the default setting) or “Enhanced protection.” You’ll want to change this to “Enhanced protection.”
Monitoring Your Child’s Online Activity
Obviously, the biggest reason to set up any of these parental controls or enhanced security settings is to keep an eye on your child’s online activity and keep them safe. Therefore, it’s important to know how to check your child’s browsing history and block potentially dangerous websites.
Checking Your Child’s Browsing History
If you’ve set up a profile for your child in Chrome, you can easily check their browsing history by following these steps:
- Open Chrome and click on the profile in the top-right corner.
- Scroll down and click on your child’s profile.
- When the window opens, click the three dots in the top right.
- Scroll down to “History.” From here, you can easily view the most recent tabs opened or click “History” again.
- If you’ve enabled “Sync,” this menu will let you see your child’s browsing history on the device you’re on, plus any other devices where their Google account is logged in.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I block websites in Chrome?
While there aren’t any settings within Chrome that easily allow parents to block websites, you can download extensions to Chrome (like BlockSite and Simple Blocker) that allow you to block websites. You can also block websites by using Google Family Link (if enabled).
2. Can I prevent my child from deleting their browser history in Chrome?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to disable a user from deleting their browser history directly from Chrome. If you’re using a third party parental control app or Google Family Link, though, you can create settings to prevent browser history deletion.
3. Can I see what my child does in incognito mode?
Unless you install software that records keystrokes or screen activity, you cannot monitor anything in incognito mode.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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