Make smart connections

Teach your family not to arrange in-person meetings with people that they “meet” online, and not to share personal information with online strangers. Google’s tools make it easy for you and your family to interact online with the people that you know and avoid the ones you don’t. When your teens start using online communication tools like Hangouts, Google+ and Blogger, the first step is always to have a conversation about making smart choices and being a good digital citizen.

Advice from our partners

MXit Childline South Africa

Ever worried about some of the people your child calls ‘friends’ online? Sometimes children think it is great to have lots of friends on social networks and often accept ‘friend’ requests online without giving it too much thought. You need to ask your child – do you really know this person, and are they who they say they are? Just as you would not let your child stay over at a friend’s house without knowing the family, so the same rules should apply to online friendships. Growing up, our parents used to tell us every day to never talk to strangers. In the same way, we need to tell our children (every day if we need to) that they should never engage with people that they don’t know, and in particular, they should not be engaged in private online or offline chats with a strangers.

A number of local online social networks have a number of safety settings to help keep your children safe:

  • The only way that a person can chat or engage with another on most networks is if the user approves him or her as a friend / contact / follower.
  • Most chatrooms have a function to block a person if a user does not want to interact with them. In MXit, parents can block the chatroom feature altogether (See Mxit > Info > Chat Zone Block).
  • Most social networks have a minimum age of 13 years for users to register. This is to protect vulnerable users who may not be emotionally mature enough to engage with these sorts of platforms.
  • In compliance with South Africa’s Child Protection Act, MXit does not allow adults to engage with children or teenagers. All chatrooms are split into the age groups 13 to 17, 18+ and adult, to ensure that the interaction in the chatrooms is age appropriate. Most private chatrooms are password-protected, which means access is by invitation only.
  • Most chatrooms are moderated around the clock – with extensive moderator presence available in all Teen Zones in MXit for example.

Children: remember, don’t ever share your personal details or agree to meet with people in the real world. Sometimes it seems like you know someone you met online after chatting to them a few times, but they are still strangers.

Safety tools

Discover Google safety tools designed to help your family monitor their online reputation.

YouTube

Manage YouTube Comments

If someone is making comments that you don't like on your videos or Channel, you can block them on YouTube. This means that they won't be able to comment on your things or send you private messages.

Learn More

To block someone on YouTube, visit their Channel page, which should have a URL similar to www.youtube.com/user/NAME.

On their “About” tab, click the flag icon.

Lastly, click block user.

YouTube

Share videos with just the right audience

Whether you want to keep a video private, share it with a few friends or release it to the world, there’s a privacy setting for you. On YouTube, videos are set to “Public” by default, but you can easily change the settings in “Privacy Settings” while you’re uploading the video. If you change your mind later, you can change the privacy of an already uploaded video.

Learn More

To change Privacy Settings, visit your Video Manager.

Find the video that you’d like to change, then click the Edit button.

Go to the “Privacy Settings” drop-down menu.

Pick Public to share with everyone, Unlisted to share with users who have a link to the video or Private to share with specific users.

Click Save changes.

Google+

Stop unwanted comments or tags

If you’d rather not see someone’s posts on Google+, you can block them by going to their profile and selecting Report/block [person’s name]. You can also mute specific posts to no longer see them in your stream.

Learn More

To block someone on desktop, go to their profile.

On the side of the profile click Report/block [person’s name].

Confirm that you want to block that person.

Google+

Choose whose updates that you see in your stream

What if someone adds you to their circles, but you're not interested in interacting with them? If you don’t want to block them, you can mute them instead. If you mute a user, you will no longer receive notifications from them or their page.

Learn More

Open Google+.

Go to someone’s profile/page.

Click the arrow below their profile photo and info.

Select “Mute [person/page]”.

YouTube

Control the chatter about your videos

It’s easy to moderate the comments on your YouTube channel. You can choose to delete comments or to hold comments from certain people or with certain keywords from being published before you review them.

Learn More

To moderate comments, click the arrow at the upper right-hand side of a comment to see your options.

Click Remove to take down the comment from YouTube.

Or, click Ban from channel to block the user from posting comments on videos and your channel.

In Comment Settings, you can require approval for all new comments before they’re posted or you can disable comments.

Comment Settings allows you to set filters for who can comment on your channel. You can also block comments with certain words.

See more safety tools