Are you tired of manually filtering and keeping an eye on your kid’s online activities? Then you need Google SafeSearch: it was specifically designed to provide a safe browsing experience for children.
So what does SafeSearch actually do? Is it really safe for adults to trust? And how can you start using Google SafeSearch today?
What Is SafeSearch?
Think of it like a search engine created for youngsters.
SafeSearch blocks explicit images and content from your Google search results, ensuring your kids won’t stumble upon anything questionable. What’s more, it can be set up for all types of browsers, tablets, and mobile devices.
What Is the Importance of Web Filtering for Kids?
The internet is a wonderful learning platform for kids but unfortunately, it is also rife with online threats, and objectionable content that children should never be exposed to. Along with protecting kids from the outside world, nowadays parents also have to shield them from the online world.
Kids are most often at risk when online as they don’t necessarily understand the consequences of actions. Without web filtering and monitoring in place, kids can easily end up sharing personal information with threat actors or viewing explicit content.
Here are some benefits of setting up web filtering for kids:
- It blocks inappropriate content from appearing on the screen.
- It provides parents with autonomous control of their children’s online activities.
- Due to the restricted usage of websites, the risk of certain computer viruses is also reduced.
- Your personal information is protected online.
- It blocks the sharing of files and applications without permissions.
- It provides parents with a list of all websites visited, so adults can make informed decisions regarding their children’s browsing habits.
By setting up appropriate filters, parents can shield kids from online threats. By using other measures such as learning about cyber threats, using parental control apps, setting guidelines, and talking to kids about the dangers lurking online, parents can bridge the gap and ensure the safety of kids when they are surfing online.
How Google SafeSearch Helps Online Security
Google is in fact the most popular search engine of all time and is the default homepage for most users. The main goal of Google SafeSearch is to filter out adult content so kids are not exposed to it while surfing online.
Search engines can sometimes bring up sexually explicit content or images with certain search terms even if parents have blocked specific websites from being visited. This is where SafeSearch comes into play—by filtering explicit content out of search results, it helps parents set automated parental controls.
You can think of SafeSearch as a filter of objectionable content that is built into the Google search engine.
Fortunately, SafeSearch is automatically turned on for most kids’ devices such as school Chromebooks and iPads but there are times when parents would need to turn it on manually, especially if they are sharing devices with their children. We’ll come back to how you can do this.
While SafeSearch is turned on, no results will be returned if a child enters a suggestive or inappropriate search term. And for parents, this can be a huge sigh of relief.
Is SafeSearch Really Safe?
SafeSearch utilizes keywords to filter search results and prevents the loading of web pages of sites that have certain unacceptable words. There is also a SafeSearch Lock that gives control to parents so only they can change the setting.
But just like with any type of web filtering, SafeSearch is not 100 percent accurate. Certain DNS limitations can prevent SafeSearch from blocking content cached in your browser or device prior to enabling it. To make it work, you can flush your DNS cache, but keep in mind that it can take up to 24 hours for your DNS entries to refresh.
A few other limitations of Google SafeSearch include:
- It only comes with two settings: on and off.
- You cannot create blacklists or whitelists for certain websites.
- You cannot adjust the sensitivity level.
- It relies on cookies and is browser-specific.
However, any amount of protection and filtering is good when kids are involved. Since SafeSearch does prevent the displaying of most adult images and websites, you should definitely give it a shot.
You can report content that was not filtered out by SafeSearch so they can review it and add it to their adult content list.
How to Set Up Google SafeSearch in Your Browser
Setting up Google SafeSearch in your browser is pretty straightforward. It can be set up for any browser, but if you are using multiple browsers (Firefox, Internet Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari), you will have to follow the same steps in each browser.
To enable it on any browser, simply head to the Google search settings page by typing https://www.google.com/preferences in your URL.
Click on the Turn on SafeSearch box under the “SafeSearch filters” option on the top.
How to Set Up Google SafeSearch on Android and iPhones
Follow these steps to set up SafeSearch on your Android or iOS device:
- Open your chosen browser.
- Go to Google Search Settings by typing https://www.google.com/preferences in your search bar.
- Locate the SafeSearch filters section.
- Tap on Filter explicit results.
- Hit Save at the bottom of the screen.
Filter Explicit Results and Educate Kids on Online Threats
In order to be safe online, it’s important for both parents and kids to be aware of the dangers. By educating ourselves and our children about the dangers of the internet and employing web filtering mechanisms, we can offer our youngsters a somewhat safe online experience and the freedom to learn without any limits.
Plus SafeSearch can cut down on security risks!
Just remember, no type of filtering including Google SafeSearch is fully successful and some content is bound to slip through the cracks now and then. But at least it will keep your children safe from most predators and objectionable content.
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