Over the past year, the world is moving towards virtual workspace. Even for the kids, the internet has become the new educational and play hub. As a result, parents, educators, policymakers and privacy experts have expressed concern about creating a safe browsing space for adolescents. Google gave a thought to it and has brought a list of new features and tools to create a safer space for kids and teens on the internet.
Google is making changes in the ways that minors experience over the internet, including ads, content & more.
Google is starting with a safeguard against age-sensitive ad categories to prevent views from teens. In this process, sensitive ads will be blocked based on the age, gender and interests of people under 18. The company will initiate rolling out these changes over the coming months with the goal to ensure they are delivering age-appropriate experiences for ads.
Giving Minors Control over their Digital Footprint
There’s a removal option for folks using Google Search, but when it comes to children, there’s no way to control their images on the internet, and thus they are exposed to risk.
The tech giant is planning to introduce a new policy that would let anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google image results. Though taking it down from the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) will not remove it from the web but will reduce the exposure.
Improving the Web Experience for Kids & Teens
YouTube Upload Settings
To prevent kids and teens from falling for luring ads, upload setting on YouTube will default to the most private option. Google will also be providing additional defences and education about commercial content.
Considering this change, YouTube will start removing exaggerated commercial content from YouTube Kids, especially those that encourage kids to spend money. YouTube illustrates this with content that focuses on product packaging.
YouTube is also updating the disclosures that appear on supervised accounts and “made for kids” content to be very clear when a video contains paid promotions.
Besides the above changes, YouTube is also taking a break from bedtime reminders and autoplay for users under 18. There would be an autoplay option, added to YouTube Kids. However, it will be turned off by default to give parents the ability to decide what is right for their children.
Location History Updates
At present, for children with supervised account location history is off by default with no option to turn it on. This provision will soon be extended globally to all users under the age of 18, which means location history will remain off for all adolescents.
Google Play Updates
Google has a new safety section in its launch bucket for application security services, which will allow parents to identify which apps follow the family policies. Apps will also have to disclose how they use the data they collect from users. This will make it easier for parents to decide if an app is right for their child before they download or use it.
Google Workspace for Education Changes
Since children, these days, use the internet for their schoolwork, safeguarding that experience has appeared as the main worry. Google has been working on ways to improve administrators’ ability to tailor experiences for their users, such as restricting student activity on YouTube and enabling Safe Search technology by default for all users.
Google offers settings that help prevent folks from seeing mature content that they haven’t even searched for. It has Safe Search that filters out explicit results when enabled and is already on by default for under 13 signed-in users, having their accounts managed by Family Link. Google is planning to extend this technology for users under 18 in the coming months.
Google Assistant Updates
Google is also planning to introduce new default protections to avoid mature content from appearing for a child.
There have been many incidents wherein kids or teens easily became soft targets, and parents suffered the consequences. With these changes in place, parents will breathe a sigh of relief.