This article was written by Kayelene Kerr from eSafeKids.
Parental control tools can assist to monitor, restrict, limit and filter what children and young people do and see online. There are many tools available and they all offer different functions. In this blog we'll explore Google SafeSearch.
Google SafeSearch is a tool designed to help detect and block explicit content from your Google search results. Explicit content includes:
Graphic sex acts
If you don't want your child to see explicit content in their search results you have two options:
Filter - this will block any detected content
Blur - this will blur explicit images, but explicit text and links may still show.
It's important to note SafeSearch only works on Google search results. When it's turned on, you can still find explicit content through other search engines or by directly visiting a site with explicit content.
SafeSearch operates at a browser level, this means you need to turn it on for each browser your child uses. If you have multiple profiles for your children you will need to enable it for each profile.
If you have SafeSearch filtering turned on and you find explicit content you can report the content.
Google Family Link
You may also like to consider Google Family Link. The free Google Family Link app is designed to help parents and carers control a range of settings on their child's device. These include:
Set screen time limits
See the location of your child’s signed-in and active devices
Approve your child’s downloads and purchases on Google Play and Stadia
Limit the visibility of content based on maturity ratings
Help your child choose the types of activity that can be saved in their Google Account and how it may be used to personalize their experience;
Manage settings such as SafeSearch for Google Search
Review your child’s app permissions, such as microphone, camera, and contacts access
Change the content, access and other settings for YouTube experiences, including YouTube and YouTube Kids.
Paid Third Party Parental Controls
Parental control tools play a role in creating safer digital environments and experiences for children. They allow parents to set boundaries and monitor online activities, promoting responsible and age-appropriate use of technology. They provide the means to regulate and oversee the use of various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, smart TV’s, gaming consoles and other internet connected devices. Parental controls can help protect children from a range of potential online risks and harms such as, accessing age inappropriate explicit content (pornography, sexualised media, violent content), excessive time online, online grooming, sextortion and bullying.
There are many tools available and they all offer different functions. The below list of paid parental control tools and services is by no means an exhaustive list or an endorsement but could be used as a starting place to research what will best suit your individual and family needs. Visit the eSafeKids Members Community for direct links to a range of parental control tools. Don't forget free parental controls can also be found on devices and on websites.
You may like to view the Family Friendly Filters scheme.
Don't set and forget
While parental controls are valuable tools for managing and guiding a child's digital experience, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Parental controls can help mitigate certain risks and provide a level of supervision, but they are most effective when used in conjunction with parental supervision, education, conversation and participation.
Open communication between parents and children is vital. Parents should actively engage in conversations with their children about responsible technology use, online safety, and the potential risks associated with the digital world. Educating children on making informed decisions and cultivating a sense of digital responsibility and resilience is crucial.
Parental controls work best when combined with a balanced approach that includes both technological safeguards and ongoing communication.
You may like to read the following eSafeKids Blogs:
To learn more about eSafeKids workshops and training visit our services page.
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Join the free eSafeKids online Members' Community. It has been created to support and inspire you in your home, school, organisation and/or community setting.
About The Author
Kayelene Kerr is recognised as one of Western Australia’s most experienced specialist providers of Protective Behaviours, Body Safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography education workshops. Kayelene is passionate about the prevention of child abuse and sexual exploitation, drawing on over 27 years’ experience of study and law enforcement, investigating sexual crimes, including technology facilitated crimes. Kayelene delivers engaging and sought after prevention education workshops to educate, equip and empower children and young people, and to help support parents, carers, educators and other professionals. Kayelene believes protecting children from harm is a shared responsibility and everyone can play a role in the care, safety and protection of children. Kayelene aims to inspire the trusted adults in children’s lives to tackle sometimes challenging topics.
eSafeKids strives to reduce and prevent harm through proactive prevention education, supporting and inspiring parents, carers, educators and other professionals to talk with children, young people and vulnerable adults about protective behaviours, body safety, cyber safety, digital wellness and pornography. eSafeKids is based in Perth, Western Australia.
eSafeKids provides books and resources to teach children about social and emotional intelligence, resilience, empathy, gender equality, consent, body safety, protective behaviours, cyber safety, digital wellness, media literacy, puberty and pornography.
eSafeKids books can support educators teaching protective behaviours and child abuse prevention education that aligns with the Western Australian Curriculum, Australian Curriculum, Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Framework: National Quality Standards (NQS).