Find age-appropriate content
We all know that the web is vast, which means that some content is fine for families and some is better for adults only. Tools like SafeSearch and YouTube Safety Mode can proactively filter out mature content, while our reporting tools allow you to flag offensive material for removal.
Google has strict policies and community guidelines that explain how our services can be used. If you spot content or behaviour on Google services like YouTube, Blogger, Google+ or Google Play that violates our guidelines, our tools make it easy to flag it for review.
For example, developers with apps on Google Play have to rate them according to the Google Play apps rating system. If an app has been mis-rated or has inappropriate content, you can flag the app for review – we’ll take a look and may remove it if the app violates our policies.
On YouTube, our policy specialists review flagged videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a video violates our community guidelines, it gets removed from the site. If it’s simply not appropriate for everyone, the video may be age-restricted, so younger users aren't able to view it. And when a YouTube partner uploads a video to our Shows or Movies sections, they’re required to rate any mature content.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at some of our other safety features in the sidebar and learn more about what you can do to keep your family’s online explorations safe and fun for all ages.
Advice from our partners
Surfing the World Wide Web can be fun and educational, but sometimes children can be exposed to sexually explicit and violent material, especially on social networks and websites featuring user-generated content. Sometimes this exposure can influence the behaviour of young people and prompt them to try things that can harm them and others around them. Social networks play a big part in our day-to-day lives and it is important to have regular, open and honest discussions with your children about their experiences on the Internet and the things that they stumble across. Parents, speak to your kids about the potential dangers of the online space, and ask them to tell you if they ever feel unsafe, or if they ever they are exposed to content that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Some video-sharing websites, such as YouTube, have a feature for users to ‘flag’ content that users feel is inappropriate. YouTube moderators then analyse the video in question and take it down if it is inappropriate. On local social networking platforms such as MXit, users can alert the network to inappropriate content by typing a “.rat” command when they are in a chat room. This allows MXit’s moderators to see the last 30 strings of the conversation, and react appropriately. Alternatively, users can visit MXit’s Tradepost and find a counsellor under MXit Reach > Ask Doc. If a user prefers offline counselling, it is advised to talk to an adult that they trust or else chat to a counsellor at Childline on the Toll Free telephone line (08000 55555).
Here are some useful tips for parents who want to protect their children from being exposed to inappropriate content on social networks:
- If your child is a regular user of a social network, it is advised that you also sign up to that network and add your child as a follower, contact or friend. This will allow you to monitor how much time they spend on the platform.
- Always spend some time exploring and navigating your way through the particular network that your child uses, in order to understand the interactions your child could be engaged in.
- Check your child’s contacts, friends, or followers regularly and if you see the profile of someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, discuss it openly with your child.
- Be frank and open: have regular, open and honest discussions with your child about the potential dangers that lurk in such environments, and ask them to tell you if ever they feel unsafe, or if ever they receive pictures that make them feel uncomfortable.
- If you notice that your child’s use of a particular social networking platform suddenly drops, check to see if they have a secret phone or profile (it could simply mean that they are out of airtime, but check nevertheless).
- Blocking/restricting your child’s access to social networks and the Internet are not advised, as this could mean they will gain access away from parental supervision and guidance, thus exposing them to further harm.
For more information, visit the Film and Publications Board (fpb) website at www.fpb.gov.za or call 0800 148 148 (Toll Free).
Discover Google safety features designed to help control what your family sees online.
Report inappropriate SafeSearch results
If you come across a result on SafeSearch that leads to mature content, please report it to us – we’re always working to improve our content filters, and this kind of feedback helps us make SafeSearch safer for everyone.
Flag questionable content
Our policy specialists work around the clock to help keep you and your family safe on YouTube. If you see content or behaviour that you think violates the YouTube Community Guidelines, you can flag it for review. If a video violates our guidelines, it gets removed from the site. If it doesn’t violate the Guidelines but might not be appropriate for everyone, the video may be age-restricted, so younger users aren’t able to view it.
Report offensive content
If someone makes an inappropriate comment or post on Google+, you can report it – even from a mobile device. Google+ has clear Content Policies that explain what is and isn't appropriate to do on the site, so if you see content or behaviour that violates our policy, you can flag it for review. We review flagged content around the clock, and we may remove content and limit or shut down the accounts of users who violate our policies.
Keep Hangouts safe for everyone
We want Hangouts to be fun for everyone. If you see content or behaviour that violates the Google+ Content and Conduct Policy, you can flag it for review. These policies play an important part in keeping Google+ a safe and positive place, so we may remove content and limit or shut down the accounts of users who violate our policies. You can also block a Hangout user if you no longer want to see or hear them.
Help keep the blogosphere safe for all
There are clear guidelines about what kinds of content can be posted on Blogger. If you see content that violates the Blogger Content Policy, you can flag it for review. Anything that violates our policies will be removed, and we'll place a warning page in front of content that doesn't violate our policies but might not be appropriate for all audiences.
Use Parental controls to filter apps by content rating
You can use Parental controls to restrict the content that can be downloaded or purchased on Google Play. This helps you find appropriate content for you and your family.
Set a filter to keep inappropriate content out
If you’d prefer not to see mature or age-restricted content as you browse YouTube, scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and enable Safety Mode. Safety Mode helps filter out potentially objectionable content from search, related videos, playlists, shows and films.
Set it and forget it. Keep Safety Mode locked
If you want to keep Safety Mode on permanently, you can lock it. Then every time you access YouTube from that browser, you'll automatically be signed in to Safety Mode.
Get family-friendly results from Search
By enabling SafeSearch, you can filter out most of the mature content that you or your family may prefer to avoid. If an inappropriate result does sneak through, you can report it to Google. We're always working to improve our content filters, and this kind of feedback can help us make SafeSearch better for everyone.
Prevent accidental or unwanted purchases
You can help prevent accidental purchases made on Google Play by requiring certain information to be entered to make a purchase, like a password.