Google is removing Chrome’s ‘supervised users’ parental controls
In a frustrating blow for parents everywhere, Chrome’s ‘supervised users’ feature is being phased out only four years after it was launched, according to an email sent to users of the feature.
“We’ve learned a lot in these four years, and heard feedback about how we can improve the experience for you and your children,” the email explains. “Based on this feedback, we are working on a new set of Chrome OS supervision features specifically for the needs of families to launch later this year.”
As its name suggests, ‘supervised users’ is a tool that lets you control other users profiles in Chrome, limiting their access to specific websites and monitoring what they’ve viewed.
In its email, Google claims the option to create supervised profiles has already been disabled (although at the time of writing, it still worked for me). If you’ve already set up supervised profiles, you’ll still be able to use them, but only in a limited capacity. That’s because from January 15, chrome.com/manage, the site that lets you change restrictions for the profiles, will cease to exist.
So what does this mean if you still want to be able to supervise the content your children visit? Well, if you’re quick, you could still get something set up using supervised users, but it’s probably not a great idea in the long term.
Google refers to “a new set of Chrome OS supervision features” in its email, but it’s unlikely these will be introduced on Windows and Mac devices. It also points users to Family Link. This newly launched app lets you set up a Google account for your children and monitor the way they use their Android devices. However, at the moment it’s only available in the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There’s also no indication that it’ll work on a PC.
The best solution for monitoring your kids online is probably Qustodio. The program is free and easy to set up and lets you monitor what sites your kids visit, what they get up to and who they interact with on social networks. You can set limits on their online time and block access to unsavoury and dangerous websites. It’s also tamper-proof, so once up and running you can be assured they won’t be able to simply disable the program.