Supervising user accounts is something that parents and classroom teachers can do to manage how students use Chromebooks and the Chrome browser in the classroom. Typically, school districts that use Google for education have access to manage multiple Chromebooks and student accounts on Chrome browsers. This service usually comes at an additional cost in addition to the purchase of Chromebooks. The Chrome management service is purchased with each Chromebook.
Not all school districts have Google for education, and purchasing the additional Chrome management service adds to the price per Chromebook. Using supervised user accounts is one way to provide a supervised user experience for students in the Chrome browser or on a Chromebook without any additional expense. In this lesson, we will learn how to setup a supervised user account on a Chrome browser. This process works on Windows or Mac Chrome browsers.
On the right side of the Chrome browser is the browser menu. Click it to open the menu options.
Click on Settings.
Near the bottom of the settings page is the account or people section. Click on the “Add person” button.
An account box will open where we will provide a name for the account. Erase the generic Person 1 account and provide a descriptive name for the account.
We’ll use the generic name student and select an avatar for the account.
Place a check mark on the option to supervise this account. With the supervised account, we will be able to control and view websites visited by this account. This account will be managed by the account we already have setup in the Chrome Browser.
If you haven’t setup your account on this Chrome browser then you will need to set it up first. The process is fairly simple. Replace student with your name and click the add button. You will be prompted to provide your Gmail address and password. After that, you can return and add the supervised account.
After placing a checkmark to supervise the account, click the add button.
A message box will inform us that the account has been created. The information provides a link where we can manage the sites that can be visited with this account. For now, click on the “Switch to Student” button.
A browser window will open with a blue title bar. On the right side of the title bar is the account name and it’s also informing us that the account is supervised.
Let’s go to the management page for the account. Switch back to the settings window and enter “http://www..
A page will display the account we just created. Click on the account panel.
You’ll get an information box with a link to take a tour. Take the tour or click the “No thanks” button.
When a supervised user is accessing the Internet and clicks on a restricted site, the user can request approval of the site. We can decide to approve or deny access to these sites.
We can monitor sites visited by the supervised user on this page.
SafeSearch is automatically set for the supervised user account. This means that questionable content is filtered.
When the account is created no sites are blocked. We can manage which sites are blocked in the permissions section with the “Manage” option. Click on the manage link.
When managing access to sites, we have two basic options. We can allow access to all the web or we can allow access to specific sites only. We can click the allow selector to choose how we want to manage the supervised user’s account.
If we choose to allow access to all the web, we can then block specific sites. This includes an entire domain. A domain is the address, i.e. google.com, wikipedia.org or digitalmaestro.org. When we block a domain, all the pages that are part of the domain are blocked.
In this example, we’ll block . As we enter the address for the site, the behavior changes to “Block only this address”.
To block the entire domain, click the behavior selector and pick “Block entire domain”.
After entering a site to block and selecting a behavior, we will be presented with another field to add an additional site. Click the Ok button to save this blocked site.
In the permissions section we see the student account has one blocked site.
Let’s try to access Wikipedia as a supervised user.
A page will open informing the user that they need permission to access this page.
The same message would appear if we tried to click a link that leads to anything related to Wikipedia. In this example, we will click the link to an article about Albert Einstein on Wikipedia.
There are times when we don’t want to block an entire domain but just part of a site. There are several ways we can do this. Some sites have subdomains. These are sites that are part of the main domain but have a different address. For example, adobe.com is a domain and color.adobe.com is a subdomain. We can block the main domain adobe.com but allow access to its subdomains.
Go to the manage page and click on the “Manage” link.
We will be blocking but allowing the user to access its subdomains like . If the user tries to access he or she will get the restriction message we saw earlier. On the other hand, if they go to one of the subdomains like , the user will have access.
There are sites that have different domains based on different parts of the world. For example, and are the same Google but the second domain is specific to the United Kingdom. Each domain caters to the language and other requirements of that country. For example, the Google for Mexico has menu items and buttons in Spanish.
In this example, we’ve blocked access to the Google search engine for Mexico.
Block Everything Except Certain Sites
Another way to limit access is to limit access to everything on the web except for specific domains or sites. Click on the allow selector and choose “Only approves sites”.
For example, we can provide the address for and allow the user to access the entire domain. The moment the user tries to access any site or page that is not part of the domain, a restricted page message will appear.
As we learned earlier, domains have subdomains. We can allow access to a domain but restrict access to one or more subdomains. In this example, the user has access to but is restricted from accessing . We need to select the “Block some subdomains” behavior for a site to have this option.
Earlier we were able to block specific addresses like . We can do the same here but from the other way around. We can grant access to , and restrict access to the other Google domains. Make sure to select the option to “Allow only this address”.
These are the essentials for managing access to sites for supervised users. How we implement the permissions depends on our needs. For example, in schools, we might want to block every site on the web except for specific domains or subdomains that are specific to instruction. As a parent, we might want to block only specific domains while leaving the rest of the web open. A business or school district with a kiosk might want to block everything but a subdomain with information for visitors.
When a user asks permission for a site we have the option to approve access.
When we look at the manage page we will see a request section. The request includes the web address and when the request was made.
We can approve or deny a site by placing a checkmark on the site and clicking the appropriate button. In this example, we will deny access to the site. when we deny access to a site, the user can still request access when trying to visit the site in the future.
All visited sites are listed in the activity section. We can approve or deny site access in this section too. Place a checkmark on the site and click the approve button.
User Activity Monitoring
The activity section contains a list of sites a user tried to visit. We can look at the specific pages the user tried to access by clicking the triangle on the left of each site.
In this example, we see all pages within that the user tried to access. The list includes pages that were blocked and those that were not blocked. Unblocked pages might be part of a subdomain that was approved for access.
Manager and Supervised User Accounts
We can create additional supervised user accounts and each can have its own set of permissions and approved sites. Multiple user accounts can be useful with different computer work-stations for students or different kiosk stations.
If we plan to use this account exclusively for a student work-station, kiosk or other option where we only want that user account, we need to make sure the managed account is not associated with the Chrome browser.
In the Chrome menu, click on settings.
In the people section, click the managing account and click the “Remove” button.
Confirm the removal of the account.
Now, when we open the Chrome browser, it will open to the supervised user account.