What is “Supervised User?”
I wrote all about your parental control choices for your kids’ Chromebooks a few months ago:
“Supervised User is an account based system that’s built into the Chrome browser. It allows you to set filters, monitor sites visited, prevent installation of apps, turn on safesearch, and change settings. You do have to use blacklists or whitelists to block websites, there is not an automatic filter built in…”
This wasn’t a foolproof solution but it was something that could give parents a head start on protecting their kids while they use the computers their schools have given them. Supervised User, however, has been discontinued so that they can focus their attention on another “parental control option to be released later this year.” Having received several calls from parents and principles this past year asking me to help them teach parents about the controls available, I know the need for Chromebooks to be safe while kids are online. Unfortunately, the simplest, most obvious solution is no longer available. At least for a while.
But There Are Solutions!
For a full-featured filter option, consider Mobicip. One of the only full-service filter and monitoring apps for Chromebook, Mobicip offers a plugin that you can download from the Chrome app store. Mobicip will give you customizable filters, time limit controls, and usage reports and its pretty easy to set up. You just download the extension from the Chrome app store and then log in. It takes you through the setup steps and lets you set your desired filter levels. Once it’s all set up you can make changes from anywhere using their web-based controls dashboard. Their SUPPORT page has good How-To resources to walk you through the process.
If you want more controls than the Supervised User option gives you then Mobicip is a pretty good choice. It’s $39.99 per year for all of the features mentioned above for up to five devices. If you are going to need to protect more than twenty devices (I’ve met families with upwards of 30) then you’ll have to get a quote for their “Enterprise” option. Mobicip is a good option and will give you quite a bit of control.
This accountability software doesn’t block content. This software will keep an eye on what’s being viewed and then red flag and report anything that it deems inappropriate. This allows you to more easily see when something questionable has been viewed. Otherwise, you’ll spend time sifting through link after unrecognizable link to find something that may be naughty. You can even set up Accountable2You to send you a text message when an inappropriate site was accessed. The software works across all of your devices including Chromebook and is $6.99 per month for six devices and $9.99 per month for twenty devices. They have easy setup instructions on their SUPPORT page and have excellent customer service. (NOTE: Accountable2You just released their lates iOS app that will cover every browser used on an iPhone or iPad. One of the first accountability solutions of it’s kind.)
I advise against waiting for Google to release a different option. Please set something up and do it soon. Kids are using their computers for much more than school work and there is more content showing up every day that would prey on your children’s innocence and even their safety. A Chromebook is basically a machine built only to run the internet. It has little to no other use. Pretending that it’s safe just because the school issued it is foolish. Use one of the affiliate links above and set up a solution. I wouldn’t recommend something I don’t or wouldn’t use myself.