Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
According to almost every study you find, early exposure to online pornography is common. According to Barna, in their 2016 report The Porn Phenomenon, 1 in 3 young people come across porn weekly or more often, even when they’re not looking for it.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Search engines like Google are designed to show us the best information as quickly as possible. But, Google’s definition of “best” isn’t always what’s best for young people.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to learn a few ways to filter explicit content through Google’s search engine.
To enable Google SafeSearch on laptop and desktop computers:
- You need a Google username and password. If you have a Gmail account, it’s the same login. If not, you can easily create a Gmail account at google.com.
- Open your internet browser and type google.com/preferences into the bar at the top. This will take you to the Google Search Settings page. (Note: if you are not using the Google Chrome browser and Google is not currently set to your default search engine, a little pop up box will appear in the upper right-hand corner of your screen prompting you to switch Google to your default search engine. Follow those directions if you plan to get the most out of this fix, since it only works with search results from Google.)
- Once you are at the Search Settings page, check the box beside “Turn on Safe Search,” under the heading “Safe Search Filters.”
- Then hit the blue text reading, “Lock Safe Search,” and use your Gmail username and password to ensure nobody else can deactivate the safe search feature.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the blue “Save” button.
- Repeat this process on all of the browsers on your laptop or desktop computer.
To enable Google SafeSearch on your smartphones and tablets:
If your home uses Apple iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone), you can enable safe search in the Google App:
- Click your profile picture in the upper left corner. If you’re not signed in or using the Google app without an account, you’ll see a gear icon instead of a picture.
- Scroll down and select “Search Settings.”
- Select “Filter Explicit Results” and hit “Save.”
Note: The difficulty with this is that anyone can de-select the “Filter Explicit Results.” Also, the Google search app allows for “incognito browsing,” which does not capture any search history. The Google search app is not an appropriate place to show a newer internet user how to use technology responsibly.
The very best way to control Google on an iOS device is to not allow children to use the Google app and to turn off the iTunes App Store in the Restrictions. Then, you can force all internet browsing through a monitored and filtered browser, like Covenant Eyes.
If your home uses an Android smartphone or tablet:
- Covenant Eyes now automatically turns on Safe Search for you on your Android devices once you complete the installation. Covenant Eyes runs in the background to monitor the top-level web domains accessed by any app on the phone or tablet, including Google. Any inappropriate domains are listed on the Covenant Eyes Accountability Report.
- Covenant Eyes also has a very handy “App Lock” feature that allows parents to turn off the Google Play Store, which is highly recommended.
- Learn more about Covenant Eyes and its Android App Lock feature at www.covenanteyes.com.