Tuesday 19 November 2013

How does Google SafeSearch work?

The internet has really revolutionised the way in which we live over the past decade. Being able to contact friends and loved ones anywhere in the world and providing unlimited shopping opportunities; life is certainly much easier thanks to the World Wide Web.

However as useful as it can be, there are also a number of issues that come with this magical online world. Families in particular have many things to worry about in terms of keeping their children safe online.

If you’re using a family computer, you may want to consider using Google’s SafeSearch feature.

What is SafeSearch?
SafeSearch is a great tool offered by Google that prevents children seeing adult content. It’s a filter that stops them being able to search for anything that isn’t age appropriate.

Google admits that no filter can ever be 100% accurate. However, this particular feature uses advanced technology and will help you to avoid most inappropriate content.

As you’ll discussed at lengths on parenting sites such as - child friendly websites are often difficult to find due to the still very open nature of the web and keeping your children safe on it can seem like a full time job. Using a feature such as SafeSearch will help to make your job a little bit easier.

Using SafeSearch
In order to turn the SafeSearch feature on, you’ll need to visit the preferences section on Google. You’ll see the SafeSearch heading and there’s a little box you’ll need to tick saying ‘filter explicit results’. It’s as simple as that.

Once you’ve clicked that box and saved your changes, the filter will automatically work and no adult content should show up in search results. You can turn it off again by going back to the preferences page and un-ticking the box.

There’s an alternative option if you don’t want to change the settings completely. You can ensure that your kids use the actual SafeSearch website. This has the filter built in and you can bookmark it ready for your kids to use.

You will need to monitor their usage of the internet while they’re using this just to be sure they don’t stray onto the standard Google search engine.

Reporting explicit content
As mentioned, no filter is ever 100% accurate. Therefore if you are presented with explicit content on child safe websites, you should report it to Google straight away.

No matter how many safety features you use on your family computer, nothing can replace keeping an actual eye on your children. Don’t leave them too long on their own while they are using the internet. Keep an eye on the things they search for and how they use the computer. It’s scary to think that children these days know a lot more about technology than their parents. You need to stay tech savvy if you’re going to keep your children safe online.

SafeSearch can be a great filter to switch on as it’s simple to use and will block most adult content. It has come under fire due to the lack of customisation involved, as once upon a time you could choose how strict you wanted the filter to be. However, these days, SafeSearch will block all explicit content.

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