Through the years we have received many questions about Chromebooks and our service. This article answers the most frequently asked questions and offers a few suggestions.
Why doesn’t Covenant Eyes cover Chromebooks?
For a variety of practical and technical reasons, we do not currently offer a product that works on Chromebooks. To keep things brief, we’ll share two specific reasons here:
- Most Chromebooks are purchased by school systems. School systems are required to provide some form of online protection, which often prevents other forms of protection from being installed on the school login. Therefore, it’s important for parents to communicate with the school in order to understand what is being monitored on the school-issued Chromebook. It is sometimes possible for parents to create non-school logins on a school-issued Chromebook. If this is true, then see the note below about Google Family Link, which can protect the non-school login.
- Technically speaking the operating system of a Chromebook is much different than a Windows or Mac computer. It would be difficult to “lock down” our program on a Chromebook, which means it would be easy to get around. We could not provide the reliable accountability and filtering that people have come to expect from Covenant Eyes.
*In February 2020 we reviewed our position with intense research on a) the way our newest software works, b) both the current and coming states of the Chromebook operating system, and c) the composition of the Chromebook market. While we decided not to pursue development, we will continue to monitor the changes that Google makes to Chromebooks.
What about using the Covenant Eyes app for Android™?
Some people think that our Android app will work on a Chromebook, but the operating system of a Chromebook is distinct from that of an Android phone or tablet. You may be able to install our Android app on a Chromebook (some people have), but the app will not run.
What can I do now?
Ultimately the decision is up to you, but here are four options to consider:
- Set up house rules for technology.
Internet devices should remain in public spaces, like the family room. Overnight charging can happen in the same space.
- Control the wifi signal in your home.
Most routers can be set to use a specific connection to the internet, and some connections automatically filter out explicit content. Two industry leaders offer this for free and have good set-up guides – CleanBrowsing and OpenDNS. But, be aware that other devices using Covenant Eyes Blocking may run into conflicts with the filter on the router.
- Use Google Family Link.
Google Family Link (GFL) helps parents keep an eye on their child’s online activity. This tool is helpful for Chromebooks that you own. A helpful, step-by-step guide for setting up GFL was created by our friends at Protect Young Eyes.
When it comes to school-issued Chromebooks, the use of GFL is “off the table” because the school owns and manages the Chromebook. Be sure to ask the school what they will be monitoring.
- Explore different options for completing online homework
You might be able to ask the school system for permission to complete online assignments with your Windows or Mac device, rather than using the Chromebook.