Trinity Mount Ministries

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Google Rolls Out New Features To Improve Child Safety Online


To give kids and teens a safer experience online, Google has announced a host of changes in its policies and product to limit their exposure to explicit content, including blocking advertising targeted at the under-18 age group.

In the “coming weeks and months”, the technology giant will roll out a new policy that will enable anyone under 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results. “Of course, removing an image from Search doesn’t remove it from the web, but we believe this change will help give young people more control of their images online,” the company said in a blog.

It would expand safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens, and block ad targeting based on the age, gender or interests of people under 18. “We’ll start rolling out these updates across our products globally over the coming months. Our goal is to ensure we’re providing additional protections and delivering age-appropriate experiences for ads on Google,” it stated.

The company would also roll out changes for YouTube, Search, Google Assistant, location history and Play Store. “Some of our most popular products help kids and teens explore their interests, learn more about the world, and connect with friends. We’re committed to constantly making these experiences safer for them. That’s why in the coming weeks and months we're going to make a number of changes to Google Accounts for people under 18,” it said.


For YouTube, it would change the default upload setting to private for users in the age group of 13-17, and would more prominently surface digital well-being features and provide safeguards and education about commercial content. Likewise, in Search, ‘SafeSearch’ -- which helps filter out explicit results when enabled, would be turned on by default for signed-in users under 18.

SafeSearch is currently on by default for all signed-in users under 13 who have accounts managed by Family Link.

The company said it was working on ways to prevent mature content from surfacing during a child’s experience with Google Assistant on shared devices, and in the coming months would introduce new default protections.

Additionally, location history, which was a Google account setting, would be turned off by default for users under the age of 18 globally without the option to turn it on.

Currently, this feature is active for children with supervised accounts.

“...we’re launching a new safety section that will let parents know which apps follow our Families policies. Apps will be required to disclose how they use the data they collect in greater detail, making it easier for parents to decide if the app is right for their child before they download it,” it noted.

The company pointed out that data played an important role in making its products functional and helpful, and it was developing engaging, easy-to-understand materials for young people and their parents to help them better understand the company’s data practices. These resources would begin to roll out globally in the coming months.

“...Having an accurate age for a user can be an important element in providing experiences tailored to their needs. Yet, knowing the accurate age of our users across multiple products and surfaces, while at the same time respecting their privacy and ensuring that our services remain accessible, is a complex challenge. It will require input from regulators, lawmakers, industry bodies, technology providers, and others to address it – and to ensure that we all build a safer 

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