How to make Google safer for your kids

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Find out how to use Google parental controls

Kids love to know everything about Google, but sometimes they can take a “bad turn” on Google and end up in a dark part of the Internet where they shouldn’t be. Fortunately, Google has some parental control features that parents can implement to at least help reduce the volume of inappropriate content that ends up in search results.

Let’s take a look at some Google parental controls that you can enable to help keep your kids curious about ending up on the wrong side of the trail:

What is Google SafeSearch?

Google SafeSearch is one of the main parental control options offered by Google to help parents control search results. SafeSearch helps filter explicit content from search results. It is primarily designed to target sexually explicit material (images and videos) and not violent content.

To activate Google SafeSearch, visit http://www.google.com/preferences

  1. From the “Search Settings” preferences page, place a check in the box with the label “Filter explicit results“.
  2. To lock this setting so that your child cannot change it, click the link ” Lock SafeSearch“. If you are not already signed in to your Google account, you will need to do so in order to lock SafeSearch to the “on” position.

If you have more than one web browser on your system, you will need to perform the Lock SafeSearch process above for each of the browsers. Also, if you have more than one profile on your computer (i.e. your child has a separate user account to log into a shared computer) then you will need to lock the browser from the profile of the child. Cookies must be enabled for this feature to work as well.

When you have successfully disabled SafeSearch, you will receive a confirmation message in your browser.

If you want to check the status of SafeSearch to see if your kid has disabled it in some way, look at the top of any search results page in Google, you should see a message near from the top of the screen that indicates SafeSearch is locked.

There is no guarantee that SafeSearch will block all bad content, but at least it’s better than not having it enabled. There is also nothing preventing your child from using another search engine to find bad content. Other search engines, such as Yahoo, have their own safesearch-like features which you can enable as well. Check their support pages for information on their parental control offers.

Enable SafeSearch on mobile devices

In addition to your computer, you will probably also want to enable SafeSearch on any mobile device that your child uses regularly, such as your smartphone, iPod touch, or tablet. For instructions on how to activate SafeSearch on a variety of mobile devices, see the support page Google SafeSearch Mobile.

As we all know, kids are going to be kids and try to test their limits. We’ve put up a roadblock and they’re going around. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse and there will always be an internet door that we parents forget to lock, and it will be the one that the kids go through, but we do our best.



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