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How to set up parental controls on a Chromebook

After a short hiatus, parental controls are coming back to Chrome OS through Google's Family Link platform.

Josh Miller/CNET

Chromebooks can be kid-friendly once again. Google is adding Chrome OS support for Family Link, the company's parental control service for Android devices. The move, first reported by Chrome Unboxed, comes months after Google did away with supervised users in January, promising to add improved parental controls in the future.

Now that the company has made good on its promise, let's go over how you can turn them on.

Set up is easy

To get started, you'll need a Chromebook running Chrome OS 65 and up, and a Family Link account for each child under 13 who you would like to use the computer. If your child doesn't already have a Family Link account, download and install the Family Link app on iOS or Android, then follow the prompts to create an account.


You can use Family Link to make your Chromebook a kid-friendly place.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

With your child's account info in hand, add a new user to the Chromebook by selecting Add Person on the Chromebook's lock screen. Use your child's Family Link credentials to sign into the Chromebook. You will be asked to sign in to the parental account linked to Family Link for approval. A prompt similar to what's seen above will explain what your child will have access to, and perhaps more importantly, what will be blocked. 

With the account added, your child can use the Chromebook, with some restrictions. Access to the Chrome Web Store and Play Store is blocked, as well as incognito mode in Chrome. Websites with sexual or violent content are also locked away.

Unfortunately, right now the Family Link integration doesn't support time limits, remote device losing or location support, all features currently available on Android.

Google details exactly what a parent or child can and can't do on a Chromebook with the new Family Link feature on its support page.

Hopefully, more controls aren't too far off, it would be nice to set screen time limits on Chromebooks.

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