Google, this week disclosed multiple safety measures for children between the age bracket of 13 to 17 years including privacy settings for YouTube, SafeSearch options, and changes to advertisements, to make all of its applications safer for kids.
It is a known fact now that people and especially children throughout the globe are now getting dependent on the internet, given the global pandemic which took place last year. Due to this, the growing internet usage of children has heightened concerns about online child exploitations.
The newest update focuses on making YouTube videos private by default, created by children. Not just that, Google now allows minors or their parents to ask for the removal of their images from Google image results, along with an option to turn on SafeSearch by default. All of this is done to protect the children of our society and to give their parents or guardians more control over what they see online.
However, majorly the updates are focused on YouTube and YouTube Kids! The key change made is directed towards young creators in between the age group of 13 to 17 years by making the default setting for uploading videos to the most private, allowing only a group of selected users to view that content unless of course it is changed to ‘public’ by the creator themselves, giving them a choice to make in regards to choosing their audiences on an international platform.
Google is also looking forward to expanding their digital well-being tools for YouTube by making a few tweaks here and there including turning on bedtime and break reminders on their app as a default setting for kids while also turning off auto-play.
Furthermore, Google is finally removing content that can be seen as overly commercial on YouTube Kids, encouraging children to spend more money online.
In addition to this, the search engine company has promised to give teenagers more control over their digital footprint on Google Search, helping teens control their image online. Also, Google will now be turning on SafeSearch for all minors by default.
However, in other Google apps, the location history of users below the age of 18 will be turned off without them being able to turn it back on for safety reasons as per updated company policies. Along with this, on the advertising front, Google will be blocking ads based on gender, age, or perhaps interests of people below 18 years of age.
Engadget reports, Google emphasized wanting to work with parents, kids, teens, industry leaders, government, experts in the field of child safety, privacy, and education to design a more efficient and safer product for minors.
In conclusion, seeing Google’s initiative towards child safety, I feel that it will to some extent prevent young users from viewing harmful content while also blocking exploitative ads. However, it is only natural for it to take some time to shake out any bugs and getting everything in line.