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Tips for Parents on Safer Searching on the Internet

Do you worry about your child’s online safety? Are you concerned about them coming across the wrong type of content on the Internet? In this article Webwise has Tips for Parents on Safer Searching on the Internet.

Research indicates that children are most likely to come across sexually explicit content on the internet by accident. Sometimes this will happen by clicking on links returned by search engines.

Google, Bing and most other search engines have safety modes that can be used to filter content is not suitable for children from appearing in search returns. To enable this function you need to configure your search engine preferences.

On Google:

  1. To configure your search engine preferences click the “Search settings” on the top-right-hand corner of the Google Search engine.
  2. Then you can select the Use strict filtering radio button from the SafeSearch filtering options.
  3. If you have a Google account (or Gmail) you can click on the Lock SafeSearch link to prevent others from disabling this setting on this computer.
  4. You will then be asked to login into your account.
  5. When you log in you click the Lock SafeSearch button. This ensures that search returns are filtered from this browser (you will need to repeat this process for all installed browsers).
  6. Check this by searching for a term that you would expect to return adult content. You will see that coloured balls are displayed beside the search field; this indicates that SafeSearch is in use.

On Bing:

  1. To configure your search engine preferences click the “Preferences” on the top-right-hand corner of the Bing Search engine.
  2. Then you can select the Strict Filter out adult text, images, and videos from your search results. radio button from the SafeSearch filtering options.
  3. You can click on the Save to enforce the change.

It isn’t possible to lock in this feature on Bing. The next person that uses the search engine can easily switch it off.

However, filtering options are not 100% reliable. They tends to work better for sexual content than violent content.

RelatedFor younger kids, consider a child-safe browser. KidZui is free to download, and ensures your child can explore an age-appropriate, safer internet.

About Webwise

Webwise is an Internet safety awareness initiative of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) comprising a range of information, advice, and tools for teachers, parents and students.

Its Mission is to promote safer use of the Internet and mobile phones by school children in Ireland, their parents & teachers and to transform actual dangers into risks that they can master as autonomous, responsible users. Visit their facebook page for more information and regular updates.

Related : Further useful ideas at 10 Tips for being a Webwise Parent and our E-Safety Page. Also Child Safety – Tips for Parents on Internet Safety

How do you monitor your child’s Internet use?  What tips do you have for other parents? Please let us know in the comments below.

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