Parents, if you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone in your family, you need to set up google safe search on each device.
According to research conducted in 2014, Google holds the market (at 68%!!) as the most popular search engine. You know the company is popular when the name becomes a verb :: “Google it!” — and the proof is in the pudding, with over 3 billion online searches daily!
What is Google SafeSearch and why is it necessary for families?
Google is the go-to of search engines, and for many of us, it’s the first screen to open on our devices.
Even if a parent has limited content on a device (preventing specific websites from being visited), certain search terms will still bring up pornographic or sexually explicit content, words, images, and videos. In some cases, full pornographic material can be accessed just in the search results.
SafeSearch helps prevent this by filtering sexually explicit content, (including images and videos) out of search results, and is one of the main ways Google helps parents set parental controls.
When SafeSearch is on, sexually explicit video and images will be filtered from Google Search result pages, along with results that might link to explicit content. When SafeSearch is off, we’ll provide the most relevant results for your search and may include explicit content when you search for it. – Google Support
How to Set Up Google SafeSearch on your Kids’ Devices
How to enable Google SafeSearch on a Web Browser
To enable Google SafeSearch on web browsers, visit the Google search settings page –> google.com/preferences.
- Check the “Turn on SafeSearch” box.
- Click the blue words next to it “Lock SafeSearch.”
- If you are not already logged in to your gmail account, you will need to log in before you can lock the SafeSearch setting (preventing someone from simply turning off SafeSearch before browsing).
- You also need to change your browser settings to “always accept cookies.” (Google gives a link if you’re unsure of how to do this.)
- Once this is done, click the “Lock SafeSearch” button.
- Those colorful circles will be at the top of your search results when Google SafeSearch is ON. If you don’t see the colorful circles, double-check your settings to ensure you have Google SafeSearch locked ON.
**Implementing Google SafeSearch in one browser does not set it up in all browsers.** You must go in to each browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) separately and get Google SafeSearch set up on each.
You can use an internet filtering service, like Covenant Eyes, which automatically locks google safe search in all browsers. This is a service we highly recommend. Find out more here.
Additionally, if you use Circle to filter your network and devices, you can enable a Safe Search mode through Circle’s “Privacy & Safety” settings. Turning this on in Circle will turn on Google SafeSearch, Bing SafeSearch, and disable Yahoo searches.
How to Enable Google SafeSearch on Mobile Devices
- Visit the Google search settings page –> google.com/preferences.
- Under “SafeSearch Filters,” choose “Filter explicit results.”
- Click the “SAVE” button at the bottom of the page.
** You cannot lock SafeSearch on a mobile device.** Kids can easily revert back to the standard settings without you knowing they turned off SafeSearch.
To protect against this, we recommend setting device specific restrictions and using a filtering & monitoring tool like Covenant Eyes or Circle by Disney as an added layer of protection.
Another option is to disallow Safari or other web browsers (click here to see how to set these restrictions on iPhones and iPads) and instead, install a kid-safe browser.
Remember :: in seeking to protect our kids, it is the combination of all our restrictions working together that will be most effective.
Though each piece is important, don’t only rely only on talking with your kids about being safe online or only use device restrictions or only rely on SafeSearch settings. Use them all in combination and bathe all these efforts in prayer.
By God’s grace and with the help of His Spirit, we will shepherd our kids into grace and truth even as we navigate this growing digital world.
Question for You ::
Have you set up Google SafeSearch on your devices? What other safeguards have you put in place to protect your family?
Leave a Reply