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. Once seen, some things can never be unseen. If you can protect those eyes from anything unsavory, 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.
Your choice of unwanted websites can range from all sorts of things. You might be disturbed by adult content, or violence, but you also may want to find a way to block those interesting websites, quiz sites, or social sites that inspire nothing but procrastination and are helpful only for wasting time. If you have a term paper, homework, or work project waiting to get done, the last thing you want is to stray from your diligent research to find out what your preferences in cheese say about your personality, or a list of statistics on celebrity hook-ups. Keeping you focused and on task is another way website blocking can be useful.
If you’re a Chromebook user, know that this computer uses the Chrome browser. If you already know how to navigate Chrome to block websites, you’re set. If you’re new to the Chromebook family, though, or lack the tech knowledge to even translate the last sentence, this guide is for you!
How Do I Set Controls on Chromebook?
There are a few ways to control what is viewed on a Chromebook, depending on what you want to block, and how thoroughly you want it blocked. Take a look at these options, and decide how you want to manipulate the content you and anyone else who uses your Chromebook can view.
Block Websites Using 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 you go to the URL directly through a bookmark or otherwise. It may be enough for your needs though as search engines are how many curious minds find adult content they are not prepared to see. 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 Apps
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.
To find a blocker that’s perfect for your needs, first visit the Google Play Store. This is the area where all apps are selected or purchased. Search for “web blocker,” and check out the reviews and ratings on all of the options provided. You can also search app options on Google to learn more about the functionality of each app before you download it.
TinyFilter is a free Chrome add-on that offers a good level of parental control and website blocking. This add-on 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 can be disabled rather easily, which is a bonus if you accidentally add words to your filter that might pop up in a future research assignment, but can also be a bad thing if young and impressionable eyes somehow get a hold of your Chromebook and make a few extra clicks.
Block Site Chrome add-on
Block Site is another free Chrome extension that offers 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 specific URLs to a comprehensive “block” list for vigorous filtering.
What makes Block Site really stand out is its ability to synch with your phone. That means you can’t just reach for your phone for that Facebook fix while your controls are set!
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, but as a result, you’ll have the most personalized and efficient blocking for your needs once you’ve completed set up. Users can implement 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, any of these apps can help you achieve the perfect levels of productivity and protection.
StayFocused Chrome add-on
If you’re less worried about seeing adult content and more about your own procrastination skills, StayFocused is perfect for you. You can set up a list of accounts to block for a certain period of time, or blacklist the entire internet for as long as you want. There is a “nuclear” option that denies access to all websites, except those you have white-listed, until the timer runs out. No exceptions. It works well and can keep you on track if you get distracted by the many interesting articles on TechJunkie.
Set up a Separate Child’s Account
Google uses the Family Link app to offer parental controls over children. 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 for your phone
- Create an account using the ‘+’ sign in the Family Link app and follow the wizard to link your child’s account to your own
While it was initially intended for locking down phone content, 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 any websites you want to restrict will be enforced.
There other options for parental controls on a Chromebook including Mobocip but they are not free. Depending on the level of lock down you need, you may wish to explore a paid app option. Mobocip, for example, offers extensive monitoring and locking functions for things like streaming video, social media content, and more.
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!