We do all we can to protect our children from dangerous content on the internet and from cyberbullying. As worried parents, it is only natural to be paranoid about the online safety of our children, considering how the internet has become a scary place -- full of explicit content, not appropriate for minors.
So we download parental control apps, block certain inappropriate websites, password protect our email accounts, regulate social media on our teen’s mobile phone and much more. But, what if your child comes across sexually-explicit or violent content accidentally while browsing directly on the search engine? Don’t cry help. All search engines such as Google and Firefox have inbuilt features that can be modified so that your pre-teen or teenager does not have access to such content.
Here is how you can do it --
On Mozilla Firefox
If your operating system already has parental controls on, then Mozilla Firefox will latch on to this and the search engine will be set on Prefer:Safe mode. Just click on the three bars on the right-hand side of the page and a drop-down menu will appear. Select 'Options' and go to the privacy and security settings. You will see that the safety feature is on and it automatically filters out unwanted content. Your child will be able to browse freely without disturbing pop-ups or inappropriate videos distracting him. Remember to lock your parental control settings on the operating system with a password, because teens these days can easily change the settings as and when they want if they are curious to browse inappropriate content.
Alternatively, you could also select Google in the search option. Then, you can go to Google settings and put the safe search option on. There are also a few add-ons you can use in Firefox, one of them being Block Site. Set up this add-on by spelling out certain websites that you do not want your child to see.
On Google Chrome
As in Firefox, the Google SafeSearch facility can be set up in Chrome too, but make sure that Google is set as your default browser. Then go to Google settings and click on privacy setting. Here click on the SafeSearch filter. There is also an option to lock SafeSearch. If you have linked your Android phone to your laptop and any other device which has Google as the search engine, then the filters will get applied for all the devices. However, you may have to add a few applications to actually block improper content totally from your devices. That is because Google Chrome safety features are not able to filter out all adult websites. Also, if you are using Netflix or social networking sites on the computer, make your password protect them and disable the Google feature to save passwords.
Another way of blocking inappropriate content in Chrome is to go to the ‘Content settings’ and look for options for disabling certain plugins. This way the websites that you do not want your child to see, will not come up in the search.
On Internet Explorer
Microsoft has built in a number of features in Internet Explorer that help parents to control the content that their children can browse. Once you log in to the search engine, go to the Internet options section and activate Content Advisor. Once you do this, there are a number of blocking options that you can select and block particular sites having explicit content.
You can also add the ‘Parental Control’ toolbar to the Explorer browser, which will help you in controlling the content by blocking specified adult websites.
If you still not sure about the protection that these features may give, here are some of the kid-friendly browsers your child can use:
- Ask Kids
- Peanut Butter PC
- Yahoo Kids