The Internet can be a dirty place and you have to take steps to stay safe online, but it can also be a wonderful world where kids can let their creativity and imagination run free. Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent its two sides from merging. Whatever your reasons, there are ways to set up kid-friendly searches.
I’ve taken a look at the Big Three search engines that exist, and I’ve tried to find the search settings for each and every one. These ways are not a guarantee to keep your kids out of the nasty parts of the Internet, but they are guaranteed to help you take a step forward. For a more in-depth approach, I recommend actually talking with your kids about the Internet. It’s not just some play-thing.
Take a look at them, provide some tips of your own in the comments, and remember that we can all work together to keep kids safe on the Internet.
Turning On Google SafeSearch
As you may know, Google already incorporates SafeSearch into its website by filtering explicit results. At the surface, this is a godsend for some parents, but the fact is that it can easily be turned off by clicking the gear icon, going into your Search Settings, and altering the SafeSearch Filters. By keeping a parent account logged in, you can actually lock these search settings to keep anything nasty from popping up. Of course, this presents another problem – your kids can log out of your account. Derp.
I’d recommend a “logged-in only” rule for Internet usage at your house, and if perchance your account mysteriously is logged out (only you should know the password), then take the computer away for a bit. Harsh? Yeah. However, it could work to your and your child’s benefit if handled properly. Also bear in mind that various browsers can be used, so you may want to carry this rule over to all browsers on your computer.
Toggle On YouTube’s Safety Mode
YouTube offers a similar Safety feature that can be toggled on and off by scrolling down to the bottom of your screen. This prevents certain videos from rearing their ugly heads in search results. The decision as to what’s appropriate and what isn’t is based on user flags, so while the videos aren’t necessarily removed from YouTube, they won’t appear in your kids’ searches for kittens and puppies.
Check Out Google’s Good To Know
Google also offers information about staying safe on the web via its Good To Know section. Read over it and be enlightened, for the web page offers great tips for browsing with kids.
Turn On Yahoo’s SafeSearch
Yahoo – while not upfront – actually has a SafeSearch mode as well. However, you must be signed in for it to work. No big deal, but again, you may need to incorporate the logged-in only rule that I mentioned earlier. While totalitarian in principle, these are your kids – your one chance in life to actually act like a dictator with no consequences. (Save for when they go crazy and lock you in the cellar when they turn 35. Love you, Mom.)
Yahoo users just need to go to their Search Preferences. After selecting it, you can view these options:
- Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results – SafeSearch On
- Filter out adult video and image search results only – SafeSearch On
- Do not filter results (results may include adult content) – SafeSearch Off
Check Out Yahoo Safely
Yahoo’s SafeSearch also allows a lock feature, so it can actually be pretty easy to keep your kids off the nasty stuff that the web has to offer. There is also a safety tips page entitled Yahoo Safely, and it should offer you even more information on kid-friendly web browsing. Check it out!
Adjust Bing’s Search Settings
For those poor souls who use Bing, there is a way to keep your kids out of bad things on the web (like Bing, for instance). Just go to Bing Preferences, and you can set your search settings to Off, Strict, or Moderate. From what I can tell, you can also keep things locked by logging into your account.
Help Out Microsoft
Microsoft recognizes that it can’t catch everything, so it actually provides a page where you can tell them how Bing didn’t block things that it should have. That’s pretty cool.
Read Over Microsoft’s Safety And Security Center
Like the other services, Bing also offers its Safety and Security Center – a place where you and your family can come up with ways to safely browse. Take a look at it, and you should own the web as far as safety goes.
Let’s face it. Kids are always going to find a way to get into stuff. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t protect them in some ways. You can find innovative ways to teach your kids about cybersafety. For the immediate moment, these sites all provide some rather efficient ways at keeping the web safe, and I encourage all of you parents (and older siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc.) to try ’em out.
What other ways have you set up kid-friendly search? Have these ways worked for you?