How To Block Websites on a Chromebook
The internet is an amazing place full of information, opinion and wonder. It is also full of things you wouldn’t want young, or particularly sensitive eyes to see. Some things, once seen can never be unseen. If you can protect those eyes from seeing this stuff, all the better. You may find some types of content offensive or even just plain unpleasant. That’s why we put ‘How to block websites on a Chromebook’ together.
It isn’t just adult content or things we are better off not seeing, it is also those interesting websites or social networks that cause us to procrastinate or waste time. If you have a term paper, homework or work project to get done, the last thing you want is to stray across to Facebook or YouTube and lose an hour or three doing nothing constructive. Keeping you focused and on task is another way website blocking can be useful.
Chromebook uses the Chrome browser so if you know how to block websites in Chrome, the same applies here. Any tips and tips for the Chrome web browser will be helpful to Chromebook users.
Here are a few ways to control what is viewed on a Chromebook.
Block websites using Chrome Safe Search
Since Google removed Chrome’s Supervised User accounts a couple of years ago, the only built-in way you can control what websites you can view from your Chromebook is to use Safe Search, which restricts access to adult material through web searches but doesn’t offer the ability to block specific websites if go to the URL directly through a bookmark or otherwise. It may be enough for your needs though as search is how a lot of adult web content is found and viewed. Here’s how to get going with Safe Search:
- Open Chrome and go to google.com
- Select Settings in the bottom right and then Search Settings
- Check the box next to Turn on SafeSearch
- Then click on Lock SafeSearch
This process will work on web searches using Google, filtering Google web search results for adult or explicit content.
Block websites using Chrome extensions
Another very useful way to block websites in a Chromebook is to use a Chrome extension designed for the task. There are currently a few Chrome extensions that help block websites or to exercise parental control.
TinyFilter is a free Chrome add-on that offers a good level of parental control and website blocking. The addon is simple to use and works well as long as you take the time to set it up properly first. It uses a blacklist system and requires you to add words you want to restrict into the blacklist. The more words you add, the better the filtering.
TinyFilter does have the same kind of downside of any browser extension though in that it can be disabled fairly easily. That requires a close eye while little ones are using the Chromebook.
Block Site Chrome add-on
Block Site is another free Chrome extension that offers some parental control over what websites are accessed. This extension also works to prevent procrastination if your requirements are less about control and more about productivity. Controls can be password protected and you can add URLs to a blocklist for vigorous filtering.
What makes Block Site really stand out is its ability to work in Incognito Mode too. Not all website blocking extensions can manage that but this one does.
JustBlock Security Chrome add-on
The JustBlock Security add-on is our final suggestion to block websites on a Chromebook. It also enables parental controls within Chrome and allows you to both blacklist and whitelist URLs as you see fit. This app takes some configuring as it can be quite strict with scripts and ads. Use the whitelist to keep things running smoothly and configure ad blocking to enable most websites to work.
Like the other browser extensions here, the more time you spend setting it up, the better it will work for you. Once configured, all of these add-ons do a good job of website blocking.
Set up a child’s account for the Chromebook
Google uses the Family Link app to offer parental controls over children. It’s a little convoluted to set up but it does get the job done. You will need to set up a Google account for your child and get the Family Link app for this to work.
- Visit the Google Family Link website to check for device compatibility and to get the app
- Create an account using the ‘+’ sign in the Family Link app and follow the wizard
Family Link does a credible job of securing your Chromebook for younger users. Once set up, the child can log into the Chromebook using their own account and websites, adult and explicit content and anything else you want to restrict will be enforced.
There other options for parental controls on a Chromebook including Mobocip but they are not free. I also have no experience using them so won’t include them here.
If you found this article useful, you might enjoy The Best Chromebooks under $300 – May 2019.
Do you know of any other ways to block websites on a Chromebook? Please tell us about them below in the comments!