Tech-savvy kids are finding new ways to outsmart their parents, so Google is offering guardians a new tool to fight back.
The company on Tuesday added a new feature to the beta version of Chrome called "supervised users," which lets parents keep a close eye on their children's online activity.
The supervised users tool allows for the creation of various users, each with their own personalised restrictions.
Visit chrome.com/manage to create a page for your kids, then revisit it to review a history of viewed sites, determine which pages to allow or block, and manage permissions. Each supervised user can visit any websites not restricted by the family's manager. More advanced configurations are also available for rebellious teens.
"I enjoy sitting down with my daughter, watching her eyes light up at new favorites we find together on the Web," Google software engineer Pam Greene said in a blog post. "Like many of you, I also find it important to keep family members protected from websites that may be inappropriate."
SafeSearch filters are turned on by default for all supervised users, preventing adult content from popping into search results.
The feature was added to the beta channel, which is usually reserved for developers and other tech-savvy Internet users. Average users should probably wait for the final release. But "this is just the beginning," according to Greene, who asked for feedback before it hits that secure channel.
The move could help boost Google's Chromebook lineup of Chrome OS laptops. Some of the devices are cheap, which could make them a good device for kids, but parents might not be comfortable letting them run wild on the web without restrictions. "We hope this new feature helps you share Chromebooks with everyone in your family," Greene wrote.
It's not uncommon for kids to sneak around the Internet: According to a June 2012 McAfee study, 70 per cent of teens hide their online activity from their parents. In fact, 43 per cent of teens access simulated violence online, 36 per cent connected to sexual topics, and 32 per cent admitted to checking out nude content or pornography.
Even more unsettling, about 15 per cent of teens reportedly hacked a social network account, while more than 30 per cent access pirated movies and music. Almost 9 per cent of teens hacked into someone's email — and less than 15 per cent of parents are aware.