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5 Ways Moms Can Use Google to Keep Their Kids Safe Online

Posted by on May. 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM
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5 Ways Moms Can Use Google to Keep Their Kids Safe Online

by Linda Sharps

I just managed to completely freak myself out by glancing at my first grader's calendar, because exactly who authorized the last day of school to be in less than THREE WEEKS AWAY? Oh god, summer break's almost here. Sun, fun, and many hours of "YOU GUYS NEED TO PIPE DOWN I'M TRYING TO WORK!!!"

If this summer's anything like last year, we'll manage to figure out a precarious balance between activities and downtime and deadlines -- and I'm sure in addition to the wholesome outdoors and sunshine, my boys will be getting some screen time. They're not quite at the Internet-using age yet, but if your kids will be doing more than their usual amount of web surfing this summer, I've got 5 handy (and free!) Google tools specifically aimed at helping parents keep their kids safe while they're online.

YouTube's Safety Mode
Fact: kids love YouTube. If you want to make sure they don't bring up the non-semi-aquatic rodent sort of content when they search for "beaver" (ask me how I know about this!), scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click the "Safety" button. You'll get a dialog that looks like this:

SafetyMode can be locked in your browser of choice in order to filter out videos with, ahem, mature content. Those videos won't even show up in search, related videos, playlists, and so on. SafetyMode is also intended to help hide objectionable comments, so yay for THAT.


You can apply the same "don't show me the pr0n" filter in Google's Image Search by visiting the Search Settings page at

YouTube's Flags

If you happen to come across a YouTube clip that's violent, sexual, hateful, or just plain wrong in some creatively disturbing way, you can report it to Google by clicking the little flag just below the video player. Flagged videos don't automatically disappear, obviously, but they're reviewed by YouTube staff 24/7 to see if they violate community standards. You can flag content anonymously and choose the nature of its transgression:

(You can also flag abusive comments. Check out YouTube's policy and safety hub for a ton of info on what's allowed, what isn't, and safety practices.)

Google+ Settings/Safety Notifications for Teens

Teens who join Google+ have different default settings to help keep them safe, including increased privacy, limited communication with people outside their circles, and reminders about using Google+ responsibly.

Good to Know

This Google page sort of sounds like those old The More You Know! PSAs, but it's a handy one-stop-shop for privacy tools, safety tips, personal advice from parents at Google, information on preventing identity theft, suggestions for creating secure passwords, and lots more. Useful for parents ... and other carbon-based lifeforms.

Does your kid tend to get online more often during the summer break? How do you make sure they stay safe on the web?

by on May. 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM
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Replies (1-4):
by on May. 24, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Awesome, I never knew about these! My dd is only 9 months though so I won't need to use these for a little while.

by on May. 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM
Love the tips!!
by on May. 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM
Ha! I thought I could let my 10 year old search YouTube with the safe search on and all the filters and whatnot. She was supposed to stick to shows I approved of, sailor moon mostly. Well she ended up watching videos like "Amy is a whore" and gay videos depicting sonic and shadow being gay lovers! While the gay part didn't bother me at all it was the sexual content that didn't fly even if they didn't exactly show the act fully it was not cool at all! This all happened one night when I allowed her to take the tablet to her room so she could listen to her movies. Yup never again. Took the YouTube app off and she is no longer able to search for anything on her own. She abused her privilege and then lied to me on top of it. :( I don't trust the filters for anything. Too many things slip through that are messed up.
by Silver Member on May. 25, 2013 at 3:02 PM
I just texted the YouTube one to mom for her iPad. Ds always ends up with the evil Dora or train hits man: watch his brains go splat videos when he's looking for stuff.
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