When browsing online, there is the danger of finding unsuitable content. This is especially worrying if we’re allowing our children to explore what the online world has to offer. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure that children are kept away from sites that may be upsetting or contain mature themes.
Enabling Safe Search on Google
If you have a Google account that your children use, then you can enable SafeSearch to limit the content found when using the search engine. To do this, simply log into your account from the Google homepage. From here, click on Settings and then Search Settings. Underneath the Safe Search Filters you will need to check the Turn on Safe Search box and then click save.
Enabling Safe Search on Bing
Changing the settings in Bing doesn’t require you to log in, although you can if you have a Microsoft account. To enable the SafeSearch settings, you need to click on the Setting icon in the right corner, which is characterised by three horizontal lines. You then need to click on SafeSearch Moderate. From here, you will be given three choices.
- Strict: Filters all adult images, videos and text from search results.
- Moderate: Will not filter adult text, but will restrict adult images and videos.
- Off: Disables all adult filters.
Once you have selected a filter, you then need to click on Save. It’s important that cookies are enabled, otherwise the filters may not work.
Restricted Mode on YouTube
YouTube allows users to manage the content they view by offering a Restricted Mode. To enable Restricted Mode, visit the YouTube platform and click on the three dots at the top right-hand side of the screen. You will be then given a dropdown menu, which will include a Restricted Mode. Simply click on Restricted Mode, and YouTube will restrict the following subject matter:
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Sexual-Orientated Content
- Acts of Violence
- Offensive Language
- Mature Themes
It should be noted that any settings made will only apply to the browser. For example, if you made the changes within a Google Chrome browser, but then use Firefox to access YouTube, then none of the changes will be in place.
Drawbacks of Safe Search
There’s no denying that search engines and content providers are working hard to ensure children remain safe online. The issues arise from the way we connect to the Internet. While we can make changes to settings on certain devices and certain websites, it’s likely that access can still be accessed via a separated device or web browser.
Another drawback is that companies like Google will use an algorithm to determine what is deemed suitable content. For the most part, this works absolutely fine, but there can be instances where some websites weave through the filters, even though they may contain content that is unsuitable for the younger online population.
Alternative Solutions for Safe Web Browsing
If you feel changing the settings isn’t as effective as you’d like, then you may want to look at an alternative solution.
Those who are concerned about their child’s browsing habits can look at browsers designed exclusively for children, such as Kiddle or Kidsplorer. However, if you’re looking to employ a more tailored and reliable solution, then you may wish to sign up for a cyber security option.
Family Zone is one such company, and can offer parents a plethora of options to ensure their child’s online journey is a safe one. As well as restricting access to unsuitable websites, it also allows parents to monitor their child’s browsing habits.