Google launches crackdown, will blur explicit images from search results
In a bid to make the internet a safer place for children, Google has rolled out the expanded SafeSearch globally. Here’s what we know about it.
In the digital age, all the information in the world is just a click or a tap away. While this has bridged gaps and minimized the information divide, it now also poses serious questions about online safety and its impact on children. In an attempt to tackle this issue, Google on Safer Internet Day in February rolled out new online safety tools that could potentially help make the internet a safer place to explore, especially for children. Among these tools, expanded SafeSearch was one of the standout features aimed at ensuring online safety.
Now, Google has rolled out the expanded SafeSearch for everyone. Here's what we know about it.
What is SafeSearch?
According to Google, SafeSearch is an online privacy tool that acts as a filter and shields users from potentially explicit, inappropriate or offensive content on Google Search and Images. This tool is automatically enabled for users under the age of 18 to ensure their online safety while browsing the vast web. It only works on searches carried out through Google Search, and not on other search engines.
Despite these measures, Google reported that about 61 percent of children this year come across inappropriate content online at least once, up from 54 percent last year.
Google's expanded SafeSearch
Google has now further strengthened SafeSearch with additional functionalities to protect children online. With the new expanded SafeSearch setting, it will automatically blur out explicit imagery such as graphic, violent or adult content. It is expected to act as a shield for those users whose SafeSearch filtering isn't turned on. The expanded SafeSearch setting will blur out the inappropriate content by default when it appears in Search results.
Guardians or school network administrators can lock this setting so that children won't be able to disable it.
In a blog post, Norman Ng, Regional Operations Lead of Trust & Safety Global Engagements at Google Asia-Pacific said, “Embracing technology with guardrails for safe, reliable content and also empowering kids to make informed decisions are essential in today's digital parenting. Together, we can help our children stay safe and thrive in the online world.”
Alongside expanded SafeSearch, parents can also utilize the Family Link to activate age-appropriate content restrictions on Google Play and Search.