Helping kids be smart online

This week marks National Child Protection Week, which has been run annually for the last 20 years by NAPCAN. We thought it was a good time to remind people of the many tools available to keep young people and families safer when using the web. The Internet has brought us many opportunities, especially around education and entertainment, but with those opportunities comes the need for an ongoing conversation about how it is best used.

Earlier this year we launched the Google Safety Centre, and shared the following tips for helping kids navigate the web smartly and safely. For example:

1. SafeSearch in Google Search. If you want to hide explicit images, search results and videos, turn on SafeSearch, which keeps inappropriate results that you might not want popping up on the family computer out of your Google Search results.

2. YouTube SafetyMode. If you’d prefer not to see mature or age-restricted content on YouTube, scroll down to the bottom of any YouTube page and click on the button that says “Safety”. You can also log in with a YouTube account and lock SafetyMode as your default setting on each one of your computer browsers.

3. Manage apps available to your family. You can decide which Google Play apps are appropriate for your family by looking at the ratings: everyone, low maturity, medium maturity or high maturity. You can control the types of apps that can be downloaded to your device. In the Play Store settings, select “User Controls”, then tap on “Content filtering”.

Google also supports a number of local nonprofits and partners who invest heavily in helping to create a safer environment for our kids online.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the Carly Ryan Foundation provide schools across Australia with the necessary material and frameworks to prevent cyberbullying and help them to be esmart. 

The Inspire foundation has created, an Internet platform for kids to turn to with difficult questions. Immediate and personal help can be obtained from two direct helplines, Kids Helpline and Childwise’ Starting point.

We also fund research conducted by the Young and Well cooperative research center which explores the role of technology in young people’s lives.

Finally, this Friday is Bravehearts White Balloon Day which is about raising awareness and funds for Australian children affected by sexual assault. Share #whiteballoonday and let us know #whoRUprotecing on social media to support the cause.

We would like to thank our great partners for their determined efforts to keep our kids safe. Let’s all play our part during National Child Protection Week.

Posted by Ishtar Vij, Head of Public Policy, Google Australia