Thursday, September 09, 2010
(Cross-posted to the Google Public Policy Blog)
Helping your children use the Internet safely is similar to teaching them to navigate the offline world. There are parts of the real world that you wouldn’t let your children explore unsupervised—and that goes for the online world as well. But while most of us remember being taught to cross the road and not talk to strangers, we probably weren’t taught how much personal information we should share online or how to handle cyberbullies.
Therefore, it’s no surprise when parents and teachers tell us they want to learn more about how to help their kids use the Internet safely and responsibly.
Today, we’re launching our new Family Safety Center; a one-stop shop about staying safe online. We’ve included advice from leading child safety organizations around the world, tips and ideas from parents here at Google, as well as information on how to use the safety tools and controls built into Google products.
For day-to-day practical tips we asked some of our parents at Google to share their own ideas. Tactics they use range from limiting screen time and preventing computers in kids’ bedrooms to ad hoc checks on their browser history and social networking profiles. Everyone has different ideas and there’s no right or wrong answer, but hopefully some of these will resonate and inspire you. See more videos and let us know your own thoughts on our YouTube channel.
To answer some of the toughest questions most important to parents, such as accessing inappropriate content and meeting strangers online, we went straight to the people that know best; the organizations that advocate and promote child safety and digital literacy. Organizations that we’ve partnered with around the world include the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuard Online initiative, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, U.K.’s ChildNet, and New Zealand’s NetSafe.
The new Safety Center also provides information on the safety tools built into Google products. SafeSearch and YouTube Safety Mode can help you control what content your children stumble across. Sharing controls in YouTube, Picasa, Blogger and others ensure your videos, photos and blogs are shared only with the right people. And in response to popular requests, we’ve added a section on managing geolocation features on mobiles.
With kids growing up in an age where digital know-how is essential, it’s increasingly important to ensure that they’re developing healthy, safe and responsible online habits. And we’re thinking every day about how we can help parents and teachers to do just that.