📚🖥️ Setting Up Your Chromebook for Learning at Home - A Comprehensive Guide! + Bonus Tips for Enhanced Safety! 🎒💡
Are you a parent ready to create a seamless and secure learning environment for your child? 🏠👨👩👧👦💻 Look no further! Today, I'll guide you through setting up a Chromebook for your young learner's educational journey while also sharing bonus tips to ensure they stay safe and focused online (these instructions assume that this is a parent-owned Chromebook, where you have the ability to turn off guest browsing and add restricted sign-in. If not, then you will need to contact the owner/school IT administrator to make these changes)
Let's dive in! 🌊
Step 1: Initial Setup 📦
Parents, with your Google account, sign in as the “owner” of the Chromebook. If your child has already created an account on their Chromebook, perform a factory reset (How to Factory Reset a Chromebook). Don’t worry about doing this…all of their files are saved in the cloud. This reset is just a good “tech-hygiene” practice that will make it possible for the parent to become the device owner.
Once signed in as the owner, tap the clock area and then the gear icon…the universal symbol for “settings.” Tap on “People” and then “Manage Other People.” This will bring up a menu where you can:
Toggle off (white) Enable Guest Mode
Toggle on (blue) Show usernames…on the sign-in screen
…and finally, toggle off (white) Restrict Sign-in… temporarily. This needs to be off so you can add your student(s), and then we’ll return to this step and toggle it on.
Step 2: Add Child/Children 🛡️
Sign out of your account.
Tap on the bottom where it says Add Person.
Enter your child’s Google account information and follow the steps that appear. If they don’t have one yet, follow these instructions. Note: DO NOT attempt to create the Family Link Gmail account using the iPhone iOS app…there are several support threads published that have no solutions…it doesn’t work. Stay away from iOS…at least during the setup process (thank you to ProtectYoungEyes for finding this flaw).
Repeat the process for each child.
Step 3: Restrict Sign-in 🚫
Log back into your account and follow the steps listed in Step 1 above, but this time, make sure that you toggle on (blue) Restrict sign-in to the following users.
Step 4: Security and Privacy - Added Layer of Protection 🔐
Internet safety plans work best when you use several layers of protection…and setting up a Chromebook is no different. Google has allowed users to add 3rd-party DNS filtering services…but you have to know where to look to activate this effective layer of content filtering.
Go to Settings (Gear Icon) >Security and Privacy
Make sure that Use Secure DNS is toggled on.
Right below that, you have two DNS options: With Your Current Service Provider or With (custom) Choose the custom option.
In the custom drop-down menu, you are given several different DNS providers. For families with children, we recommend CleanBrowsing (FamilyFilter).
Step 5: Activate Family Link for Parental Controls 🛡️
Visit the Family Link website and set up your child's Google Account if you haven't already.
Install the Family Link app on your smartphone to manage your child's settings remotely.
With Family Link, you can set screen time limits, approve app installations, and receive activity reports - ensuring a safe and balanced online experience for your child.
Step 4: Suggestions on “What to Restrict” in Family Link
On the parent's device, select Customize Parental Controls>Next>Continue>Manage.
Select Controls on Google Play>Require Approval For>All Content
Go through all of the content restrictions for Apps, movies, TV, Book and set them at the appropriate levels for your child
Select Filters on Google Chrome and make sure that users can’t use incognito mode or access the Chrome Web Store. Also, here is where you can triple up on the filtering by selecting Try to Block Mature Sites, and you can also activate SafeSearch. Parents also have the option of blocking all websites and only allowing certain sites. This power is great for parents of younger or special needs children…or children who have gotten in trouble online in the past.
We recommend activating YouTube Restricted Mode or blocking it completely (YouTube is full of tutorials about how to get around parental controls…besides disturbing and addictive content).
You can also create screen time and app limits, lock your child's device, and more.
Bonus Tips to Enhance Online Safety: 🚀🔒
Secure User Account: Ensure your child's Google Account is password-protected and unique to them. Emphasize the importance of not sharing login details with anyone.
Supervision and Open Dialogue: Maintain an open dialogue about online safety and responsible internet usage with your child. Keep an eye on their online activities and encourage them to share your concerns.
Periodic Check-ins: Regularly review your child's online activity reports via Family Link and discuss any improvement areas.
Feel free to drop your questions or additional tips in the comments below. Happy schooling and safe browsing! 🏠🖥️💙