About the author, Chris McKenna

Chris is the Covenant Eyes Educational Resource Manager. Chris has a BA in Accountancy and Spanish from Western Michigan University. After 12 years in business advising with Ernst & Young, God led Chris to a full-time student ministry role. He started protectyoungeyes.com in 2015  as a ministry to equip and educate parents and teens on the latest gadgets, apps, and how to use the Internet well, which led him to Covenant Eyes. God works in unexpected ways!

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Protect Your Family Online

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

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16 thoughts on “Google Is Not Parent Friendly

  1. Back when TV was the dominant form of entertainment, parents knew what TV shows their kids were watching and some even limited the time spent watching. A similar approach could be taken with the Internet.

  2. “Chromebooks Remove Supervised Users as a Parental Control”

    I believe you can still use the excellent Google Family Link for Chromebooks. It works with my kids.

    • Hi, Brian – I’d be interested to know how you’ve done that. Family Link does not (or isn’t supposed to) work on the Chrome OS and only works on Android devices. Supervised users that were created prior to 1/12 remain, just without any real functionality other than enforcing safe search. Please let me know if you are finding Family Link to work for the Chromebook because Google’s forums concluded that it would not.

      info@covenanteyes.com

      Regards,
      Chris

    • Google family link requires new google accounts. This is absurd.
      My son has an established gmail account and a school managed account.
      I need time limits so that he can use his chromebook for homework and not waste away his time watching videos on YouTube or gaming on Chrome.

      HE USES GOOGLE CLASSROOM – So I need to filter particular websites at study time as he needs to use chrome during study time.

      BTW this is not to replace parenting it is to remove the temptation of distraction which adults can barely control in themselves.

      Lack of supervised users if beyond upsetting. So simple – don’t fix what isn’t broken.

      Truly at a loss. This is technology here people!!!

  3. I just went to set up the parental controls for my son’s Chrome browser on his new HP laptop and was lost in finding out how to. I then discovered it’s no longer available. And to make things worse, its replacement won’t arrive until the end of the year. What are they thinking?! I’m honestly beyond disappointed in the utter ignorance of this decision.

    I’m regretting downgrading (due to trying to save costs) from an Apple laptop to a Windows based laptop for him. Apple is FAR superior with parental controls (among other things). I guess you get what you pay for.

  4. Great article! One thing to note on solution point 1… It really tells us more about your personal views on capitalism. It is not a useful point.

    • Ok, thank you James for your feedback. I’ve found that parents need to be reminded that capitalism doesn’t always encourage ethics. So, when it comes to the safety and protection of our kids online, we cannot trust any profit-driven organization to own any part of that for us.

      Chris

  5. I was both happy and sad to find this post. I’ve been struggling for two months to find some acceptable replacement to Chrome Supervised Users. As a homeschool parent, my kids’ Chromebooks were an essential tool for education. With the SU accounts, I was able to block YouTube and then embed in a private (free) blog for my kids any videos I wanted them to see. As of this writing, I can’t find anything at all that will replicate that functionality. While I was hoping this post might provide answers, I was at least comforted to see that I wasn’t alone in being mystified at Google’s sudden decision to rip the rug out from under us. So discouraging.

  6. Can you cut through some of this for me and tell me if I’m going to be able to filter my chromebook? I just bought a chrome book and when I went to download covenant eyes found that it does not work with Chrome OS. Is there another download or am I without protection? I’ll teturn the laptop if that’s the case.

  7. Hi Chris, according to this April 2018 article, Google has introduced Family Link on Chrome OS: https://chromeunboxed.com/news/chromebook-supervised-users-replaced-family-link. Does that change your assessment of parental friendliness on Chromebooks?

    Also, it seems like YouTube is also introducing new parent controls: https://youtube.googleblog.com/2018/04/introducing-new-choices-for-parents-to.html.

    It’d be great to hear your take on these.

    Separately, do you know if Covenant Eyes is working on a Chrome OS monitoring solution? The recent iOS VPN solution is great and seems like something that can apply to Chrome OS?

    Thanks.

    • Hi, James – yes, these are both very positive steps forward by Google. I wrote extensively about Family Link now works on Chromebooks here, if you’re interested.

      And, we did the same in updating our App Profile for YouTube Kids here.

      I’m pleased with both moves! I’m hopeful that the features available through Family Link on Chromebooks will extend to time controls, which only work on Family Link for Android.

      We don’t have plans at CE to create an extension for Chrome’s OS.

      Chris

  8. Many of the Google education features need to be available for families. It’s not like the infrastructure to support proper content management for minors doesn’t exist, it is just not made available to mere mortals. I struggle with parental control far too long, my conclusion is don’t get a Chromebook in a family setting – period.

  9. I let someone use my Chromebook as a guest and weeks later to my horror a sex site came up when I started the browser. How could this happen? . I thought nothing was saved when in guest mode.

    • Hi, you’re right, that in guest mode, there isn’t supposed to be any history. Without knowing more, it’s hard to tell, but it sounds like you need a service to filter out the porn. Protect Young Eyes has some recommendations.

      Chris

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